St. Vincent’s DeJamz: Music of the election

(Graphic by Max Kleiner / The DePaulia)
(Graphic by Max Kleiner / The DePaulia)

After the long awaited debate last week, and another between the vice president candidates this week, this election cycle has taken full force of the television, social media and radio news.  With every fundraiser and every rally in cities across the United States, the presidential candidates on both sides have riled up crowds of hundreds to stand behind their vision of the future.  Whether what follows be an inspirational speech or not, when the candidate walks on stage for the first time at a rally, the crowds have to be excited. Cheering and screaming, one of the many ways candidates can get crowds going is with music, be it with the artist present or not.

So let’s take a look back at some of the many songs used by candidates throughout this election season.

1. Rachel Platten — “Fight Song”

Probably the most used song by a candidate this year, Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” was used heavily throughout Hillary Clinton’s campaign, primarily in big moments such as when she accepted her Democratic nomination in Philadelphia back in July.  Many took to social media and criticized the candidate for using the song too frequently throughout the Democratic National Convention, with it playing in the background frequently or even when actress Elizabeth Banks showed the crowd a video of celebrities doing an acapella version of it.  Overused or not, the Clinton anthem has played a pivotal role in the way she uses music in her campaign.

2. Bruce Springsteen — “Born in the U.S.A.””

Deviating a little right from the Clinton camp, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has found no trouble energizing his crowds at his rallies. But even with the riled up crowd, Trump has been a frequent user of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” throughout his presidential campaign, usually playing after his big speech.  Previously adopted by Reagan’s campaign in 1984, Trump has claimed it for this year. While it’s been used to emphasize the crowd’s national pride, the song itself is a picture of the dark times of Vietnam and the veterans who returned home to a different America.

3. Vampire Weekend — “This Land is Your Land’”

Easily the Sanders campaign’s anthem, “This Land is Your Land” was featured in campaign commercials and played live throughout the primary election season.  While played by various artists, the most memorable moment of the primary rallies was when Vampire Weekend played the song live to the Sanders campaign, and Bernie himself swayed along on stage.  Other songs of revolution were played as well throughout his campaign, even earning him his own Spotify playlist for fans and voters to be inspired by.

4. Will.I.Am— “Yes We Can”

Turning the clock back eight years, nothing was more ‘hip’ for a presidential candidate to do than play Will.I.Am’s sampled song of Barack Obama at the 2008 DNC.  The video featured celebrities from Common to Scarlett Johansson, each giving using the video to endorse him.