exciting, modern, and a little vague


A couple years ago, GQ asked John Kerry if he preferred the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Kerry, never one to let an opportunity to appear human or interesting go unblown, refused to express a preference. “I can tell you the truth,” he said, “and the truth is I love both.” It took him a couple more months to lose the election. But right there, in that interview, he lost the rock-geek vote. Or at least, he ensured that if anybody who actually cared about music voted for him that November, they’d be doing so reluctantly. There’s no wrong answer to the Beatles-vs.-Stones question. And you’re certainly allowed to like both. But you can’t be agnostic. Kerry came off like he’d somehow failed to have a definitive emotional response to the two most important rock bands of his generation–or like he was afraid of articulating one during an election year, which is even worse.

In an interview to be published this Friday in Rolling Stone, Barack Obama doesn’t come right out and declare himself to be a Stones person. But when quizzed about the contents of his iPod by cub reporter Jann Wenner, he references the Stones twice, cites the awesomely apocalyptic “Gimme Shelter” specifically, and doesn’t give the Fab Four so much as a name-check. Also on the oPod: “[A] lot of Coltrane, a lot of Miles Davis, a lot of Charlie Parker”; “everything from Howlin’ Wolf to Yo-Yo Ma to Sheryl Crow to Jay-Z”; and music from Barack’s ’70s youth, including Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Elton John.

more from TNR here.