Former President Barack Obama took to Facebook on Dec. 31 to announce his favorite songs of 2017. The list of 21 songs ranges from hip-hop to country, Latin to soul, and is weaved with hits from Harry Styles and a posthumous track from the iconic Sharon Jones.
“During my presidency, I started a tradition of sharing my reading lists and playlists,” the 44th President of the United States wrote in a post. “It was a nice way to reflect on the works that resonated with me and lift up authors and artists from around the world. With some extra time on my hands this year to catch up, I wanted to share the books and music that I enjoyed most. From songs that got me moving to stories that inspired me, here’s my 2017 list — I hope you enjoy it and have a happy and healthy New Year.”
Obama’s best tracks of 2017 include a diverse range of artists and carries a familiar tone from his campaigns and presidency — hope.
Songs include fellow Chicago resident Chance The Rapper’s “First World Problems” which calls for people to do better in the coming years and to not forget about our struggling Americans like those affected by the lead-poisoned water in Flint, Michigan.
Andra Day sings of soldiering on and fighting for one another in her song “Rise Up” and Chris Stapleton croons over how the love in his life has made him truly rich in “Millionaire.”
In “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile encourages young boys and girls to be who they are because in the end the joke will be on the bullies who tried to put them down.
Other songs included “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar, “The System Only Dreams in Darkness” by The National, “Chanel” by Frank Ocean, “Mi Gente” by J Balvin and Willy William, and “Family Feud” by Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé.
Obama also gave honorable mention to the unreleased new version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” The Springsteen on Broadway version of the American classic has updated lyrics that are said to be more somber and reflective of the current state of the country. The slow-downed blues version has only been heard by those lucky enough to see Springsteen on Broadway live and the former president who had one of the first copies of the soon-to-be-released track personally delivered to him. The full list of tracks can be found below.
In addition to music, Obama shared the top 11 books he read in 2017. The books featured politically relevant titles such as Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story which chronicles the devastation of the closing of an automobile plant in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s home town and Mohsin Hamid’s No Exit that depicts a fictional world where refugees are able to flee from countries ravaged by war through magical portals. For a lighter read, Obama also mentioned Coach Wooden and Me by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Barack Obama’s Favorite Songs of 2017:
Mi Gente by J Balvin & Willy William
Havana by Camila Cabello (feat. Young Thug)
Blessed by Daniel Caesar
The Joke by Brandi Carlile
First World Problems by Chance The Rapper (feat. Daniel Caesar)
Rise Up by Andra Day
Wild Thoughts by DJ Khaled (feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller)
Family Feud by Jay-Z (feat. Beyoncé)
Humble by Kendrick Lamar
La Dame et Ses Valises by Les Amazones d’Afrique (feat. Nneka)
Unforgettable by French Montana (feat. Swae Lee)
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness by The National
Chanel by Frank Ocean
Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man
Butterfly Effect by Travis Scott
Matter of Time by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Little Bit by Mavis Staples
Millionaire by Chris Stapleton
Sign of the Times by Harry Styles
Broken Clocks by SZA
Ordinary Love (Extraordinary Mix) by U2
*Bonus: Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen (not out yet, but the blues version in his Broadway show is the best!)