Obama's iPod Anthem

No need for mainstream rock. For this year's DNC, Solange's 'I Decided' is exactly what Obama needs.

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Ironically, there's a symmetry between "I Decided" and Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" ("…thinking about tomorrow...")—the Clintons' 1992 campaign anthem from a bygone moment in time that called on Americans to look back in order to look ahead. After the "W" era, looking back in order to look forward is a necessary strategy for young Americans. As Solange sings "They were too cool to run my race/You kept the pace with a smile on your face," she might as well be Stevie Nicks crooning, "All I want is to see you smile/If it takes just a little while." The subtext is evident: The younger generation is asserting itself, striving to honor the struggles of their parents and grandparents, but moving beyond their worldview.

As Obama steps out in Denver with his pitch-perfect trio of backup singers—Michelle, Malia and Sasha—he needs a sound that symbolizes his artful straddling between the "greatest generation" of African Americans and the maturing hip-hop generation. The Obama campaign hasn't called to ask what's playing on my iPod, but I've decided Solange will be playing in my head, regardless of what is playing for the crowd when Obama takes the stage.

David Swerdlick is a contributor to PopMatters and a former contributor to Creative Loafing. His writing has appeared in EbonyJet, AlterNet and The American Prospect.

David Swerdlick is an associate editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

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