Why Taxi created an election day playlist

As a snooty music fan [ed note. very snooty], it pains me a little to admit that U.S. president Donald Trump, a man whose taste in so many things was notably absent even before he contracted COVID-19, has selected some good to great songs for his campaign rallies (No not you Nickelback. Sit down).

Oh sure, some of the songs might be a little <adopts haughty tone> pedestrian [ed note. he does this], but on balance they’re wholly respectable choices—particularly so for a man whose suits looks they were made by David Byrne’s tailor and whose idea of haute cuisine appears to range from “hamberders” to Taco Bell.

Now, you could say that songs like Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” and R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” are so on the nose as to seem like Trump is trolling his detractors, while other selections betray a fundamental understanding of their lyrical content. Trump is, for example, quite literally the “Fortunate Son” that CCR’s John Fogerty railed against in his anti-Vietnam War screed of the same name.

And when you’re reviled by a large portion of the population, it’s not surprising that artists are reluctant to have their work associated with you. That’s why so many musicians, from CCR to Adele and Elton John, to the estates of Prince and Tom Petty, have all requested that Trump stop using their music. For the most part, Trump has not backed down.

Music, though, has an unmatched ability to brighten our mood and even spur us to action, which is why Toronto agency Taxi created a Spotify playlist featuring all of the songs that artists have requested he stop playing as a way to remind people to get out and vote.

Titled “Grab him by the playlist,” a reference to Trump’s infamous remark about sexual predation, it includes songs and artists from across the musical spectrum—from Pharrell Williams (“Happy”) to Adele (“Rolling in the Deep”) to Prince (“Purple Rain”) and Tom Petty (“I Won’t Back Down”).

The 28-song playlist is two hours and 28 minutes long, which is the average length of time that people expect to wait in line to vote Tuesday. “Our aim was to find a fun and provocative way to get voters to the polls and offset some of the waiting fatigue of the long lines,” said Taxi’s co-chief creative officer, Alexis Bronstorph.

If the playlist can inspire just one person to vote, she adds, it will have been a success. There is considerable hand-wringing around the election outcome in the U.S., but for now at least, voting remains an inalienable right. I think a wise man wearing spandex and too much eye makeup said it best: “We’ve got the right to choose it, there ain’t no way we’ll lose it.” [Ed note. I had to Google it.]

Chris Powell