Unlike in previous campaign seasons, the fervor of the music community has been clear and unconflicted in 2008 — and that fervor has been attached to a single funny name: Obama. If you remember the 2004 election, the pro-Kerry campaign eventually drew a luminescent orchestra of supporters — Michael Stipe, Conor Oberst and even Bruce Springsteen, an artist who had long maintained a policy of political neutrality, even if it was obvious which side of the fence his personal politics fell.
Problem was, these musicians weren't so much pro-Kerry as they were anti-Bush, and it made their efforts on Kerry's behalf ring a bit false. At the end of the day, those efforts didn't work — perhaps a subtle indictment of how false passion is often not worth the trouble it takes to rouse it.
More funny still: Obama is a bigger pop star than all of them combined.
If you need proof, let me point you toward this long, thoughtful, well-analyzed Pitchfork news post, Conservative Critics Raise Stink Over Decemberists/Barack Obama Rally. The text is a rebuttal to conservative pundits who have been trying to rationalize the record-breaking crowd of 75,000 who showed up to an Obama campaign rally in Portland on May 18th. The pundits are claiming that the rock concert aspect of the rally somehow explains those huge numbers. (Obama's previous audience record was 35,000.) Nice try, but — as the Pitchfork story points out — The Decemberists probably haven't played for more than 5,000 or so people ever, outside of the occasional festival gig.
Point being: Maybe Obama should follow in the footsteps of Scarlett Johansson and release a pop CD? That could definitely solve some of the music industry's ailments — at least during week of release until everyone gave mp3 copies to their friends.
And no, by the headline to this post, I am not trying to make a politically inappropriate comment about the likelihood of Obama being our first African-American political candidate.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out a second video after the jump.
And if that wasn't hyper-referential enough for you, peep this: