Prepare to binge and stream straight into 2020, thanks to Barack Obama’s annual “faves” list
ICYMI, former president Barack Obama is what you might call an arbiter of taste — as in, the man has it in spades. Each year, our former POTUS reveals his “best of” for the past 12 months: books, movies, TV shows, and music. And each year, he impresses with eclectic curations that undoubtedly lead to an uptick in binge-watching, streaming, and bulk book-buying.
This year proved no different, and since Obama is effectively a celebrity in his own right, it’s little wonder that other stars couldn’t help gushing over making the lists. The most recent came on Monday when Obama tweeted out his top music picks from 2019. “If you’re looking for something to keep you company on a long drive or help you turn up a workout, I hope there’s a track or two in here that does the trick,” he wrote.
As for the list, it spans a wide scope ranging from hip-hop to country and everything in between. Some tracks were pretty much givens, like Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” and Lizzo’s “Juice.” Lizzo herself seemed surprised by the honor, tweeting in response to Obama’s list, “I love you so much Mr. Obama.. thanks for assisting me with my morning cry.”
Lizzo wasn’t the only artist who expressed gratitude for making the cut. Amanda Shires, a member of The Highwomen (Obama cited their song “Redesigning Women”) tweeted, “Thanks @BarackObama for including us @TheHighwomen! Also, love that @DaBabyDaBaby.”
“Making President @BarackObama’s Favorite Music of 2019 list has me feeling like,” 80-year-old “Change” singer Mavis Staples wrote, alluding to a photo of her hugging the former president.
As has become his tradition, Obama created a best-of 2019 Spotify playlist featuring some of the tracks he included in his favorite music tweet. So, think “Toast” by Koffee, “Go” by The Black Keys, “Mood 4 Eva” by Beyoncé, “Iron Man” by Rema, and more.
Considering some of Obama’s past picks are still in heavy rotation around here — “Moving to Brussels,” thank you very much — we’re inclined to listen ASAP. But we’ll clearly have to come up with some sort of time-efficient agenda, because there are also Obama’s other favorite entertainment picks of 2019 to consider.
Obama kicked things off on Dec. 28 with the books he couldn’t put down this year. That list encompassed 19 fictional and non-fictional titles, such as the New Orleans-based memoir The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom and Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy.
Also included in the list of his favorite books? A bonus roundup of 19 other tomes he recommended throughout 2019.
Obama continued unveiling his favorites on Dec. 29, giving us all the inside look we really want: what TV shows and movies he obsessed over this year. That list focused mainly on movies, although Obama did include three shows: Unbelievable, Watchmen, and Fleabag. (If you watched the latter, his including it should make you LOL due to a, ahem, certain scene.) The film’s official account had a very appropriate reply to the happy news.
Several buzzed-about movies made the list, including Booksmart, Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Little Women, and Marriage Story. Olivia Wilde, who directed Booksmart, was practically rendered speechless by the inclusion. “OH MY GOD,” she tweeted.
The account for Little Women was similarly thrilled.
So, the bad news is we have to wait an entire year before Obama releases another installment of his favorites. But the good news is he gave us enough to read, watch, and stream to keep us busy until then. And who knows? Maybe he’ll drop a few more new additions as 2020 unfolds.
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