January 31, 2023

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Barack Obama’s favorite 2022 songs include Bad Bunny, SZA, Jack Bryan

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Following his posts about what he took from the worlds of movies and books this year, former President Barack Obama followed up on Friday with a list of his 25 favorite songs of 2022, hitting some familiar favorites shared by much of America — Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” and Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul” are probably foregone conclusion — along with some other obscure works that might prompt Googling even among dedicated music fans.

“I always enjoy sharing my end-of-the-year music playlist with you all — and we’ve heard so many great songs this year. Here are some of my favorites,” he wrote on social media (adding, in true Eric Alper Twitter mass-grace fashion, “Any songs or artists I should check out?”).

Obama’s list wisely hits the biggest releases in different genres, including Bad Bunny’s Latin anthem, “TT Me Pregunto,” and country, with blockbuster new artist Zach Bryan and his left-field streaming smash “There’s Something in the Orange.”

There isn’t much overlap between Obama’s picks and the top Grammy nominees, though three contenders for record of the year made the former president’s list: “Break My Soul,” “About Damn Time” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Heart Part 5.”

Best New Artist Grammy nominee Omar Apollo makes Obama’s list with “Tamaochi.” Latin music favorite Rosalia, who topped many critics’ year-end lists despite a lower-than-expected appearance at the Grammy nods, Obama received recognition for her song “Saoco.”

Sometimes he takes an artist’s second-biggest hit, as he did for Steve Lacy’s “Sunshine” (featuring Fauci) over Lacy’s big breakout smash, “Bad Habits.”

In the case of Ethel Cain and her “American Teenager,” she chose an artist who had garnered some critical acclaim for her debut album, “Preacher’s Daughter,” which dealt with heavy topics such as religion and domestic violence, but had no lyrics. Chart it all. Since Kaine hasn’t made enough of an impact for many critics to show up in the polls, Obama’s imprimatur could give him a big boost in visibility. Haitian-American artist Leila McCalla, a member of Our Native Daughters, can count on getting more attention for her under-heard solo album. Sudan Archives’ “Home Maker” could almost count as an unexpected choice, though, rather than a charting position, his album was at least well-represented on year-end critics’ lists.

SZA’s “Shirt” is an of-the-moment pick, becoming a No. 1 bestseller upon the album’s mid-December release, even though the song has been out since October.

Obama also released a summer playlist, which included both current songs and oldies, but included only a half-dozen artists from his mid-year favorites in his late-2022 roundup (sorry, Wet Legs and Harry Styles).

As always, music fans will appreciate his taste, while wondering how he comes across all his picks. A commoner asked tweeter, “Do you think Obama is actually a Maggie Rogers stan or does one of his interns slip him every year?”

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