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Obama Releases His List Of Favorite Songs Of 2019

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OLD TOWN ROAD")

LIL NAS X: (Singing) Yeah, I'm going to take my horse to the old town road. I'm going to ride till I can't no more. I'm going to take...

NOEL KING, HOST:

That Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road," a song that totally blew up this year. It and 34 other songs are on former President Barack Obama's list of year-end favorites. This list is a tradition that he's continued since he left office.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUICE")

LIZZO: (Singing) It ain't my fault that I'm out here getting loose. Got to blame it on the Goose, got to blame it on my juice, baby.

KING: The list also included Lizzo's "Juice." Her Tiny Desk concert was one of NPR's most popular ever, by the way. Obama also really liked Bruce Springsteen's "Hello Sunshine."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HELLO SUNSHINE")

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: (Singing) Hello, sunshine. Won't you stay? You know I...

KING: Music critic Jay Ruttenberg of The Lowbrow Reader says that he thinks these songs are actually songs from Obama's personal playlist.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

JAY RUTTENBERG: It feels like he - and maybe I'm wrong, but it really - you get a sense that he's actually drawing from what he listens to. And there's a lot of new artists that, even if you're paying a lot of attention to music, you might not have heard of before.

KING: Obama also picked a couple songs in Spanish, like Rosalia's "Con Altura."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CON ALTURA")

ROSALIA: (Singing in Spanish).

EL GUINCHO: (Rapping in Spanish).

KING: If the past is any indication, these artists will get a lot more from being on this list than just a head nod from a former president, which, in and of itself, is pretty cool. According to Nielsen Music, every song from his summer playlist surged in sales, and nearly all of them got a boost in online streams. Thanks, Obama.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CON ALTURA")

ROSALIA: (Singing in Spanish). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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