Best Lyrics About U.S. Presidents
Election Day is here, and with it comes your chance to help pick our nation's leader for the next four years. But be careful who you vote for — if for no other reason than whoever wins is bound to get immortalized in song many times over. What follows are our 10 favorite indie and alt-rock tunes that mention (and sometimes are totally about) U.S. presidents, from our current Commander-in-Chief all the way back to … well, read on and find out.
The Dead Kennedys, ‘We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now’
'We've Got a Bigger Problem Now' is an update of the Dead Kennedys’ song 'California Uber Alles,’ which was originally released as the band's first single in 1979 and also featured on their first full-length album, 1980's 'Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables.' “I am Emperor Ronald Reagan/ Born again with fascist cravings/ Still, you made me president,” frontman Jello Biafra sings on the later version, which was updated following Reagan's election as president in 1980.
Pearl Jam, ‘Bu$hleaguer’
No song shakes up Pearl Jam's fan base quite like 'Bu$hleaguer,' which has been known to prompt cheers, boos and much stronger reactions whenever the band performs it live. The whole tune, of course, is a satirical commentary on George W. Bush, but here's a sample Eddie Vedder lyric: “A confidence man, but why so beleaguered?/ He's not a leader, he's a Texas leaguer.”
Lard, ‘The Power of Lard’
Gerald Ford gets namedropped in 'The Power of Lard,' a song off the 1989 EP of the same name by Lard, a hardcore punk/industrial supergroup featuring Ministry's Al Jourgensen and the Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra. “Waiter, there's a terrorist in my soup/ Which came first- Max Headroom or Gerald Ford,” Biafra sings with typical sarcastic aplomb.
Wavves, ‘Super Soaker’
“Bill Clinton in my head” Wavves singer Nathan Williams repeats several times at one point in the song 'Super Soaker.’ Or wait a second — is he saying “Little clearer through the roof?” It's pretty hard to tell. Maybe he's going back and forth between the lines? Regardless, we're not really sure what either means.
Electric Six, ‘Jimmy Carter’
Electric Six don’t just mention the titular president in this absurd ditty about — well, to be honest, we're not totally sure what this song is about. He gets a mention (“Like Jimmy Carter like, electric underwear”), but so do fellow former presidents Harry Truman (“Like Harry Truman dropping bombs out of the air”) and Ronald Reagan (“Like Ronald Reagan falling asleep for ever more/ Dreaming of horses and dreaming of nuclear war”).
Electric Six, ‘Doom and Gloom and Doom and Gloom’
Apparently, Electric Six didn't quite get all of their presidential namedropping out of the way, as they consult the former world leader on 'Doom and Gloom and Doom and Gloom': “I spoke with Gerald Ford on the Ouija board/ He said the whole thing stinks/ He said it's such a bore, it's nothing more/ Than playing tiddlywinks.” Hard to argue with advice like that.
Ceremony, the hardcore punk band famously signed to Matador, mention the name of our current Commander-in-Chief in their 2010 tune 'Sick,' which is little more than singer Ross Farrar yelling out a list of 35 different things he's sick of. A sample: “Sick of the GOP/ Sick of liberals/ Sick of me/ Sick of Obama/ Sick of head trauma.”
The Cure, ‘Young Americans (Bowie Cover)’
“Do you remember your President Nixon?” David Bowie famously asked on his 1975 song 'Young Americans.' But when the Cure covered the classic back in 1992, British singer Robert Smith updated the line to: “Do you remember your President Clinton?” Genius! The song also appeared on the Cure's 'Join the Dots: B-Sides and Rarities (1979-2001)' compilation.
Surfer Blood, ‘Catholic Pagans’
Surfer Blood go all out on 'Catholic Pagans,' naming our current president by his full birth name. “Barack Hussein Obama would have a field day/ If he knew at all,” John Paul Pitts sings on the tune — which seems like it may be a diss, although we're not totally sure.
Cake Like, ‘Abraham Lincoln’
“I know I know I know / Abraham, Abraham” Cake Like's Kerri Kenney-Silver sings over and over on 'Abraham Lincoln,' a song that names one of our most famous former presidents in its title but doesn't really say much about him in verse. Which seems somewhat appropriate — with nonsense being such a big part of politics, we may as well celebrate it in meaningless ways once in a while, right?