Barack Obama reveals his favorite songs and films of 2018

Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett, Janelle Monáe, and Prince are just a few names on his playlist

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

    Former president Barack Obama has shared his favorite songs and films of 2018. As a president who can actually read, Obama has also revealed some of his favorite books from the past year.

    Obama’s playlist includes indie favorites like Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett as well as hip-hop heavyweights including Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, and The Carters. Cardi B’s “I Like It”, one of our own favorite songs of 2018, made his list, as did Janelle Monáe’s “Make Me Feel”, taken from one of our favorite albums of the year. Also receiving some love was “Mary Don’t You Weep” from Prince’s first posthumous album. (If you recall, Obama welcomed Prince to the White House near the end of his second term.)

    On the film front, Obama enjoyed Black Panther, BlacKkKlansmanIf Beale Street Could Talk, and Annihilation, as well as the Mr. Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, among other pictures.


    You can find Obama’s full list of favorite songs, films, and books below. His wife’s memoir, Becoming, was “obviously my favorite” book of 2018, he remarked.

    Favorite Songs:
    Apes••t by The Carters
    Bad Bad News by Leon Bridges
    Could’ve Been by H.E.R. (feat. Bryson Tiller)
    Disco Yes by Tom Misch (feat. Poppy Ajudha)
    Ekombe by Jupiter & Okwess
    Every Time I Hear That Song by Brandi Carlile
    Girl Goin’ Nowhere by Ashley McBryde
    Historia De Un Amor by Tonina (feat. Javier Limón and Tali Rubinstein)
    I Like It by Cardi B (feat. Bad Bunny and J Balvin)
    Kevin’s Heart by J. Cole
    King For A Day by Anderson East
    Love Lies by Khalid & Normani
    Make Me Feel by Janelle Monáe
    Mary Don’t You Weep (Piano & A Microphone 1983 Version) by Prince
    My Own Thing by Chance the Rapper (feat. Joey Purp)
    Need a Little Time by Courtney Barnett
    Nina Cried Power by Hozier (feat. Mavis Staples)
    Nterini by Fatoumata Diawara
    One Trick Ponies by Kurt Vile
    Turnin’ Me Up by BJ the Chicago Kid
    Wait by the River by Lord Huron
    Wow Freestyle by Jay Rock (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
    And in honor of one of the great jazz singers of all time, who died this year, a classic album: The Great American Songbook by Nancy Wilson


    Favorite Films:
    Black Panther
    The Death of Stalin
    Eighth Grade
    If Beale Street Could Talk
    Leave No Trace
    Minding the Gap
    The Rider
    Support the Girls
    Won’t You Be My Neighbor

    Favorite Books:
    Here’s a reminder of the books that I read this year that appeared on earlier lists:
    Becoming by Michelle Obama (obviously my favorite!)
    An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
    Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne
    Educated by Tara Westover
    Factfulness by Hans Rosling
    Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging by Alex Wagner
    A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
    A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
    How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
    In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu
    Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
    The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti
    The Return by Hisham Matar
    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
    Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
    Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen
    The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes

    Here are my other favorite books of 2018:
    American Prison by Shane Bauer
    Arthur Ashe: A Life by Raymond Arsenault
    Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
    Feel Free by Zadie Smith
    Florida by Lauren Groff
    Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
    Immigrant, Montana by Amitava Kumar
    The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson
    Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
    There There by Tommy Orange
    Washington Black by Esi Edugyan