Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen Launch a new Spotify Podcast

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By Sam Baghal, International News Editor

Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen have become the latest podcast duo since the debut of the eight-part conversational series, “Renegades: Born in the USA” on Spotify. 

Although the two might seem like an unlikely pairing, Obama and Springsteen have actually been friends since 2008, originally meeting during Obama’s presidential election campaign. In the series’ introduction, they recounted many defining moments of their friendship, including vacations, dinner-time chats, and impromptu karaoke in the White House.

While it seems doubtful that an 80’s rock icon from Freehold, New Jersey and the former president of the United States could have anything in common, Obama explained to listeners that their childhoods were actually very similar. As the beginning half of the first episode reveals, both of them have had difficult relationships with their fathers. While Obama’s was entirely absent, Springsteen’s suffered from undiagnosed schizophrenia and couldn’t hold a job for most of his life. 

Aside from their shared struggle of growing up without a stable father figure, as it turns out, both men also share similar outlooks on race, social divisions, and American ideals. 

“In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys,” Obama says in the first episode. “We still share a fundamental belief in the American ideal. Not as an airbrushed, cheap fiction or an act of nostalgia that ignores all the ways that we’ve fallen short of that ideal. But as a compass for the hard work that lies before each of us as citizens.”

The podcast itself aired in the midst of a controversy, considering that the news is still fresh about Springsteen getting charged for drunk driving back in November. Neither Springsteen himself nor Obama have publicly commented about the arrest, and the scandal did not end up changing Spotify’s plans to release the show.

Even with Springstein’s misdemeanor, the podcast has been widely successful, bringing in a large audience and gaining a lot of positive feedback.

“The joint show between Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen has been really entertaining to listen to,” said Senior Jamie Hamalainen. “They have such a great dynamic, and it is really interesting to hear them tackle and address serious topics.”

While the podcast has developed many loyal fans already within its first three episodes, some have been critical of its content, disappointed that it is not more political. Considering that the show has been promoted as a space to discuss the divisions in American society and to search for solutions, Obama and Springsteen largely avoid largely controversial topics and stick to personal stories.

“The episodes have been interesting so far, don’t get me wrong,” said senior Elise Kosoy. “However, I wish they would share more of their individual opinions on the political state of the country. Whenever they do bring up specific political matters, it seems very impersonal.”

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