Election 2020: The songs that made America dance in the streets this weekend
Every party needs music. When Joe Biden was declared president-elect, people in major cities across the country flooded the streets in celebration. Left-leaning Americans turned to tracks that acted as a joyous, uniting sound: both a sigh of relief and a victory cry. NSYNC’s 20-year-old hit “Bye, Bye, Bye” reentered the top 200 songs on the US iTunes chart. According to Billboard, Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” and Tina Turner’s “The Best” also saw a spike in streams. Miley Cyrus’s 2009 banger “Party in the USA” reentered the iTunes top 200 and charted on Spotify at No. 93 — 11 years to the day after it first hit number No. 1. (It is also worth noting that “Party in the USA” was heralded as “the official funeral song of Osama bin Laden” in 2011.)
None of these celebratory tracks are as notorious as YG and the late Nipsey Hussle’s 2016 single “FDT” (suffice it to say, the DT stands for Donald Trump). According to Billboard, Election Day streams of the song tripled, then quadrupled, launching it into the iTunes top 10 by the time the race was called four days later.
“FDT” was a fan favorite before, during, and after the 2016 election. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, YG said that he felt good about speaking up on the track. “We spoke up because no one else was speaking up. That’s what rap is made for. Too many rappers keep saying [stuff] with no substance. I told Nip that if we do this together, we gotta speak on Trump and go right to the streets,” he said.
The songs that anti-Trump Americans chose to celebrate are on-the-nose classics — easy, to-the-point titles that describe the sentiment of sudden joy and togetherness in the wake of Biden’s win. The lyrics of “Party in the USA” beg for audience participation, an excited head nod that says yes, this is a celebration. “FDT” demands that listeners chant in unison and curse the name of the (now-outgoing) president of the United States.
In Pennsylvania, the state that put Biden over the 270 electoral votes he needed to win, Philadelphia residents partied long into the night. Songs like 2012’s “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill, a track that served the city well during its 2018 Super Bowl win, resurged. Many, including John Legend, turned in tribute to “Georgia on My Mind,” for the state that seems to be flipping blue and helped Biden in his path to victory.
“Georgia on my mind” sung by John Legend after he found out Joe Biden took the lead in Georgia which hasn’t gone blue since 1992. pic.twitter.com/glec4EIQkp
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) November 6, 2020
Other classics like “Here Comes the Sun,” “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” and “Hit the Road, Jack” were also popular choices. Although President Trump seems to be uninterested in exiting without a fight, any song with lyrics that could apply to Trump’s departure was fair game, and those who are happy to see him go danced and sang along in the streets.