Pop Life

Decoding Newt Gingrich Based on His Known Musical Tastes

The digital revolution is slowly killing our favorite form of amateur psychoanalysis. We've all gone through someone's CD collection at some point when they weren't in the room, and from the albums we found we were able to deduce something about their personality. Now, we don't even have a CD shelf, and the only way someone could do that is by flipping through our iPhone, which is frowned upon now in modern society.

So imagine our joy when we realized that we had the opportunity to revisit this line of thought in former house speaker and current GOP presidential hopeful Newton "Thunder" Gingrich. Almost every time we see him he is surrounded by music, and here's what that makes us think of him based on his tastes.


His ringtone is ABBA's "Dancing Queen," which seems a somewhat odd choice for an alpha male of his generation. To be fair, that song may be tied just to a specific person with a specific purpose, but just the idea that Newt downloaded the tune says loads. For our money, ABBA is the perfect pop music, and even though it's technically imported music it remains an American institution. You average ABBA fan is someone who can appreciate art without pretentions, is whimsical and fun, but is possibly stuck in the past. Fans of '70s music seem more than any other to believe that certain musical forms reached their pinnacle during that decade and refuse to hear different. We imagine Newt has a hard time appreciating new ideas.

Another of Newt's favorites is Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," the use of which he is currently being sued over. We don't attribute too much weight to that, with Republican candidates being sued over song use is like singing the national anthem before a baseball game. As far as cheesy music goes, it's hard to beat the theme from Rocky III, and we can't blame Newt if he likes to think of himself coming to the ring accompanied by the theme. Everyone's done that.

We peg an "Eye of the Tiger" adherent as someone who likes to think big, like moon colony big. They see the world as a grand crusade, a battle between good and evil in nice thick black lines, and they never miss an opportunity to make a dramatic gesture in the name of a good show. On the other hand, a tendency to take things as a personal battle tends to alienate people who you are actually trying to accomplish something with, and we'd caution Newt to beware of swelling up like a puffer fish when it's not necessary.

Newt played a lot of music when he won the South Carolina primary and decided that he would take his sweet time coming to the stage for his victory speech. The one we recall the most is Prince's "1999." Are people still even allowed to play that song anymore? Didn't we retire it forever? If any tune pegs Newt with being out of touch then "1999" does so, and yet, it is physically impossible to dislike a Prince fan... at least a Prince fan that isn't shoving his later work down your throat and trying to convince you that a stream of piss is a rainstorm.

We'd have been more impressed is Newt had dropped a track off of the Gold Experience, but we understand that that album probably plays badly in conservative circles. Ironically, "1999" is song that seems to be the perfect anthem to a serious politician, being as it is a reminder to live in times of crisis rather than going tharn.

Then... as he took the stage Newt played Toby Keith's "American Ride." We have to be honest, it'd hard to classify a Toby Keith fan as anything other than a meathead, and this coming from someone who can still single every note of Hulk Hogan's "Real American" entrance theme. Patriotism as a form of posturing and marketing is somewhat abhorrent, though of course very applicable to running for office we concede. If you're going for the blind nationalism card, though, there's always Hendrix's cover of the "Star-Spangled Banner," or if you really want to wow a crowd bust out Leonard Cohen's Democracy."

So in conclusion, what can we say about Newt based only on his musical tastes? He's a man who favors the mainstream, and we can't really count on him to think too far outside the box. When he tackles a problem, he tackles it full-on without second-guessing himself, but may get blinded by crusading. We can count on him to keep his head in a crisis, and finally, he can be a jerk, intolerant of opposing viewpoints.

Now off to Wikipedia to see how our little horoscope measures up!

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner