Questions posed to presidential hopefuls reflect their times. Remember the famous one for Bill Clinton during the Rock the Vote forum - boxers or briefs?
In the latest example, Rolling Stone asked Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to disclose the contents of his iPod. He described his musical tastes as "old school."
"If I had one musical hero, it would have to be Stevie Wonder," he told the magazine. Also on the senator's iPod: Jay-Z, Howlin Wolf, Yo-Yo Ma and Sheryl Crow. In a separate radio interview, Obama said he listened to Beyonce, too, thanks to the influence of his daughters.
Some bloggers have analyzed Obama's playlist; one, Marginal Revolution, judged the candidate a "detached, universalist cosmopolitan." Does that mean he's a Mod or a Rocker?
We suspect John McCain's musical tastes will be investigated. Time for his daughter, Meghan, to blog on her dad's favorites, which allegedly include ABBA.
In this campaign cycle, maybe the litmus test of cool shouldn't be what you listen to anymore - whether you identify with Billy Joel or Tina Turner or Luciano Pavarotti. Instead, for the digital age (consider this free advice for the next presidential debate moderators), it should be asked: How often do you change your iPod library? And what high-tech and low-tech methods do you use to discover new music?
Obama has been accused of being an elitist, but when it comes to music he's probably a lot like us - listening to the same tunes over and over again, stuck in a musical rut. Can we discover new music? Yes we can!
Michelle Quinn writes for the Los Angeles Times.