In many ways, my life in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election is extremely similar to my life in college. Both have been periods during which I learned a lot of information that I immediately forgot, and in both, I have been consumed with anxiety over what the future holds. Now, another unfortunate parallel: listening to an obscure, boring album by some guy I’ve never heard of before in my life.
On Tuesday, someone named Tim Ryan — I think? — who is running for president, tweeted, “I dropped an album. Really,” and shared a link to his album, A New and Better Agenda, on Spotify.
As far as albums by white midwestern guys go, I would say A New and Better Agenda falls somewhere below Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, and above Jonathan Franzen’s audiobook of The Corrections. It consists of ten tracks — an intro and an outro, and eight policy singles. In each one, Ryan speaks evenly into the mic, outlining his stances on subjects like “Immigration,” (track 9), “College Affordability” (track 6), and “Education” (track 2).
As a whole, it’s inconsistent. One of his weakest tracks, “Healthcare,” doesn’t mention Medicare-for-all, and has hardly any melody to speak of. But track 4, “Regenerative agriculture,” makes some good points about the harmful environmental impact of agricultural monopolies, and I wouldn’t mind listening to it while I go on a run, or when I’m getting ready to go out.
Overall, I would give the album a B-minus. It’s not terrible, but both back in college, and now, I’d probably rather listen to a cool professor.