What Obama Picks Tell Us About Economic Policy

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In August, David Leonhardt, an economics columnist for The New York Times, wrote a profile of Barack Obama's economic policies. Leonhardt offers his insight into Obama's newly announced team of economic advisers and what they say about Obamanomics.


There are two new CDs from a couple of old music hands, and to find out why new releases from Neil Young and Paul McCartney are worth noting, we welcome Bob Boilen back to the program. He's the host of NPR's online music program All Songs Considered. Good to see you again, Bob.

BOB BOILEN: Hi, Michele.

NORRIS: Let's start with the Neil Young record, which is a live album. And while this is a new CD, it's not a new recording, right?

BOILEN: Not at all. In fact, I first heard this record - I used to work in a record store, and we used to carry 45s. And on the back of a Neil Young 45 in the early 1970s was a song - you probably know it - called "Sugar Mountain." And on the 45, in little print, was a little thing. It said "Live at Canterbury Hall." And I figured, this is great, live Neil Young. Where's the rest of it? Back then you couldn't look on the Internet. You couldn't - there were very few people to ask.

NORRIS: There was no YouTube then.

BOILEN: I don't remember reading an article about where the recording was from. And I always wondered, what happen to this recording? And now, I mean, he's been going through his vault. He's got this huge project to unearth all of these archived recordings. And there is "Sugar Mountain" and, you know, 18, or 15, or whatever, other songs from Neil Young trying out his solo act. And it's just a fascinating concert. I cannot stop listening to this thing. I love it.


NEIL YOUNG: (Singing) Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain, With the barkers and the colored balloons. You can't be 20 on Sugar Mountain, Though you're thinking that you're leaving there too soon...

NORRIS: Now we have another new release, as we mentioned, from Paul McCartney. This is not your usual Paul McCartney solo release. His name doesn't even appear on the front cover.

BOILEN: In the early 1990s, Paul McCartney did these records of electronic dance music that sort of - put it out under the name The Fireman. Eventually it was leaked that is was Paul McCartney, a fellow he'd worked with named Youth as a producer, and they sort of went unnoticed, and that was that. And now 2008, he puts out another record under The Fireman, only this time he's singing on the record, which the others were all dance instrumental. In this one, there's a sense of that pop side of Paul McCartney, but much more experimental, much looser, 13 songs recorded in 13 days over the course of a year. It's really great to hear somebody like this be so experimental well into their 60s.


PAUL MCCARTNEY: (Singing) Silent lovers, silent lovers, angels smiling, don't stop running....

NORRIS: Bob, anyone who listens to All Songs Considered knows that you are a Beatles fan, and this marks the 40th anniversary of a very important Beatles album, "The White Album."

BOILEN: I remember it was right around this time, right before Thanksgiving. I was at my cousin's house. My uncle brought home "The White Album." And I go back every year, this time of the year, and I go and I listen from beginning to end to "The White Album."

NORRIS: Really. That's your Thanksgiving ritual.

BOILEN: It absolutely is. And this year - and each year I hear something I never heard before, which is sort of remarkable as many times as I've heard these records. And I just want to share one moment with you. Since we're talking about Paul, I was thinking about "The White Album," and I never heard this. The song "I Will," as simple as could be - you know this song, right? And not much in that song. And I never heard Paul singing the bass line on the song. So you hear him, you know, go, bam, bam, boom, boom.


THE BEATLES: (Singing) If you want me to, I will. For if I ever saw you...

BOILEN: I never heard it before. I mean, obviously, he's playing bass, too. But he's singing the bass line.

NORRIS: Do you think you're hearing that because you're listening to it differently now?

BOILEN: I have no idea why this year I heard that, and I never heard it before. But I love that. And I love that about music in general which is listen carefully and listen deeply and there is new enjoyment to be had in old favorites.


BEATLES: (Singing) Love you forever and forever. Love you with all my heart...

NORRIS: Great to talk to you, again, Bob. Happy Thanksgiving.

BOILEN: Thank you. You too.


BEATLES: (Singing) Love you when we're apart...

NORRIS: Bob Boilen is the host of NPR's online music show All Songs Considered. And you can listen to the entire albums from Neil Young and Fireman at nprmusic.org.

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