The songs that have been played on the campaign trail are the candidates' musical preferences at rallies and in advertisements offering a glimpse into what they think works for their supporters
While Donald Trump's choice of music leans heavily on classic rock songs that project power and combative self-confidence, Joe Biden's playlist has been almost evenly divided between black and white artists since he announced his candidacy in April 2019.
The songs that have been played on the campaign trail are the candidates' musical preferences at rallies and in advertisements offering a glimpse into what they think works for their supporters, BBC Reported.
In school, US President Donald Trump punched his school music teacher when he was seven years old.
I actually gave a teacher a black eye because I didn't think he knew anything about music
Donald Trump's song choices are usually based on how they feel, rather than a scholarly analysis of the lyrics. His pre-speech playlist is designed to keep the audience pumped up. They often stand for hours before he comes on stage, so the focus is on timeless sing-alongs, seemingly targeted at white voters in their 50s and 60s. That means songs like Elton John's Tiny Dancer and Laura Branigan's Gloria, mixed with rousing classical numbers like Nessun Dorma and the patriotic Battle Of The Hymn Republic (Glory, Glory, Hallelujah).
He frequently plays Queen's We Are The Champions - whose refrain, "No time for losers," could almost be the president's inner monologue. Tina Turner's The Best ("you're better than all the rest") and Survivor's pugnacious Eye Of The Tiger ("just a man and his will to survive") fulfil similar functions - conveying the idea of Trump as a lone wolf, fighting the political establishment.
He often seems to be trolling critics with his choices. Why else would he play Gnarls Barkley's Crazy, or The Rolling Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want? And his perceived persecution by the media gets a musical airing, too, through songs like Michael Jackson's Beat It.
"They told him, don't you ever come around here," sings the star, who once kept a home in one of Trump's buildings in New York. "Don't want to see your face, you'd better disappear." But the song actually advocates retreat. "You'd better leave while you can," Jackson advises, the message being: You think you're tough, but your opponents are tougher... so be the better man and walk away.
Joe Biden's tastes are no more up-to-date. His favourite band is traditional Irish folk outfit The Chieftains, he told People Magazine in 2012, adding: "I would sing Shenandoah if I had any musical talent."
I would sing Shenandoah if I had any musical talent
Recently, his walk-on music has been The Staple Singers' deep cut We The People - an uplifting, soulful hymn to unity, whose title was lifted from the preamble to the US Constitution.
"You may have the black blood / Or you may have the white blood," sing the gospel group, "But we are all living on blood / So don't let nobody slip into the mud" - it's the sort of message Biden has sought to build his campaign around, calling for harmony and stability.
He tends to favour feel-good songs like Bill Withers' Lovely Day or Jackie Wilson's (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher. But for those paying attention, there's often a message hidden in the lyrics."Powers keep on lyin' / While your people keep on dyin,'" sings Stevie Wonder in campaign staple Higher Ground - a not-so-thinly veiled reference to the Trump administration's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
After speaking, Biden usually leaves the stage to the strains of Bruce Springsteen's We Take Care Of Our Own. Like Born In The USA, the song is actually a critique of America, originally written in response to President Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina. "There ain't no help, the cavalry stayed home," sings The Boss, who says he's "looking for the map that leads me home".
Biden is, presumably, trying to align himself with Springsteen - a working-class hero who's determined to set America back on the right path.
But sometimes, the candidates select songs that make you wonder if they've paid attention to the words at all.
What is Trump trying to say when he blasts out Sympathy For The Devil, a song literally written from the perspective of Satan?
And, wonderful though Haim's The Wire is, does Biden realise he's being welcomed onto the stage with the lyrics: "I fumbled it when it came down to the wire"?
Biden suffered another musical misfire last month, when he attempted to woo a large Puerto Rican audience in Florida by playing the Reggaeton song Despacito from his phone, while dancing awkwardly behind the podium (Luis Fonsi, who recorded the song, had just introduced him to the crowd).
As right-wing pundits gleefully pointed out, Despacito is Spanish for "slowly" - a perfect descriptor for the candidate they refer to as Sleepy Joe.
After his brush with Covid-19 earlier this month, Trump has also been keen to prove he's neither slow nor sleepy, and TikTok is awash with memes of him dancing to The Village People's YMCA.
In fact, the president seems functionally incapable of staying still when the song strikes up - pumping his fists back and forth, and lurching from side to side like a priest at a wedding. His supporters have even recorded a new version of the track, where YMCA becomes MAGA.
Trump enjoys very little support from the current crop of pop stars, with Cardi B, Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Frank Ocean and DaBaby all endorsing Biden this year. One video posted to social media in May featured Trump complaining about his treatment by the press, set to a soundtrack of Justin Timberlake's Cry Me A River.
And the Democratic candidate has deployed pop music to take down his opponent in campaign ads targeted at younger voters.
But in the end, music can only set a mood. Voters won't decide who wins based on the candidates' CD collections. In fact, a 2016 Ohio survey concluded that star endorsements had no effect on most voters' intentions in that year's presidential race - and some celebrities actually put people off. An endorsement from Beyonce was, apparently, the biggest turn-off.