The Song Air Force One Played During Trump's Departure Explained

We all have songs that we associate with specific eras of our lives, be it the Taylor Swift album that got you through your most recent breakup or the classical music playlist you listened to in order to cram for your final exams. Believe it or not, even politicians have songs like that.

Traditionally, a politician will choose a song to play at their campaign rallies and, hopefully for them, to play when they make their victory speech on election night. The songs politicians decide to use to mark their attempted ascension to higher office often say something about the man or woman themselves. For example, Hillary Clinton chose "American Girl" by Tom Petty for her 2016 campaign theme, Barack Obama went with "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder in 2008 and Bill Clinton opted for "Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac in 1992. Some songs are a little more out of left field though, like Sarah Palin's choice of "Barracuda" or John McCain blasting "Take a Chance on Me" by ABBA in 2008, per Variety.

People often focus on the campaign songs, but a president's exit song is rarely given the same attention. That is until January 2021, when Trump left the White House for the final time, playing what was at once the most appropriate and ridiculous song as his farewell.

Donald Trump's song has people talking

Donald Trump departed Washington D.C. on the morning of Jan. 20th, 2021, hours before his successor, Joe Biden, took office. Trump's decision to skip his successor's inauguration is unusual, as he is one of the only presidents in history to do so, per The New York Times. To add a certain dramatic flair to an already tense moment, Trump opted to have Frank Sinatra's "My Way" blasting as the plane took off.

Lyrics that stuck out and perhaps resonate with the 45th president of the United States include: "Regrets, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention" and "Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew/When I bit off more than I could chew/... I did it my way."

Perhaps Anderson Cooper put it best when he described Trump's departure tune as "surreally appropriate," as he watched the plane depart. Some might argue that while thematically, Sinatra's "My Way" is appropriate, an even better choice might have been Sid Vicious's more chaotic version of the song, which might have more accurately summed up the Trump presidency. That being said, it's doubtful the former president is a fan of the Sex Pistols.

The performances at Biden and Harris' inauguration eclipsed Trump's dramatic exit

While Donald Trump made his dramatic musical exit, incoming president and vice president Joe Biden and Kamala Harris made a musical statement of their own. In a presidential first, the new number one and number two dropped a new playlist day ahead of inauguration day, per USA Today. The playlist, which aptly includes 46 songs (Biden is the 46th president), represents a much more upbeat interpretation of the future than Trump's morose selection of "My Way."

In a joint statement, the office of president and vice president said the playlist "represents the diversity of our nation and our strength and resilience as we look forward to new leadership and a new era in America." The Presidential Inaugural Committee CEO referred to the songs as "the score to a new chapter and will help bring people together," per Vulture

The playlist includes modern hits as recent as Dua Lipa's "Levitating," which came out in October 2020, and as old as "Could You Be Loved" by Bob Marley. There are also a few deep cuts, like "Let It Happen" by Tame Impala and "Mirage" by Toro y Moi, that give the incoming president an extra air of cool that Trump didn't exactly nail with "My Way."

Biden's inauguration music sharply contrasted with Trump's

In addition to the celebratory playlist, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris lined up several big acts for Inauguration Day. The performers tapped to play on the historic day represented the same spirit of the official playlist — the wide range of genres aligns with Biden's campaign message of celebrating diversity and fostering unity in a fractured country.

Lady Gaga, who tirelessly campaigned for Biden during the long 2020 election, nabbed the honor of performing the "Star-Spangled Banner." Jennifer Lopez, who also endorsed Biden, performed "America the Beautiful" and "This Land is Your Land" and even snuck in a little bit of her hit "Let's Get Loud," which the crowd loved. Later in the day, other big acts, including Justin Timberlake and Demi Lovato, are also slated to perform, per Newsweek

The extensive and diverse lineup for the 2021 inauguration stands in sharp contrast to the 2017 Trump inauguration, which faced problems from day one. The most memorable performances in 2017 were from Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down. Not only did Trump have nothing close to the Biden roster, but he had trouble finding any talent at all. Big names, including Elton John, publicly refused to perform, per Newsweek.