The Ultimate "Goodbye Obama" Mixtape

Rajul Punjabi is a freelance writer. The views expressed here are her own.

As we near the end of President Obama’s final term in office, all kinds of emotions are bubbling up.

Will the next president lead the country with the same tenets of equality, justice, and grace? Will he be able to help craft crucial policies, amend and foster invaluable relationships with other nations, and connect with disenfranchised youth?

Most importantly, does Donald Trump even know the words to Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together?

Obama promised us change, but I’m not ready for this kind.

It feels like a breakup, and not the "good riddance" kind. This man is leaving us for greener pastures (a golf course, probably), to a destiny that feels dangerously uncertain. As the president gears up to leave the White House, I find myself enduring the classic five stages of grief — everything from blissful denial to straight-up depression.

So, much like a lovesick tween of the '90s, I made a mixtape to cope. Ahead, 10 tracks that most accurately express how I feel about our commander in chief splitting up with us after eight years.

This story was originally published in June 2016. It has been updated to reflect the outcome of the election.

Mariah Carey — "Always Be My Baby"
Denial is not just a river in Egypt — it’s the water that sustains me during this difficult time of transition. Mariah Carey captures my stubborn refusal to let go in this track, rejecting the idea that her man will ever belong to anyone else. While there will be a new leader of the free world at this time next year, Obama will always be my president.
Blackstreet — "Don’t Leave Me"
“My love runs deeper than the ocean and sea but if you sail away you’ll take the center piece of me,” croons Teddy Riley on this heartfelt track. I’d ordinarily be too proud to beg, but this is a special case.
Drake — "Best I Ever Had"
I’ve seen a few leaders come in and out of the White House over the years — most of whom had the charisma of a middle-school gym teacher or the ethics of a…well…Trump. And then came Barack. Not sure we can do better than this. Drake and I — equally comfortable emoting — both know this.
Jackson 5 — "I Want You Back"
This one’s a little upbeat, but it can’t hurt to dance through the stress. Little MJ bargains, “Oh baby, all I need is one more chance.” Wear your mom jeans if you want, Obama. We won’t make fun of you anymore if you put in another term or two.
Adele — "Someone Like You"
Here come the real tears. “You know how time flies,” Adele says. If you’re set on retiring, can I at least have someone like you in the White House to ease the blow? I’d blare this on a boom box on the White House lawn if it didn’t guarantee jail time.
Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko "Stay"
The best ballads always drip a little desperation. “Funny you’re the broken one, but I’m the one that needed saving,” she sings, echoing my very sentiment: Eight years in this position did a number on the POTUS’ body and spirit, but I really needed affordable health care. So stay. Do more good things.
Coldplay — "Viva La Vida"
A little anger is natural in this situation. I had it all — a president who strived for unity rather than divisiveness — and now I have to start over with someone else. It’s almost as if, “One minute I held the key, next the walls were closed on me,” as Chris Martin describes it. Walls that Mexico will build themselves, apparently.
Billie Holiday "Stormy Weather"
There are several versions of this song but this one is the most melancholic, and appropriately so. “Don’t know why, there’s no sun up in the sky / Stormy weather since my man and I ain’t together.” Lady Day encapsulates my exact sentiment with her bluesy bent.
Boyz II Men "It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday"
This song about not knowing where the road is going to lead, punctuated by soulful harmonizing, expresses my depression quite succinctly. I’m clearly not ready to say goodbye to yesterday, as it seems like we were just celebrating Inauguration Day.
Kendrick Lamar "Alright"
Acceptance. Sort of. On this empowering track, Lamar consents to the fate he’s been given. We’re stronger than we think, so despite the madness all around us, we’re going to be all right, he asserts. Here’s hoping.
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