Remixing the Candidates

These strange and wonderful vinyl album covers imagine presidential hopefuls as music stars.

Image by Slate. Illustrations by Newell Capital Venture Partners.

The 2016 presidential campaign has already inspired a lot of records, from the amount of cash raised (almost $300 million to date each in unlimited and limited donations) to the number of fact-free speculations and outright falsehoods presented as talking points (just shy of incalculable). With the election still a year away, why not add nine more records—or album covers, at least. Matthew Newell, of satirical firm Newell Capital Venture Partners, remixes the presidential hopefuls by taking them off the campaign trail and into iconic music genres. “There’s the ‘brand’ that the candidate is trying to portray,” Newell says, “and the one the voters and media are assigning to them. The album covers attempt to pair the two.” Ahead of Wednesday night’s GOP primary debate, let’s take them for a spin.

Illustration by Newell Capital Venture Partners

Jeb Bush, Meditations on Expectations

“I have never thought that Jeb gets enough credit for his introspection. In fact, he’s been branded as ‘low energy’ because of it. Positing him as a folk singer, thoughtful and introverted, really made sense. And there’s also a little bit of Garfunkel to his family situation.”

Illustration by Newell Capital Venture Partners

Dr. Ben Carson, An Odyssey of Other Worldly Science and Understandings

“I couldn’t believe it when I found that photo of Ben Carson—which is not altered, by the way! It so perfectly lent itself to a ’50s-era sci-fi record. And what is a theremin brigade?”

Illustration by Newell Capital Venture Partners

Hillary Clinton, Watch the Oval

“This is based on the Jay Z and Kanye West album Watch the Throne, which I thought was fitting for Hillary Clinton. In both cases, there’s a ton of talent and swagger there, but half your energy is spent just maintaining your power and control.”

Illustration by Newell Capital Venture Partners

Ted Cruz, Sing the Good Word of God as He Intended Through the Bible

“A gospel album, of course. I just wanted the title to be super-super-long and sermon-y because, boy, can that guy talk when he’s got a mic.”

Illustration by Newell Capital Venture Partners

Carly Fiorina, Countdwn 2 Global Leadrshp

“I love her in the vein of Pink or Lady Gaga: I am a strong, independent woman, I’m going to tell you who I am and no one is going to alter that.

Illustration by Newell Capital Venture Partners

Bobby Jindal, My Blood Runs Red White and USA

“It’s almost like he’s upset with himself for not being more John Wayne. He’s often the butt of jokes, but I think he personally would actually really love this country/western album cover interpretation.”

Illustration by Newell Capital Venture Partners

Marco Rubio, Beats Laws & Life

“He’s the perfect electronic dance music (EDM) candidate. Young, taking on authority, from a unique cultural heritage. Someone pointed out to me after we released this collection that Rubio also has constant dry mouth, which is a side affect of some common EDM drugs.”

Illustration by Newell Capital Venture Partners

Bernie Sanders, Dig Us Out

 “It’s based on a pretty well-known Sleater-Kinney album cover, and the title Dig Us Out came from Sleater-Kinney’s Dig Me Out, which is fitting, given that both of them have high-indie status. I had that photo of Bernie on election night (maybe for mayor?) colorized since it was black-and-white in its original form.”

Illustration by Newell Capital Venture Partners

Donald Trump, Manhattan Nights, Queens Soul

“Of course, it would have been easy to have some fun with the clown angle, but I loved going with an old-school R&B theme. And the song title ‘Drop the Bigly Important Funk’ still makes me laugh every time.”