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The definitive (?) international relations playlist, 2018-2023 ▶️

"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and more.

- January 8, 2024

During the fall 2018 semester, inspired by Mike Tierney and others, I assembled a list of “IR-themed” songs for use prior to each lecture of my undergraduate Introduction to International Relations lecture course. I’m an amateur drummer and music lover, and I thought it would be fun to pair two of my favorite things: international relations and great music. 

Mostly, this was a way to fill the ten minutes before class, as students came into the lecture hall. I figured that, if they got nothing else out of the class, at least my students would leave properly educated about some of the greatest music of all time. And maybe, just maybe, they would remember some of what they had learned about IR down the road when they heard “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” or “Strange Currencies” or “Anarchy in the U.K.”  

Student feedback on this was overwhelmingly positive, so I’ve kept at it over the last five years, with annual updates and rotations of songs based on new music discoveries and new developments in world politics. I’ve learned about a bunch of great music from my students, who now regularly suggest new songs, even as they’ve learned from me about the world historical importance of R.E.M., David Bowie, The National, and The Clash. 

My fall 2019 playlist, by topic/class week, is here. My fall 2020 playlist is here. And the spring 2023 edition is available on Spotify and the songs are listed by topic/week here

Do you have a good playlist with a political science theme? Want someone to make one? Know someone who has one? Send us your suggestions using this form! Please note that we will review all proposals but not all will be published.