Ethan Strimling is taking theme song suggestions for his mayoral inauguration. Here are 6

Portland Mayor-elect Ethan Strimling smile as the audience gapplauds at his campaign headquarters in Portland on Election Night. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

Portland Mayor-elect Ethan Strimling smiles as the audience applauds at his campaign headquarters in Portland on Election Night. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

Ethan Strimling, who was elected the next mayor of Portland last month, has taken to Facebook for suggestions on what should be the theme song for his inaugural celebration Monday night.

FB post strimling

Over the two days or so that the post has been up, Strimling has received more than 40 suggestions, some of them serious, some of them presumably tongue-in-cheek (one person suggested “Send in the Clowns,” for instance).

Here are six of the song suggestions, plucked somewhat at random from the list of recommendations by Strimling’s Facebook followers (some have swear words mixed in, for fair warning, but I wouldn’t describe any of these songs as particularly vulgar):

Rustic Overtones, “C’mon”

Sample lyrics: 

“If I try, I’m halfway to triumph
(So c’mon, c’mon)
If I sigh, I’m halfway to silence
(So c’mon)
I’m alive and I’m halfway to dying
(So c’mon, c’mon)
I’m halfway to laughing and halfway to crying”

Thoughts: This one gets points for being from a local band, and the “If I try, I’m halfway to triumph” sentiment is nice, but does Strimling want his musical crescendo to tell supporters he’s “halfway to dying” and “halfway to crying”?

Ariana Grande, “Focus”

Sample lyrics:

“I know what I came to do
And that ain’t gonna change
So go ahead and talk your talk
‘Cause I won’t take the bait”

Thoughts: The lyrics to this song have that appropriate “Go get ’em!” type sentiment, but Ariana Grande has been a controversial figure in her young musical career for several social dustups, perhaps most significantly when she was caught on a bakery security camera inexplicably licking doughnuts and saying she hates America.

The Call, “Let the Day Begin”

Sample lyrics:

“Here’s to the teachers in the crowded rooms
Here’s to the workers in the fields
Here’s to the preachers of the sacred words
Here’s to the drivers at the wheel”

Thoughts: This song features toasts to a wide range of people — those in the lyrics above, plus travelers, dreamers, soldiers and others — and fits in nicely with Strimling’s campaign message of bringing disparate Portlanders together to find a common vision for the city. Plus, it’s a hopeful song that hasn’t been overused in politics already, so it wins points for that.

Matchbox 20, “How Far We’ve Come”

Sample lyrics:

“Well, I believe it all is coming to an end
Oh well, I guess, we’re gonna pretend,
Let’s see how far we’ve come
Let’s see how far we’ve come”

Thoughts: If you only read the song title, you might think this song works for an inaugural celebration, but you don’t have to listen long before you get the sense the phrase is being used sarcastically and the whole thing is about how humans are bringing about the apocalypse.

Pink, “Raise Your Glass”

Sample lyrics:

“So raise your glass if you are wrong,
In all the right ways,
All my underdogs,
We will never be never be, anything but loud”

Thoughts: It’s definitely recognizable, and most people in attendance will probably take it for its triumphant, celebratory tone, forgiving that it’s ultimately just a catchy party song with no apparent deeper, inspirational message. Not everything needs to have a political undertone to be effective at rallying a crowd, so something like this might work, as long as Strimling doesn’t want supporters to read too deeply into his musical choices.

Schooner Fare, “Portland Town”

Sample lyrics:

“Of all the places I could go,
She’s still the fairest port I know,
She works the sea and tills the farms,
And holds her children in her arms,
No place could know a prouder past,
Here comes the future full at last”

Thoughts: Another Maine band, this time with a song waxing poetic about the very city where Strimling was elected mayor. It may lack that Rocky-climbing-the-steps rock anthem feel people often associate with political rallies, but it’s hard to argue with the heritage of the band or song.

Which song do you think Strimling should use for his inaugural celebration? Click here to weigh in on his Facebook discussion directly, and feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below as well.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.