Podcasts have become a recent wave for listening to conversations on just about anything. No surprise to learn that these two iconic personalities, former President Obama and Bruce Springsteen (The Boss), would engage in this new venture with a little help from Spotify and their genuine friendship. These are two people that I truly admire, and so not listening was never an option. Putting aside whatever your politics are, I found their dialogue, insights, and the ride down memory lane super entertaining. If you are a Boomer, it will definitely resonate with you, if you are not, it becomes a lens to view contemporary history, worthy of your time.

Here is what I most enjoyed about the podcast.

Although it is a bit orchestrated, it contains very defined topics and wonderful integration of music, speeches, and history notes. Both Bruce and Obama take turns casually interviewing each other. The title “the Renegades”, although intriguing, makes little sense to me as they are exceptional outliers who have successfully conquered their destiny.

 There are some common threads between both men in the fathers they inherited, women they married and in their political views about this country. Bruce is exceptional …as he comes across with such raw intensity, honesty, and thoughtfulness with his infectious laugher that draws you in. His raspy voice, at times becomes a brawny whisper that immediately reminds you of his singing style and poetic songs. He is more introspective and emotional than Obama, who is generally more diplomatic and retrospective, using iconic moments of history to define their lives and that of America. There is a 12-year age difference between the two of them, yet their experiences, beliefs and values are uniquely connected. There is no question that race is a big part of their ongoing conversation as it is causally weaved into their life experiences shaping who they have become.

These eight episodes contrast both of their life stories, how differently they were raised, yet their ideology being identical. Here you have a story of a white boy raised in a small predominately white working-class town in New Jersey with a father experiencing mental illness and a biracial child living in Hawaii raised by a single mother and his grandparents early on recognizes he looks different from everyone. Clearly, one common thread is the role their mothers played in their lives. One becoming this country’s most prolific rock star and the other the 45th and first Black President of the United States.

The conversation is peppered with funny and touching stories of their lives growing up interwoven with history’s greatest moments, American music, becoming husbands and fathers along with their stellar achievements. They never lose their optimism about the greatness of America even as they speak about its imperfections and racial divide. It’s hard not to feel the joy and spirit of what they most value about this nation. Both men are poetic and passionate in their reflections of their experiences and how its shape them as men. Unlike Obama, where we are all too familiar with his background, personal style and speeches, Bruce offers us a unique opportunity to learn about his views, passion and down-to-earth persona. Getting to know him through these eight episodes was indeed gratifying and is why he is the Boss!

My favorite episodes are Traveling in the US & Finding a Home, American Music and Looking Towards America Renewal; super powerful and inspirational. All eight episodes offer a bit of escapism from the news and the pandemic offering an opportunity for reflection, and a bit of nostalgia.

So, if you are taking long walks, driving afar or relaxing, grab those EarPods, download Spotify, and get inspired!