Netflix's new comedy-drama series The Politician has an elegantly crafted opening credits sequence, set to Sufjan Stevens' song "Chicago." The show stars Benjamin Platt as Payton Hobart, an ambitious candidate for student body president, who is determined to one day become President of the United States, and sees his current campaign as an essential step on that path.
Created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan, The Politician also stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Payton's doting adoptive mother, Zoey Deutch as a cancer patient who is drawn into Payton's campaign, Julia Schlaepfer as Payton's would-be First Lady, and Theo Germaine and Laura Dreyfuss as his devoted campaign managers. American Horror Story's Jessica Lange also stars in the show as the manipulative grandmother of Deutch's character, and Lucy Boynton plays Payton's nemesis, Astrid. The Politician blends comedy with tragedy and (as you might expect from the creators of Glee) is interspersed with songs, mostly sung by Platt.
The Politician's main theme song is "Chicago," one of the best-loved tracks by singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. The song is taken from Stevens' 2005 album Illinois, and memorably appeared on the soundtrack of Little Miss Sunshine. In contrast to Payton's wealthy lifestyle and rigid focus on his career goals, "Chicago" is a song about taking a road trip across America in a van, with lyrics that refer to sleeping in parking lots and selling clothes. While it might seem like an unusual choice of song given The Politician's subject matter, its relevance to the story becomes more clear as the story unfolds. Listen to the full version of The Politician's theme song below.
Stevens reached new audiences thanks to several of his tracks being featured in the 2017 romance Call Me By Your Name, and performed his Oscar-nominated song "Mystery of Love" at the 2018 Academy Awards. Stevens' songs have also been featured in TV shows like This Is Us, Big Little Lies, and The OC. The prolific musician has released seven studio albums to date, and debuted two new songs this year: "Love Yourself" and "With My Whole Heart."
In The Politician's opening credits, "Chicago" plays over a montage of a wooden model of Payton being constructed, with all the ingredients of his life inside, before the model finally comes to life. Despite still being in high school, the character has the next 30 years of his life already carefully planned out, and isn't willing to allow anything to throw him off track. Unfortunately for Payton, life is about to throw him a few curveballs.