What happened: Colin Kahl, the Biden administration's under secretary of defense for policy, outed himself as an obnoxious hipster nerd by posting a list of his top 40 albums of 2022, a year in which U.S. national security officials were presumably working hard to address the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Background: Kahl was one of President Joe Biden's most controversial nominees in 2021. His numerous critics cited his role in crafting the Iran nuclear deal, as well as his hyper-partisan demeanor and snarky tweets attacking the GOP as the "party of ethnic cleansing."
Analysis: The critics were right, obviously, but they failed to stop Kahl from being confirmed—a travesty of colossal proportions. The American people would have never allowed his nomination to proceed had they known at the time what an insufferable hipster dork this guy is. Our country grows weaker with each day that Kahl continues to serve in the U.S. national security apparatus.
Case in point: The Washington Free Beacon exclusively reported in November 2021 that Kahl carries a massive man purse, or "murse," like a total psychopath. It's the sort of thing only someone who passionately hates America would ever do.
In his own words: Kahl discussed his top albums of 2022, as well as his side gig DJing weddings and "national security nerd parties," on a recent episode of Early Bird Brief, a podcast for national security nerds.
The self-described "music junkie" struggled to answer host Mike Gruss's question about how he found the time to listen to so many albums and compile a list of his favorites during one of the most hectic years for national security professionals in recent memory.
"I don't know how I have time to listen to it either, but it seems to happen," Kahl said. Music "fills all the space" in his life outside of the "12 or 14 hours a day" he claims to spend working—"mostly on the weekend or when I'm hanging out with my kids."
Kahl also admitted to working as a DJ on the side. "Some think tank friend of mine had a book release party and I would DJ that," he said, "or somebody who is a close friend of mine got married or something I would do that."
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D., Mich.) was one of the close friends who got married and needed a DJ. They "bonded over working on the Iraq problem set" during the Obama administration, Kahl said, and he flew directly to Michigan from Baghdad to perform at her 2011 wedding. Slotkin recently announced she's getting divorced.
Nerd alert: "People who know me understand that I'm kind of fractal layers of nerd," Kahl said. "I'm nerd all the way down. I'm nerd in all the ways. I'm obviously a policy wonk, I'm an academic, but also a music nerd."
Sources tell the Free Beacon that Kahl is also the kind of obnoxious nerd who rides a bicycle to work. (See also: Pete Buttigieg.) "I don't tend to drive myself into work," he said on the podcast, ominously.
Bottom line: The Free Beacon declines to comment on Kahl's alleged taste in music. We hope he's just faking it to seem cool and edgy. There are some interesting tracks on the albums he listed, such as "Oh Caroline" by The 1975, in which Matthew Healy croons about his aversion to "getting cucked."
(Note: The 1975's previous album, Sex, includes a poignant song, "You," examining the Chappaquiddick tragedy from Ted Kennedy's perspective: "And you're a liar / At least all of your friends are / And so am I / Just typically drowned in my car.")
The most popular song on Kahl's top album of 2022—Sometimes, Forever by Soccer Mommy—has an interesting chorus. "So whenever you want me I'll be around," yearns Nashville-based singer Sophie Allison, "I'm a bullet in a shotgun waiting to sound." (Fact check: Shotguns don't fire bullets.)
We're pretty sure we know the reason why he ranked renforshort's dear amelia as the second-best album of last year.
Here's the whole list: