July 6th, 2013


(no subject)

Esquire recently put together a playlist called "Best Songs About the 50 States" (if you have Spotify, you can see the whole list here) and there are some problems with it. Not just "I like 'Mississippi' by Sheryl Crow more than 'Mississippi Mud' by Hank Williams III" problems, but real problems that fundamentally undermine the premise of the list. To wit:

The state: Kansas
The song: "Kansas City" by Albert King
The problem: There is a Kansas City, Kansas, but the song is about Kansas City, Missouri. You can tell because the lyrics refer to 12th Street and Vine, which is a real intersection in the Missouri city.
The better choice: "Kansas Rain" by John Stewart

The state: Maryland
The song: "Chuck Baby (Baltimore Club Remix)" by Chuck Brown
The problem: There's nothing in the lyrics to suggest it's about or set in Baltimore. Indeed, since Chuck Brown is the quintessential D.C. funk artist, any song about him cruising the street picking up shorties is certain to be set in Washington.
The better choice: "Blue Skies Over Dundalk" by Mary Prankster

The state: New Mexico
The song: "Turquoise House" by Jim White
The problem: No evidence from the lyrics that it's about or set in New Mexico. Esquire's rationale is that there are turquoise houses there. Pink ones too, so why not the John Mellancamp song about those?
The better choice: "New Mexico" by Johnny Cash

The state: Washington
The song: "Louie Louie" by University of Washington Husky Marching Band
The problem: I will grant that "Louie Louie" became a hit in Seattle before it was a hit elsewhere, and there was that joke resolution introduced in the Washington legislature to make it the state song, but neither one or both combined makes it about Washington.
The better choice: "Seattle" by Bobby Sherman