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Ah, New York. My hometown, my lover, my absolute enemy. New York will be the death of me, I’m sure, but I just can’t let go. Maybe it would be easier to leave if I didn’t grow up in New York’s shadow, taunting me to try to survive on my own, laughing at my misfortune, turning a blind eye to my achievements. There are many reasons so many artists pay tribute to this beast. Here’s a few to get you started:
Van Morrison – Glad Tidings
We send you glad tidings from New York!
PJ Harvey – You Said Something
Justin and I covered this song, just so you know.
There are two other New York songs on that album that Justin wrote (Central Park Resevoir and Dirty New Amsterdam). Ch-ch-check it out!
Luscious Jackson – City Song
“When I’m about to go crazy/ Cuz I’m still living here/ I just get my friends together/ And dance dance dance”.
A couple years ago, Bryan and I ran into LJ bassist Gabby Glaser on Ludlow. Without thinking, B goes “hey Gabby” and then she talked to us for a while thinking she knew Bryan. It was awesome.
Bob Dylan – Talkin’ New York
Dylan has a lot of songs that reference New York. I chose this one because he talks about coming to New York and then finally escaping it.
Here’s a WBAI New York “your peace and jusice community radio station” interview from 1962:
De La Soul – um, every song
Such a quintessential New York band, Long Island born and bred. Grooves to make you feel good, even when this town brings you down.
Beastie Boys – Open Letter to New York
This song makes me appreciate the pretty and gritty city.
ps I almost put “Hold It Now Hit It” simply because I find the video hilarious. “I live in Manhattan/ But I’m not a bum”. Gah, I wish I had been old enough to hang out with the Boys in the 80s.
The Pogues – Fairy Tale in New York
Classic Irish ditty with twisted lyrics. Best to sing while sloppy drunk and slightly angry.
KRS-One – 5 Boroughs
This song might be called 5 Boroughs, but he also name checks towns on Long Island. Holla!
Company Flow – Vital Nerve
“New York is number one today!”
Underground hip-hop at its finest.
Project Jenny Project Jan – Brooklyn
These guys are hilarious. Also check out their song “Negative”.
Steely Dan – Hey Nineteen
Steely Dan brings me back to childhood, the beach, riding in the car with my oldest brother when he first got his license. Basically growing up in Stony Brook, Long Island. Why this particular song gets picked for the New York mix: “Moved down to Scarsdale/ Where the hell am I?”
Rufus Wainwright – 14th Street
So full of feeling, makes me want to stroll the streets listening to Rufus, his piano and the sweet sounds of his backing chorus.
Mercury Rev – Empire State
Hearing this epic song in concert becomes a religious experience. For reals. I don’t need church with Mercury Rev.
Billy Joel – New York State of Mind
Hell’s yeah this song makes the list. This song makes me pause and tear up. Damn you New York.
Sesame Street – Subway
Any mix to get ya’ll in the mood needs to ebb and flow. Start off relaxed, fun, take it up a few notches and then bring it on down.
Bob Dylan – I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
Kick things off with one of the few people who can turn me on with a harmonica.
Queens of the Stone Age – Make It Wit Chu
The softer side of Josh Homme.
Steve Westfield – I’ll Take Your Clothes Off
To the point and sang simply over acoustic guitar and flute.
Janet Jackson – Any Time Any Place
Apparently, Janet has no hang ups about where to, uh, get it on. Let this song inspire you. . . just please no dirty mattress on a Park Slope sidewalk. It’s been done: http://gawker.com/news/sex/brazen-brooklyn-boffers-too-blotto-to-boink-122475.php
Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On
This classic needs no explaination.
INXS – Not Enough Time
I can’t help myself. Michael Hutchence’s voice oozes the sex.
“Not enough time for every kiss/ And every touch and all the nights.”
Giustino Petrone – Turn Me On
Well, I sing on this song, so. . . what’s hotter than listening to yourself sing?
studio version: http://www.giustinopetrone.com/iheard.html
live version: http://www.giustinopetrone.com/dirrrty.html
Prince – Kiss
There are dozens of suitable getting-it-on songs from this pint sized purveyor of brilliantly crafted pop songs, but Kiss is the only Prince song that I simply can’t just listen to – I must move when this is played. How I move depends on who’s in the room.
Air – Venus
You’re all worked up, time to bring it home with the sensual sounds of Air.
Also see: Cherry Blossom Girl
Cocteau Twins – Lorelei
Beautiful and heavy Scottish accents. The indecipherable lyrics means you can concentrate on, ahem, more important matters at hand.
Al Green – Simply Beautiful
Mazzy Star – Fade Into You
Of course I ended with this song.
In alphabetical order:
Driving down a winding country road, putting more distance between you and your lover, contemplating all the good and all the gut wrenchingly bad aspects of this love. Let it go, let it fade away, your heart will be fine. Better than fine. And once you’ve found the proper distance from the supposed One, you can reminese fondly and then let it go.
Baby Let Me Follow You Down
“Can I come home with you?”
Yes, 1964 Bob Dylan. You most definitely can follow me down.
Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right
Such a great kiss off song.
PS: Mike Ness does a great cover.
I Shall Be Released
This song gives me shivers.
This video makes me wish I was both alive and old enough in 1976 to have gone to the Band’s Last Waltz and hang out with, well, all these people:
It Ain’t Me, Babe
Dylan tells it straight, you’re looking in the wrong place.
It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
My first exposure to rap:
“Money doesn’t talk/ It swears/ Obsenity, who really cares/ Propoganda, all is phony”
Lay Lady Lay
One of the sexiest songs ever written.
“His clothes are dirty/ But his hands are clean/ And you’re the best thing/ That he’s ever seen”
Positively 4th Street
The ultimate song for backstabbers, fakers, and frenemies.
“I wish that for just one time/ You could stand inside my shoes/ You’d know what a drag it is/ To see you”
Queen Jane Approximately
Falling from grace leads you to the beggers and thiefs. And boy do they have much more fun.
Simple Twist of Fate
Curse the heavens, kick the ground, life takes us in confusing directions.
Thank the stars, kiss a stranger, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Subterranean Homesick Blues
Sums up the 60s (to this young mind). Plus, it’s upbeat, catchy, and has crazy harmonica.
Sweet and sad and oh so personal. Dylan’s songwriting at its best.
You’re a Big Girl Now
All I’m gonna say is this is one of my favorite songs to make out to.
(Okay, so this list actually goes to thirteen.)