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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
There are Top 40 songs that I loved as a child of the 80s, scorned as a teenager of the 90s, and rekindled my love for as an old person of the Aughts.
In no particular order, here are a list of awesome 80s songs that made an impact on my little life.
Belinda Carlisle – I Get Weak
Mark my words: I will cover this.
this is the 12″ version since, alas, all the official videos have “embedding disabled by request”. LAME
Milli Vanilli – Baby Don’t Forget My Number
I never liked New Kids, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, yet I was obsessed with Milli Vanilli. When the news broke in 1990 that they didn’t sing their own songs, I wasn’t thrown off. I could care less about the men of MV – I was all about the music, man. My sister and I even made my dad tape various MV television appearances, including on the show Sister Kate. I still have my Milli Vanilli cassette tape. Love is stronger than thunder.
Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam – Head to Toe
I remember being super annoyed with Lisa Lisa’s voice so I would sing loudly over her. Her voice still sounds super annoying to my older ears. Still rad, though.
Journey – pretty much every song they ever did with Steve Perry
I went through an I-hate-Journey-with-every-beat-of-my-heart phase from about 11 until maybe 19. I have no real explaination, I was just an angry teen who was disgusted by most things. Thankfully, I came out of that stage to come back to the sweet, sweet mullet sounds of Don’t Stop Believing, Faithfully, Any Way You Want It, and it goes on and on and on and on. . . .
Klymaxx – Meeting in the Ladies Room
I was most definitely a product of MTV. Unfortunately, we can never again capture the first decade of music televsion. But you can always youtube the 80s and Klymaxx exemplified the 80s.
ps No, I did not get the references at age 6. I just liked the jam, yo.
I encourage all of you to look up the music video for this – youtube has disabled embedding for the official video (thanks Universal – jerks).
Terence Trent d’Arby – Wishing Well
Holy shit this song is amazing. Plus, Terence was so darn pretty.
Paul Young – Every Time You Go Away
I only vaguely remember this video, but listening to this wonderful drivel in my dad’s Ford Pinto seems like yesterday. I recall my dad disliking this song. However, he would indulge his *favorite* daughter (see Milli Vanilli above).
Taylor Dayne – Tell It To My Heart
My 15-year-old self would vomit if she knew I was admitting to loving crappy eurotrash I thought was hot shite when I was 7. B-o-o-h-o-o teenage Rita.
Stay tuned for more soul crushingly bad 80s songs that rocked my young self (and therefore rock me now).