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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