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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
A soundtrack to the recession needs to include songs of outrage, songs of disgust, songs of utter contempt for our flawed system. Also, depressing times call for depressing songs. Finally, to end it all, songs full of good ol’ American hope and optimism.
Let’s party like it’s 1929!
Merchandise – Fugazi
wake the fuck up people ! one of the most important bands ever. listen up !
“you are not what you own”
Green Power – Quasimoto
quas ! “take all the crumbs and a piece of cornbread”
Money (That’s What I Want) – Barrett Strong
The best things in life are free, so why ruin things with wanting more money, Barrett?
For the Love of Money – O’Jays
from the great voices that brought you “love train” this philly group combined synchronized dance moves with soulful singing.
Greed – Pennywise
pennywise songs address important issues that america needs to deal with. subjects like homelessness (homeless), gun violence (homesick), and greed (greed) are just some of these issues. also see bad religion.
Greedy People – Electric Hippies
R: Catchy, early 90s pop that describes my sentiments exactly.
b: this is my campaign song
This Ain’t Living – G. Love & Special Sauce
b: some people have a place to live … some people
R: Modern, bluesy tune to get you thinking as you walk the streets.
Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out – Janis Joplin
b: ain’t that the truth
R: I still love you.
b: can’t buy me love
R: Yeah, that’s nice. Then again, I also don’t have any money.
Send Me Your Money – Suicidal Tendencies
because i’m down n’ out
You Haven’t Done Nothing – Stevie Wonder
All this talk of reform and nothing to show for it. Except for lavish retreats for crooks, excuse me, executives.
What Do You Do For Money Honey – AC/DC
b: ac/dc rocks there’s no doubt about it
R: I know this is about a prostitute, as in sex for money, but really a whore is a whore, right Wall Street?
Business on Parade – MDC
nothing like the truth and the truth is what you get from MDC … always !
There’s Someone Worse Off – McCarthy
off their “I am a Wallet” album. this is just one of the many from this amazing band that we could’ve picked. see also “we’re all bourgeois now” and “monetaries” read here
Know That – Mos Def featuring Talid Kweli
b: mos def is an all around creative and talented guy. speaking of talented guys, kweli used to be cool. maybe he’d still be if he’d stop doing shows sponsored by KOOL cigarettes and hangin out with that hack common. anyway, this song is good.
R: Say it Mos Def, say it everybody: Fuck the empire.
Change – Fishbone
b: founding fishbone members and virtuoso musicians kendall jones and chris dowd’s acoustic message of hope ends the great album truth and soul.
R: Beautiful. I only wish Angelo sang it.
Love Your Money – Daisy Chainsaw
wow this is an oldie. there was a good video for this. i think maybe i also had it on a mixtape.
We’re Gonna Make It – Little Milton
Turn that sneer into cheer. Listening to this uplifting tune almost makes me forget about my mounting debt. Almost.
ps My favorite part of the video is the girl dancing on the piano.