i'm a cali girl, born and bred, and i can talk about my home state and why i love it until the cows come home. and according to the california dairy board, they're gonna be some haaaaaaappy cows. (you have a stoner voice. apply it there.)
california. it's the promised land. it's god's country. it's governed by the
terminator. it's beautiful. it's full of people trying to escape. it's going to break off in an earthquake and become an island.
it's fucking weird.
i've always felt like there's a giant spiritual sieve for humanity, and everyone who doesn't fit in somewhere else gets shaken to the bottom and ends up in california. ok, so that metaphor didn't work out so well. sue me. (also a california pastime!)
i suppose, then, that's why i love it so. and why there are so many songs on my 'pod that evoke my home state is so many different ways.
what follows is but a sampling of the songs that are my california, through and through. there are many, of course, that didn't make the cut. paradise city. (dude. gnr is so los angeles, it's almost impossible to think about without creating a black hole.) l.a. song. (sorry, beth hart, no whining today!) i remember california. (i have no idea why not. r.e.m. still makes me smile, and i'm not (too) ashamed to admit it.)
even so, i think this list will manage to paint a picture for you, and maybe remind you of why you love a couple of artists... who you might be pretending not to love.
los angeles is burning - bad religion
you could put almost any bad religion song in this list and it would be los angeles to me. however, this is the musical embodiment of one of the great southern california experiences - when half the state is burning and there's ash on your car and areas the size of eastern states are charred to nothingness - when the hills of los angeles are burning. every californian - especially southern - knows it very, very well. orange skies, and weather reports that include such phrases as "hot and smoky." (as a side note, i missed seeing bad religion during namm two years ago because i had brain surgery. i've been resentful ever since: the brain surgery surely could have waited? no?)
california stars - wilco
someone who doesn't now and hasn't ever lived in california put this on a cd for me, thereby completely stealing my heart. woody guthrie's words and wilco's music... well, it's a match made in the central valley, that's for sure. (this is definitely music to listen to while driving down the grapevine.)
do re mi - woody guthrie
woody guthrie wrote so many songs of place. new york, the dust bowl, oregon, the south... he was a consummate wanderer - and i'm always glad for the songs he did about california. somehow, they're a little more clear-thinking than we actually deserved.
seriously. we can all fantasize about living in california. the weather is wonderful. there's space, frontier space, and you can spread out and dig in.
as long as you can pay for it, that is.
hollywood freaks - beck
i'm a tiny bit obsessed with the scientologists. horrified and obsessed. when i learned of beck's scientology love, it caused a serious hiccup in my love for the tiny dirty man from los angeles.
scientology, now, is a california phenomenon. the church of scientology is a major landowner in the county of los angeles - second to the county itself, if some sources are to be believed. (citation? needed!)
but then, after midnite vultures, i also realized that there was nothing he could really do to stop me from loving him. or his music, anyway. so we just don't talk about the believing-in-space-walruses thing, and it works out just fine. because despite the scientology, he's a future-brained, over the top genius with a musical sense that just. won't. quit.
long december - counting crows
i know, i know. we all got rid of all our counting crows music years ago.
or did we?
it's that kind of guilty pop that somehow manages to stay on my pod... even when i feel like smacking myself for having such a weak spot. but there's something about this song - haunting, hopeful - if you think you might come to california... i think you should. (there's a link in case you can't summon up this whole song in your head. but i feel like, given the amount of radio play that song has received over the years, you probably don't need the link.)
californication - red hot chili peppers
oh, flea. oh, anthony. oh, my adolescence.
oh, skateboarding, oh, hackey sack, oh, all the names for maryjane.
you've heard it a hundred thousand times. maybe even literally.
oakland stroke - tower of power
what do you think when you think of oakland? you should look into making it sound a whole lot funkier, methinks. tower of power is the shit. recognize.
hey pretty (remix) - poe
i could (and probably will, at some point) write a whole entry about poe, about the range and strangeness of her music and why you should own, like, three copies of haunted. but if you don't already love her, this quirky, freaky little video should do the trick. the words are from my favorite book in the world, which you should also go out and acquire immediately. then set aside six months to be paranoid.
an honorable mention to a song i can't find on the internet:
mendo - loose change
loose change is another band from ukiah, including one of the boys who went on to be a part of afi. ukiah is the small town that serves as the county seat for where i grew up. in a county roughly the size of connecticut, there are fewer than 100,000 people, probably a quarter of whom are stoned out of their minds at any given moment.
songs about mendocino are awesome. this one is particularly awesome.
now enjoy your pinot grigio and spliff and we can all pretend that none of this ever happened.
2 months ago