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How Would They Feel About This Modern City Life: The 52 State Pick-Up Mix, Part 8

November 6, 2010

We’ve come so far in this roadtrip mixtape but we’re not done yet!  I started with Vermont and Massachusetts, went down to the Deep South of LouisianaArkansasMississippi, Alabama and Georgia, came up through the mountains and rivers of the Carolinas, West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky, stopped to remix New York, California, Virginia, Tennessee, and Arizona,  dropped back down into the Great Plains for Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Iowa, headed west to find the Dakotas, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, then took a tour of the midwest with Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

If we followed C. Etzel Pearcy's suggestions, I'd be done with this mixtape now.

So, most weeks I’ve arranged by region (with the exception of the hip-hop section), but today I put all the “new” states together: New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii.   This mix also features a couple dedications to Fry Butter commenters.  This first song and state goes out to thepants!

New Mexico

Some DJs plan out their whole set ahead of time, others never plan a thing.  I’m about 2/3 the latter, I like to let the sets to be organic to the energy of the moment, but sometimes my editor self wishes I could get a re-do, for when the great idea comes AFTER the moment.  In this case, I would probably have put Ludacris’s Georgia song in to the hip-hop set and taken out Arrested Development, instead giving the state of Tennessee to Johnny Cash for Tennessee Stud.  But, I didn’t.  And I can’t have an American mix with no Johnny Cash.  So, with apologies to thepants (that Jill Sobule song is good too!), but hey, the up-side is that the Land of Enchantment (yes, that’s their slogan!) gets Johnny Cash.

New Jersey

No, that’s not Bruce Springsteen’s version.  Yes, his is more famous and it seems like a Springsteen tune, but it’s not, it was written by the brilliant dark scamp Mr. Waits about his wife in New Jersey.  There are actually a good number of Garden State songs that sing the praises (or simply acknowledges) the stereotypes of Jersey girls, but I like this one for not having that.  I got no problem with big hair, I’ve just witnessed north v. south jersey fights and I want no part of it.  Let’s just instead all marvel that Tom Waits put “sha-la-la” in a song and sells it.

New Hampshire

The Granite State needs a ROCK SONG.  Luckily they have one with the band Scissorfight who reps the state as well as ____core (I am afraid to fill in the blank and get it wrong) music.  Obviously this is not my genre of expertise, but I can still appreciate some loud crunchy guitars and heavy metal drumming at times.  I had no idea that the state was so rough!  And the pairing of picturesque New Hampshire scenery cracks me up while he name checks all the places he’s gotten stitches, assault charges and put steel-toed boots up someone’s a$$.   I dedicate this song to Amy Nicole Miller, because they named their band after her favorite lesbian sex act.


“I’m on the road to Alaska, no it ain’t Nebraska, but I’m sure if I don’t ask her she’ll know”.   I know, I know, it hardly mentions anything specific about The Last Frontier, there’s no talk of snow or moose or oil, in fact it’s primarily just picked for the word play aspect.  But this song is my jam!  And I want to drive to Alaska just so I can put this on a list and hear it every hour!  I wish there was a better video to go with it, Robin seems to be having a hard time hearing himself while singing, but Barry shows off his rock and roll skills on the electric guitar, as well as his Pantene-worthy hair.


Hawaii is our newest state, the 50th, and the birthplace of our current president, so perhaps sometime in the future, us here on the mainland might get educated on the the Aloha State beyond just simply the term “aloha” (or Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii….or as the set of LOST).    This song Hawaii ’78, about sadness for how ancestors would perceive the current situation in Hawaii, was made famous by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole aka Bruddah Iz, whose voice you’ve probably heard in various movies and TV projects, including his version of Over the Rainbow which blew up in the 90s.   Sadly, his great voice and inventive ukulele are gone, he died in 1997, before getting a chance to see the explosion of ukulele covers on youtube that he helped inspire.  This song goes out to Kawika – I hope I did right by Hawaii.


What songs did I miss? Are there other re-dos I should consider before I get all the way to the end?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. angie permalink
    November 6, 2010 3:30 pm

    i hope maile sees this! xoxoxo!

  2. November 6, 2010 3:31 pm

    IZ… sigh.

  3. November 6, 2010 3:44 pm

    @angie: oh yes! I will go harass her with this link.

    @noriko: writing this post has me listening to him all day. what a voice!

  4. November 6, 2010 8:45 pm

    BeeGees again! Oh, Raymond, this was all kinds of awesome.

  5. Maile permalink
    November 6, 2010 8:48 pm

    You can’t ever do wrong by Hawai’i with Bruddah Iz. Thanks for your post, ray, and for “harassing me”! I like the other songs too.

    I was thinking about what other songs you could add for Hawai’i. The song, Country Road, by Paula Fuga seemed appropriate to a road trip mix. Paula was on American Idol a while back, and she also happens to be good friends with my cousin, so I’ve had the pleasure of hearing her sing at backyard parties. She’s awesome.

    Here is the youtube link:

  6. Q.V. permalink
    November 6, 2010 11:30 pm

    I was so curious about what would come up for Alaska, mostly because I would have nothing to contribute on the topic of state-inspired song. Nothing!

  7. thepants permalink
    November 7, 2010 1:26 am

    Oh thanks! I’m really touched…
    The Johnny Cash is pretty much the only way to go with New Mexico. We have lots of songs about our cites but not many (non-cheesy) ones about the whole state.
    I really love this series and you’ve introduced me to some excellent music so thanks.
    (just so you all know my part of the “god forsaken country they call New Mexico” will be enjoying “winter” weather of 69 degrees tomorrow!)

  8. Jillamina permalink
    November 7, 2010 8:35 am

    I haven’t even read/listened to the music part of this blog–I’m stuck at the map. That map! You sure know the way to a geography nerd’s heart.

  9. November 7, 2010 1:06 pm

    @Q.V. I’m glad I could surprise you with Alaska! There were other choices, but I can’t remember them now since none of them were really a close runner up to BEE GEES.

    @thepants: thank YOU for following along. and seeing as I put on thermal underwear for the first time today, I am jealous about your New Mexico.

    @Jillamina: I had a feeling you would geek out about it as much as I did…probably more!

  10. November 7, 2010 8:53 pm

    YES! Scissorfight! A slightly different perspective on scissoring than the band, Scissor Sisters, but equally hilarious. What a strange song to represent a state. NH is weird.
    BTW, this grouping is hilarious. “New” states, including Hawaii and Alaska.

  11. November 7, 2010 11:09 pm

    @amy: I’m glad you appreciate my creative grouping! It seemed better than having one week at the end that is clearly “the remainders”.

  12. evmaroon permalink
    November 9, 2010 3:28 am

    I’m only very mildly offended that you think of Jersey as the state with big hair, but I came of age in the 1980s, so I can’t argue with you. I also can’t think of a song that is wholly New Jersey, because anything from the 17 years I lived there reminds me of the state, though I’ll say the sensation is intensified when Journey, Guns & Roses, Springsteen, The Ramones, or Mellancamp is playing. Those are quintessential NJ to me.

  13. hsofia permalink
    November 28, 2010 3:23 pm

    That Paula Fuga clip is great! I saw her on American Idol a while ago, but didn’t realize she had an album.


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