California State of Mind

I haven’t blogged in awhile about music but it’s a constant in my daily life.  My kids have ruminated on (and rued) their upbringing to the sonic liltings of The Pogues, bawdy sea shanties, and a wide variety of world, ska, punk, classic rock, and classical music.  Recently, I’ve gotten back into collecting vinyl LPs but have been a regular visitor of our public library’s Freegal site, grabbing albums to help … broaden … my own musical tastes:  Sing Along with Skankin’ Pickle, Traditional Music and Throat Singing of Tuva (as recommended by The Economist), among others.  Between the free music and the paid downloads, it’s a pretty esoteric collection.

So I was surprised that, over the past year, songs about California have popped up so regularly among the artists I listen to.

First, the most obvious and recent.  Blink-182’s new album is not only called California and has a song of the same name, but has also songs called Los Angeles and San Diego.  My favorite is Cynical – give it until at least 0:30.

It’s a great album, if much tamer than Enema of the State and with less puerile lyrics.  It got me to finally grab the Descendents’ Milo Goes to College.

But the first of this recent batch of nods to the Left Coast that I heard was Grime’s 2015 album Art Angels, with California.  I prefer Venus Fly – with the incredible Janelle Monae featuring (“why you looking at me” has become a regular family riff) – but the whole album is excellent.

Lissie has moved back east from California and her latest album has a number of songs about that.  My Wild West is superb, although I like songs from all three of her albums.  Her songs Hollywood and Ojai both touch on California.  I like the upbeat of Don’t You Give Up on Me.

This is all a bit of navel gazing but it surprised me that, considering the variety of music I come across in a year, that more than a couple of singers would be touching on California.  It’s a popular topic for musicians, I suppose.

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