The 411 Music Top Five 09.10.13: The Top 5 Songs Named After Places
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 09.10.2013
From N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton" and Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" to KISS' "Detroit Rock City," Van Halen's "Panama" and more, the 411 staff counts down their top 5 songs named after real places!
THE TOP 5 SONGS NAMED AFTER PLACES
Criteria: With our last Top 5 looking the top 5 songs named after people, this time we were looking at songs named after places. Only real places on Earth were eligible for our lists.
5. X - "Los Angeles"
This is a song that I first heard on Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (which has one of the best soundtracks ever), it stuck with me immediately, it was punk that was pretty accessible and I loved it (especially at the time, where I wasn't much of a metalhead, either...yeah, imagine that). It has a really catchy section of call and response with the uttering of GET OUT being tossed back and forth, and it'll leave you calliing it back and forth to yourself due to pure catchiness! A fun one time listen at least.
4. Van Halen - "Panama"
Another song that gets in because it randomly pops into my head (the last song does that as well with the GET OUT section), mainly because I can't stop singing PANAMA at the most odd of times. This song is classic Van Halen, a fun riff that sticks with you, and Diamond Dave doing his best Diamond Dave. Wrap this in a package with a fun video,and we have a winner. Bonus points go to the awesome solo at the end!
3. The Beastie Boys - "No Sleep Till Brooklyn"
I want to start this by saying that every time this song starts, I keep expecting the F.B.I. to break down my door, call me a nerd. But anyways, the song, it's pretty simple, at least riff wise, just a repeating riff that stops and starts between verses, and then we get Kerry King's soloing skills on display towards the end. He is a weird fit when The Beastie Boys, but I guess he's a fit nonetheless! This song is pretty cool, and will always be rocking 8 days a week!
2. Into Eternity - "Fukushima"
It doesn't take a genius to know what this song is about, it's a tribute to the people of Japan and how they have rebuilt their lives and overcome the awful tragedy that happened at the Fukushimma Nuclear Facility. The song itself is Into Eternity personified, the awesome vocals of Stu Block mixed with a good balance of melody and progressive style. I love this band, so you should all at least give this song a go, if not at least for the amazing solo towards the end.
1. KISS - "Detroit Rock City"
This one is the first song that I thought of when I started this list, no doubts about that. I'm pretty sure we all know what it's about, right? It's about (a true story, by the way, or at least inspired by said true story) two fans who are on their way to a Kiss concert, and yeah, they die along the way. The song itself is pretty awesome, with a great intro full of bass and groove, and the rest of the song is KISS at their height, with plenty of solid work and catchy hooks to keep you coming back.
Honorable Mention: The Doors - "L.A. Woman," Joy Division - "Warsaw," Frank Sinatra - "New York, New York," Simon and Garfunkel - "Scarborough Fair," Johnny Cash - "Folsom Prison Blues"
5. Beastie Boys - "No Sleep Til Brooklyn"
You gotta give it up for the Beasties. The Brooklyn Boys were one of the most distinctive groups to come out of the New York City bourough's burgeoning rap scene and one of their biggest and greatest hits was this ode to their hometown. This was one of the tracks that helped turn Licensed to Ill into a landmark album on so many levels. The rock elements gave this an incredibly distinctive sound and the infectious sound made it not only a must-listen to track for the group but an encapsulation of Brooklyn attitude. It doesn't hurt that the guitar riffs were delivered by Slayer guitarist Kerry King of all people, making the song just that much cooler.
4. Bruce Springsteen - "Streets of Philadelphia"
One of the most painful parts of doing up my Top 8 Bruce Springsteen songs back in July was leaving this song off the list. This is one of my favorite tracks of his; it's one of the "older, wiser" style Springsteen songs and his voice carries an incredibly good weary tone while the lyrics capture the essence of the film it was written for, Philadelphia. The song has an unbelievably evocative sound and it received a deserved Oscar for Best Original Song. Listening to this song you get a sense of what Philadelphia truly means to the artist and the "City of Brotherly Love" theme is woven throughout without directly making a pun about it the way that lesser artists might. A truly beautiful piece of work.
3. The Beatles - "Back in the USSR"
The Beatles have no shortage of tracks named after locations, but this is my favorite. This opening track on the band's famous White Album tells the story of a flight from Miami Beach in the US "back to" the Soviet Union, where the singler proclaims that "the Ukraine girls really knock me out." Paul McCartney has said that he knew very little about the Soviet Union when he wrote the song and that it was intended to be a parody of the Beach Boys' "Back in the USA" which you can absolutely hear throughout the piece. Of course people from both sides of the political spectrum flipped out over the song and declared the group to be "pro-Soviet," which was not a label to be slapped with in 1968. Still, in retrospect it's a hell of a fun song and its original intent holds true to make it pretty brilliant.
2. N.W.A. - "Straight Outta Compton"
Lots of rap groups represent for the neighborhoods that they came from, but none did it in such an incindiary way as N.W.A. With "Straight Outta Compton," the debut track from the group's debut album, the Los Angelinos made an immediate bombshell statement about who they where and where they were going (and, obviously, where they came from). This is a song that helped to completely redefine the direction of rap and hip-hop and put America on notice that had been coming for a whie: it was time to very seriously pay attention to this genre because it was invading every home in the country.
1. The Clash - "London Calling"
"London Calling" is such an important song for so many reasons. Let's start off with the fact that it essentially introduced a new sounding Clash to the world, adding reggae elements and generally raising the punk group's skill to a new level. But even more significantly it used the nuclear Armageddon that the world seemed to be on the precipice of to takes a hard, uncompromising look at the world of the late 1970s. Lyrics like "London is drowning / And I live by the river" paint a clear image of the group's hometown and I dare say that, other than the fact that we aren't quite as few minutes to midnight as we used to be, it is just as relevant today as itt was in 1979.
The Final Word
As always, the last thoughts come from you, the reader. We're merely unpaid monkeys with typewriters and Wikipedia. Here's what you need to do: List your Top Five for this week's topic on the comment section using the following format:
5. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
4. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
3. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
2. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
1. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it