Opinion
By Séamus Smyth

10. I’m in Miami Bitch – LMAFO

It is as fleeting and inauspicious as they come, but it defines the Miami culture. One doesn’t travel to Miami to visit historic landmarks or absorb an ancient culture, it is a party Mecca and LMAFO embrace this reality. It’s the place where one of sports’ biggest egomaniacs chose to play over his hometown and where Jersey Shore immediately knew they had to visit for their second season. Yelling “I’m in Paris bitch” sounds trashy and rude, while “I’m in Miami bitch,” sounds right at home.

9. New York State of Mind – Nas
This track is so ridiculously grimy, it would take a herd of janitors just to make this song sound remotely polished and radio-ready. It’s Nasty Nas at his finest and is only one of the dozens of shout outs that he would deliver to his home town over his expansive career. Besides his former arch nemesis Jay-Z, no rapper comes close to exploring the dark side of New York the way Nas does. He doesn’t just invite the audience underneath his black hoody, he ducks tapes your mouth and throws you in the back of an old ice cream truck, proceeding to deliver an explicit tour of what sounds like one of the scariest neighbourhoods in America.

8. Calgary – Bon Iver

A man who manages to be taken seriously despite a wild love affair with auto tune, Iver seems capable of achieving success in every relevant genre at the moment. Alberta has been neglected ever since Neil Young made more toasts to the oil-rich province than a drunken father at his daughter’s wedding in the 80s and 90s. Calgary is one of North America’s most affluent and well-designed cities in the continent and Iver conveys this modern appeal brilliantly.

7. Jacksonville – Brandon Flowers

It’s a city where the sun shows no mercy, where to go without sunscreen is to sign up for a week of pain and tomato-like features. Yet, it is also a place of vast country where the Southern charm is still alive and well. Flowers’ makes it no secret that he is incredibly partial to the old-fashioned conduct and mannerisms of the South, dabbling in country and gospel music and now scripting a direct reference to Tennessee. No writer seems more inclined to write about the good ol’ days of America, as Flowers’ continues to evolve in to a crooning cowboy from yester’ year.

6. Amsterdam – Coldplay

It was the sign of what was to come from Coldplay. An assurance that “Yellow,” and “Trouble” were only the beginning of what would become a remarkable career. Coldplay seem to have an unlimited supply of emotionally-driven ballads that can make the coldest heart wince. “Amsterdam” is a lovely city, yet is notorious for its lax laws regarding pot and prostitution. In true Coldplay fashion, they re-insert class into a city deserving of a much more revered reputation.

5. Marching Bands of Manhattan – Death Cab for Cutie

Scrolling through the titles and subjects that Death Cab for Cutie choose to write about, it is clear that nothing can stump these audacious geniuses of writing. They seem driven to never replicate even a simple metaphor as every line is as fresh as cold water running down one’s spine. They could have called the song “Marching Bands of Timbuktu” as the title doesn’t appear to have any significance, yet clearly Manhattan has made an impact on this west coast group for them to pay tribute.

4. London Calling – the Clash

One can only imagine the riot that would fire up as soon as the opening riff was heard at a live show, as this song packs more energy than Mick Jagger in his prime. It is a deeply paranoid description of a historic city that is screaming out to a world to save itself before it’s too late. As London is one of the few cities that could make claim to seeing it all, it’s fitting that it would be the place to initially sound the alarm on our impending doom.

3. Live and Die in L.A – Tupac Shakur
Pac is unquestionably the deepest rapper to live. His subjects are more diverse than ten modern-day rappers combined, and his warm, truthful description of Los Angeles has every element that many could only dream of emulating. The track focuses predominantly on the shootings, the tension between the Bloods and the Crips and the drug dealings, yet every time this track is heard rattling stereo systems in the summertime, one can’t wait to live at least a week in L.A.

2 .One Night in Bangkok – Murray Head
Bangkok is the home of hookers, rancid smells and more hookers. Oh, and it is located in one of the most exotic and visited countries on the planet. Bangkok is where regular Joes go bat-shit crazy, drinking obscene amounts of Red Bull, watching ping pong balls fly out of women’s vaginas and basically existing out of one’s self for an inordinate period of time. “One Night in Bangkok” condenses this experience into one ridiculous, synth-hammering jamboree and chooses to focus strictly on the joys and jollies of Bangkok, Thailand.

1. Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys  

He retired, but came back like Jordan. But while Jordan struggled to resemble his old form, Jay is back collecting championship rings like he never left. If ever there was a city that needed a boost of optimism from one of its chief ambassadors, it’s New York. The city has had a traumatizing past 15 years, but Jay arrives back on the scene like a loyal doctor, always ready to resuscitate his home city when it’s fallen ill. He doesn’t have to continue to show mad love for his city, as Jay truly has become the Beatles’ of hip-hop music, meaning he is globally loved and recognized. The claim that he “made a Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can,” is insanely brilliant because it is true. Kids aren’t rocking the N-Y because they’re down with steroid-abusing A-Rod, or past-his-prime Derek Jeter, they’re doing it because the illest rapper to ever live is rockin’ one on the regular. Jay’s toasting New York while acknowledging Frank Sinatra’s original rendition, but while Sinatra’s version is well past due, Jay’s version will likely remain fresh for the next twenty-plus seasons.

Advertisements