songs for my cities

Variation on a theme

Certain songs are inextricably connected to the cities I’ve lived in, either because they are about that place, or because I listened to them so much while living there, or because they have a sound that quintessentially belongs to that city, or some combination of all three.

Here are my favorite songs about the cities I’ve called home, whether for a few months or many years:

New York


Here’s why.



Los Angeles

Shortly after I moved to L.A., The O.C. premiered and it became my guilty pleasure. I used to watch it every week with my roommates and we would sing-shout along to the lines of the opening theme song by Phantom Planet: “California here we come, right back where we started from, Californiaaaaaaaaa, here we cuuuuuhhh-ummmmm.” Now whenever I’m about to visit L.A. I listen to this song on the way to the airport, sing-shouting along. Its 100% pertinence – I’m going back to where I started my adult life to the soundtrack of this song – gives me goosebumps every single time.

And I have to include this one, too, which feels SoCal in an almost synesthesiac way.


And for 100% nostalgic reasons:


All of these are clearly very sentimental choices.


No idea why, but every time I hear this song I feel visceral nostalgia for my five year-old self who lived in London. I don’t remember ever hearing it there, but it was released as a single in September, 1985, which is when I was there, so maybe I did hear it and housed it somewhere in my subconscious, to make me teary-eyed at that distinctive guitar riff decades later.

This one is more on-the-nose London appropriate:

And just for good measure, here’s my favorite song that, though not necessarily about my home state (although it very well could be), is by the band I most strongly associate with New Jersey (and whom I adore).

3 thoughts on “songs for my cities

Comments welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s