Cities are not perfect, yet it has not deterred Americans from being proud of their city. A 2019 study revealed that 74% of American adults were proud of their city. People love their city for various reasons, e.g., historical landmarks, restaurants, beaches, etc. If you want to feel prouder of your city, why not listen to songs that reference your city? There are hundreds of songs that focus on cities. However, we can only focus on ten songs for now. Is your city represented in this article? Read ahead on these ten best songs about cities to find out.
10. Katy Perry- Waking Up in Vegas (2008)
To no one’s surprise, the song takes place in a casino. However, there is something infectious about this pop rock hit that makes you want to visit an actual casino. Katy’s character and her boyfriend encounter some problems while gambling. She loses her fake ID, which implies she could be underage. Meanwhile, her boyfriend loses the motel key, which is far worse because they will not have a place to sleep. In the music video, it is evident that they have lost their bets. This song serves as a precautionary tale against compulsive gambling. Did you know the United States has a gambling problem? According to Skywood Recovery, nearly 2.6% of the population has a gambling problem.
9. Will Smith- Miami (1998)
Will Smith demonstrates his creativity by talking about bringing the heat. Bringing the heat implies you want to go clubbing, something the South Beach is known for. Also, the line can refer to Miami’s NBA team’s slogan. Furthermore, he expresses his wit with this line, “Party in the city where the heat is on.” We have established the two meanings of the term heat. The third meaning of the line can be in reference to Miami’s constant hot temperatures. The city’s temperatures range from 62°F to 90°F.
8. Marc Corn- Walking in Memphis (1991)
Here is another song that employs words with double meanings. In the first verse, he quotes, “But I’m blue as a boy can be.” The line could refer to his love for blues music since the song talks of him landing in the Delta Blues. Also, the line could indicate his sadness since Marc lost his parents before he became a teenager. Lastly, it could refer to blue-collar. For instance, he is able to book a first-class flight despite doing a blue-collar job.
7. Eminem Ft Danny Brown, Trick Trick, Royce da 5’9, Dej Loaf and Big Sean (2014)- Detroit vs Everybody
If you are a fan of Eminem, you already know how much he likes Detroit. His verse talks about how he would fantasize about getting rich. Interestingly, he affirms that he will not move out of the city even if he becomes wealthy. The song also references a term commonly used by Trick Trick called “No Fly Zone.” He created this term to ban outsiders within the music industry who disrespect the city.
6. Bruce Springsteen- Streets of Philadelphia (1993)
Bruce wrote this song for the 1993 film Philadelphia. The song is, therefore, about a man dying of AIDS. As he looks in the mirror, he realizes how much he has wasted away. To make things worse, no one seems willing to help the man. Stigma was rampant among people with the disease in the 1990s. Some people erroneously believed they would contract the disease after touching a person with the disease.
5. Dropkick Murphys- I’m Shipping Up to Boston (2006)
This song is about an Irish immigrant who moves to Boston during the industrial revolution. The immigrant is a sailor who loses his prosthetic leg after climbing the topsail. He hopes to find one in Boston. Things change for him when he moves to Boston. He is so caught up in the city’s lifestyle that he forgets about his culture. This happens after he becomes financially stable. Although he likes the city, he does what he can to remember his roots.
4. Ja Rule Ft Fat Joe and Jadakiss- New York (2004)
Here is a song where the artists seem proud to be from the city. He also proves that he is from the city by listing what makes New York residents unique. Fat Joe claims New York rappers generally work hard and have a distinct rapping style. Furthermore, the city has produced several rappers thanks to Ruff Ryders Entertainment & D-Block Records.
3. Randy Newman- Baltimore (1977)
Typically, artists reference a city to praise it, but Randy goes in the other direction. He laments about how tough life is in Baltimore. Life is so tough in the city that some people have turned to alcoholism or prostitution. Due to how tough it is, he is looking for a way out of the city. He brings along his siblings to move to a country where the mountain is high.
2. Tim McGraw- Nashville Without You (2013)
Nashville holds a special place in Tim’s heart as long as he is with the person he loves. He claims without her that the city would be dull. He claims it would be just another river town. From the song, we understand it is not always the city that makes you happy. It is the person whom you are with.
1. Wilco- Via Chicago (1999)
In this song, a man seems bitter with someone, probably his lover. He fantasizes about killing her. Before he can do anything drastic, he talks of the wind blowing him back via Chicago. Chicago is a city known for being very windy. In this case, the man is likely talking about something that compelled him to change his mind about being vengeful.
These songs help us understand certain cities better, including our own. Some people could travel to New York just to experience what it is like to live in the city. However, there is a song in this listicle that describes life in the city. When you listen to the song, you will not need to travel to know what it is like.