List of the Day - Archives

Five Songs For Florida

List Of The Day

For a state with so much natural people and allure--weather, people, beaches--it doesn't have many great tunes aimed at it. And the people who do pen tunes about the place don't seem to be enjoying it very much. I could see if it was all the old retirees writing songs. The ravages of old age are bound to get anyone down no matter how much quality shuffleboard you can handle. Maybe it's the alligators' fault.

"Florida"--Vic Chesnutt: See, this is what I mean. This is a painful piano lament and tribute to a friend of Vic Chesnutt's who killed himself with a nail gun. ("Hit those nails on the head," sings Vic). Now, Chesnutt sees his buddy's suicide as a moment of self-determination and he applauds a man for doing what he wants even if what he wants is to be dead. Well, alright! That's going to get the crowd moving!  Yeah, rock away! I came here to have coconut oil rubbed all over me and this is what I get?

"Floridays"--Jimmy Buffett: Again, the bylaws of Florida insist that Jimmy Buffett must be mentioned in any and all features on Florida and its fine, fine residents. Buffett owns half the state by default. He's saving up to buy the other half.

"Bad Florida"--Tim Easton: Coming from an album where he's backed by member of Wilco, "Bad Florida" was bound to be a huge hit except people don't buy songs about Florida. I don't know why. But it's true. Otherwise this tune would've been massive. Or maybe not.

"Florida Time"--Bob Seger: It's been said that if you grow up in Florida you will grow up to be a very weird person who nestles up in the garage for long periods of time. But what would Bob Seger know of such things--considering he's from Michigan and it's said that people who spend their formative years there will be similarly screwed up? These are people who move to, say, California, and don't even realize they're really living there until about ten years have passed and suddenly it's "Oh, yeah, I'm not where I used to be. Huh? How'd that happen?" These people often forget to wear pants.

"Tallahassee"--The Mountain Goats: This is the title track to an entire album about a couple who drink themselves to death in Florida. Considering I'm writing this in February when it's still mighty cold outside and the people of Florida are not similarly suffering, I find it hard to believe that the sunshine would inspire anyone to such destructive tendencies. But maybe the sun is more evil than I was led to believe. I see so little of it. I guess I don't really know.

View Comments