Green Monkey Music Project: Geography Pop Quiz

Through that southern music doyenne Beth, I found out about Splotchy’s Green Monkey Music Project. Splotchy recruits fellow bloggers to participate in a weekly mix of songs all focused on a certain topic. This week’s topic was suggested by guest monkey Chris: list 5-7 songs that have a geographic location (street, city, state, country) in the title. For the first time, I threw my blog in the ring, and I got picked to participate! Yee haw! I feel as if I’ve been allowed to sit at the lunch table with the popular kids.

Anyway, you can find a zip file of my song picks here, as well as zip files for the other participants. Some commentary on my song choices follows:

Manhattan Avenue – Nellie McKay
About a year or so ago, another blogger turned me on to Nellie McKay’s delicious voice and witty songs. When you first listen to this song, it sounds like a sweet simple jazz song paying tribute to her neighborhood. Listen to it again, and you discover that she is actually singing about a rundown street in a shitty neighborhood. It just goes to show that you can make anything sound good if you sing it nicely.

Mercy Street – Peter Gabriel
I had to include this eerie song dedicated to American poet Anne Sexton. The title refers to her play as well as a collection of poetry. Whether or not there’s an actual Mercy Street, I don’t know. This is one of my favorite songs by Peter Gabriel.

Lubbock or Leave It – Dixie Chicks
T-Wizzle sent me a copy of Taking the Long Way when I was really having a hard time at my last job. Many of the songs on the album are centered around doing things your own way, even if other people don’t quite understand your motivation. I sang a lot of these songs at the top of my lungs while driving down the freeway. “Lubbock or Leave It” is about the hypocrisy of the Southern towns that “got more churches than trees.”

Going to California – Led Zeppelin
Pops and I have taken several cross-country road trips, and I really cherish the memories of seeing the United States by car. On one of our trips from MD to CA, we visited Inyo National Forest, a huge forest in the eastern Sierra of California. As we were driving through the forest at sunset, I made him play this song in the car. It was such a beautiful accompaniment, I had to pinch myself to keep from crying. Whenever I start taking California’s beauty for granted, I listen to this song.

Blue Savannah – Erasure
When this song came out, my friend Jeannie* was obsessed with it. I had just gotten The Innocents and she kept asking me “Is Blue Savannah on that album?” It drove me nuts. Finally I got the Pop! CD, which did have the song on it, but by that time she’d moved on to some other song.

Lonely Night in Georgia – Marc Broussard
I got into Marc Broussard after his song “Home” was featured on a bonus CD that came in a music issue of Vanity Fair. Most of the other songs on the album are not very notable, but this tune is really lovely and melancholy.

Mississippi – Train
Another slow, melancholy tune from the guys that brought you “Drops of Jupiter” and “Something More”. This song is actually about a girl: “I call her Mississippi/but she don’t flow to me.”

5 thoughts on “Green Monkey Music Project: Geography Pop Quiz

  1. Splotchy says:

    Great descriptions!

    I know some the artists you included, but the only song I have heard before is the Zeppelin one.

    Thanks for turning me onto some new music, and thanks for playing!

  2. Manx says:

    Way back, when my brother would babysit me on the weekends, our tradition was to order Domino’s pizza and crank Led Zeppelin while eating it.

    Even though we mostly listened to Led Zeppelin III, whenever I hear “California”, it makes me think of those times.

    Thanks for my trip down memory lane.

  3. BeckEye says:

    I love Zeppelin. I almost picked “Going to California” for my mix, but figured someone else would choose it. And I was right!

    I’m not a big Train fan, but I do have that album and like “Mississippi,” but “Hopeless” was my favorite.

  4. Moxie says:

    SPLOTCHY: Thanks a lot! I am surprised you didn’t know those songs. Hope ya liked ’em!

    MANX: You are welcome. My main exposure to Led Zeppelin was via the boxed sets when I was in college. To this day I don’t have any of their original albums, just both of the boxed sets.

    BETH: Thanks lady! Yes, I heart Nellie. Do you have her new CD? I need to take a listen to it…

    BUCKEYE: I thought the same thing about that song, too. Sometimes I find the lead singer of Train to be slightly whiny and annoying…but generally good.

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