50 States of Song Part 5: South Dakota to Wyoming

Categories: Whatever

When I was in third grade I learned all 50 states in alphabetical order thanks to a catchy tune. Now I'm hoping to stick that bit of trivia in your head just in time for the new school year by celebrating each state with an appropriate song.


Magic Man, "South Dakota"
Magic Man is part of this new wave of synth-poppy goodness that's been showing up here in Houston and a few other places you'd least expect. Ellie Goulding just asked them to do a remix, so they've clearly got the chops. The band tends towards place-name songs, and does a fair job of it. "South Dakota" is about a yearning for freedom, which comes across in every boop and beep.


Secret Sisters, "Tennessee Me":
A strong second on the crappy-pun department after Missouri, Tennessee at least has the excellence of the Secret Sisters keeping traditional country alive and kicking. It's music that makes you feel right at home, and Laura and Lydia just kill every single note. Prettier songs cannot be found.

REWIND: 50 States of Song Part 4: New Mexico to South Carolina


Nina Persson & Nathan Larson, "The Bluest Eyes In Texas":
I agonized over what I should pick for my own home, but in the end this song will never be beaten for me. I'll never forget hearing it after watching Brandon Teena get murdered in Boys Don't Cry, and for maybe the first time realizing just how powerful a piece of music can be in the realm of film.

Since then, it's more or less always playing in the back of my head during these hard and intolerant times, a broken-hearted pulse that never quite lets go.


Camper Van Beethoven, "History of Utah"

I've never been entirely clear on whether this song was a metaphor of the founding of the Mormon church or just some strange bit of surreal storytelling by David Lowery. The answer is probably somewhere in between. It's the perfect split-personality tune to celebrate a state that mixes staunch conservatism with a flashy and vibrant underground.

REWIND: 50 States of Song Part 3: Massachusetts to New Jersey

More fun with states on the next page.

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