Halftime Leisure

The Weekly List: NJ is Cool Too

April 11, 2016

Recent years of pop culture have not been kind to New Jersey. I personally blame The Jersey Shore, for shining a grotesque spotlight on an unfortunate subculture prevalent in my home state. The reputation for the Garden State tumbled from there forward. However, it was not always this way. New Jersey was the home of greats like Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen. In defense of New Jersey, Halftime brings you the Weekly List: NJ is Cool Too.

1. “Witchcraft” – Frank Sinatra

New Jersey’s true pride and joy, Old Blue Eyes. One of our greatest redeeming qualities. The Hoboken-born crooner’s memorable voice can bring a smile to the face of any listener.

2. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” – Frankie Valli

Another one of the most famous singers of the big-band era hails from the Garden State.  This iconic proclamation of love features belting vocals and the rich backing music of an entire horn section.

3. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” – Whitney Houston

Moving on to more modern music, I cannot leave Whitney Houston out of this homage. I do not know how to describe this song in any words besides dancey and purely fun. Whitney’s strong voice is an added bonus to this anthem for all singles

4. “Heart of Glass” – Blondie

Blondie, especially through this track, converged the punk and new wave genres into a pop-ish, mass appealing style that brought a style of music into the public eye.

5. “Doo Wop (That Thing)” – Ms. Lauryn Hill

Lauryn, please bless us with another album. Her song embodies a revival of soul,incorporating jazz, reggae, and rap. Through her deep, gritty voice Hill preaches a message of self-worth.

6. “Born in the U.S.A.” – Bruce Springsteen

This unspoken anthem of the fourth of July has quickly become a vital part of American culture. The Boss embodies the charm of blue-collar America far better than Bob Dylan ever did. Who can deny the classic, Americana image of a red baseball cap sticking out of the back pocket of blue jeans?

7. “Lovebug” – Jonas Brothers

Yep. We’ve got them too.

8. “Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes” – Paul Simon

Although hailing from my home state, Simon’s music is truly reflective of world culture. After traveling to apartheid-era Cape Town, he recorded this track with the South African men’s choir, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Simon’s gentle voice blends perfectly with African-influenced drumming and these beautiful supporting voices.

Michael Bergin
Mike Bergin is the former executive culture Editor for the Georgetown Voice. You can follow him on Twitter @mbergin95

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