Ask anyone and they will tell you that being from Texas and being from San Francisco are the most dominant traits of our personalities. Katie says yee-haw unironically. Roman insists on calling San Francisco the City to confuse New Yorkers. One is a seven-by-seven mile peninsula in California and one is a 171 million-acre paradise between Oklahoma and Mexico, but from the Redwood forests to the Gulf stream waters, our regional pride is unwavering. We hope you enjoy this playlist that captures the essence of the places we call home.
The Mowglis – “San Francisco”
While it may be the song that I think of first when considering songs about my hometown, San Francisco really truly only appears one time in the whole song. However the chorus of feeling the love symbolizes the free and easy going nature of many San Franciscans and how they treat others.
E-40 – “Niner Gang”
Ah yes, a contemporary classic. Released on Dec. 18 2019, this has become the official anthem of the 49ers run to the NFL playoffs this season. Ok, maybe this doesn’t really count as a song, but Bay Area denizens love their sports, and when local legend E-40 puts out new music, you listen.
Santana – “Oye Como Va”
Speaking of local legends, Carlos Santana was born in Mexico, but moved to San Francisco at a young age. I argue he is the best guitarist of all time, but I also grew up listening to him in my house. This song always reminds me of my abuelito’s house in San Francisco’s Mission District, before it was hit hard by gentrification.
Keane – “Sea Fog”
Ok, this song has nothing explicitly to do with San Francisco, but fog is one of the most dominant characteristics here, so it works. This song is hauntingly beautiful, just like the fog which comes up from the bay and blankets the city, sometimes so thick that you cannot see across the street. In SF, fog is inevitable, and, as this song says, so is life.
Journey – “Lights”
“When the lights go down in the City. And the sun shines on the bay.” In my mind’s eye, I see myself at the end of a Giants home game when they play this over the loudspeakers after a victory. I pull my loved ones close and sing along. Perfect.
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) – “Watchdog Report/Texas Has a Whorehouse in it”
I know the title is a lot, and there’s definitely something to unpack here, but if you’ve actually seen the musical, it’s less off-putting than it appears at first glance. This movie was a favorite of my childhood. Dolly Parton playing Mona, a beloved community figure, running a long-operating brothel in La Grange, Texas? Classic (and based off a true story!). In this irritatingly pious but also catchy tune, nosey and judgemental television reporter Melvin P. Thorpe describes the “filthy dark details and carnal lust” of Mona’s business. Texas has a whorehouse in it, indeed, and it seems like a pretty good time.
Bowling For Soup – “Ohio (Come Back to Texas)”
North Texas legends Bowling For Soup belong on any playlist about my homeland. Fun fact: I once served one of the band’s members at the Walgreens I worked at in high school, and I was too starstruck to thank them for creating this banger about a lover who says she’s going to the bank, but then runs off to Ohio with some other guy. As they so eloquently say, “Troy Aikman wants you back/Willie Nelson wants you back/NASA wants you back/And the Bush twins want you back/And Pantero wants you back/And Bluebell wants you back.” How can you resist the Lone Star state with yeehaw legends like these imploring you to return?
Little Texas – “God Blessed Texas”
Little Texas lead guitarist Porter Howell and lead vocalist Tim Rushlow actually started playing together in Arlington, Texas, which is the city where yours truly is currently writing this list. This track truly solidifies Texas as anointed by God, which is something that I’ve been saying for years. No one has as much state pride as Texas, and the divine affirms our arrogance.
Selena – “Amor Prohibido”
If y’all thought I’d make a Texas-themed playlist without the queen of Tejano music, you are George W. Bush-levels of incorrect (and he’s one of the most frequently wrong Texans of all time). In her short life, Selena made a lot of great music, but “Amor Prohibido” is one of my favorites, even though I speak very little Spanish and “Oh, oh, baby” is the only line I could understand as a kid. Selena was one of the very best Texas had to offer, and 100% deserves a weekly list of her own.
Beyoncé – “***Flawless”
Miss Third Ward is from Houston, and even if Dallas and Houston have beef sometimes, I must pay credit where it’s due. One of the best performers of the century is from Texas, and honestly? I’m not surprised. Bey just has that kind of range. San Francisco could never. I selected this song not only for her H-Town references, but also because “flawless” is a good adjective to describe Texas as a whole.
Journey – “Faithfully”
Though this tune is technically led by San Franciscan Steve Perry, it truly encompasses the emotions that home stirs up in both of us. While we might spend a lot of time away from the places where our houses stand, we can always take comfort in the people and experiences that make us feel like we’re home.
Image Credits: Jacob Bilich