Musical Geographies: Chicago

Here is the first of an occasional series featuring songs about certain places. Of course we start with our beloved hometown, the best city in the world, Chicago.

“Slow Down Chicago” – Canasta

One of my favorite local bands. This is their hometown anthem, and it’s the first song I thought of when coming up with this list. It’s a crowd-pleasing singalong for sure.

“Homecoming” – Kanye West 

Chicago as fickle woman? Sounds about right. She looks beautiful in this video though.

“Tonight, Tonight” – The Smashing Pumpkins

This song reminds me of the Burnham quote, “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood.” It’s grandiose, bombastic, and overblown, like so much of Chicago, and like Chicago itself, I can’t help but love it.

“Casimir Pulaski Day” – Sufjan Stevens

The only non-Chicago artist on the list, and there’s not even a video for it. But he wrote a haunting song about an obscure local holiday–how could I not include it?

“Chi Don’t Dance” – BBU

If you listen to this song on the bus, you’ll accidentally find yourself awkwardly dancing in your seat, much to the confusion of the lady sitting next to you. Or… so I’d imagine.

BONUS: “Hail! Hail!” – Ike Reilly

I couldn’t find anything resembling a video for this, but it’s off his Salesmen and Racists album, and it’s a great driving-around-the-city song, namechecking people and places you’ll probably pass along the way. Go look it up.