Musical Geographies: California Part 2

Everybody is moving to California these days, or thinking about moving to California at the very least. I’m not a fan of this phenomenon, but I can’t stop it; I can only shake my head sadly and offer these songs as a tribute.

“Roots Radicals” – Rancid

Maybe Campbell isn’t the first California location you’d think of, but everybody’s got to be from somewhere, especially when you’re only fifteen.

“Free Fallin'” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

You know another place it’s not great to be from? Reseda, apparently. Someone more familiar with LA geography, can you explain how that town works to me? I always get confused as to what is the city, what’s a suburb, what’s in Los Angeles County. Nothing down there makes sense to me.

“California Love” – Tupac

Objectification of women and ostentatious displays of wealth: two things many rap videos and many parts of California have in common.

“I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” – A Tribe Called Quest

The pitfalls of a cross-country roadtrip.

“The Only Place” – Best Coast

The name says it all… both of the song and of the band. Ocean? Check. Babes? Check. Sun? Check. Waves? Check.

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3 thoughts on “Musical Geographies: California Part 2

  1. Basically Reseda is part of Los Angeles proper, as is much of the San Fernando Valley,which is commonly referred to as simply “the Valley” as in Valley Girl. Not to be confused with the San Gabriel Valley, which is northeast of L.A. and includes from about Covina or Pomona to the east into Arcadia, San Gabriel, and part of Pasadena (and my hometown of Temple City, which no one has heard of because it’s not on a freeway). It’s also a real valley, as in, it has a river (occasionally with actual water!), unlike the San Fernando Valley.

    There are a bunch of communities in the San Fernando Valley that are actually all within the city limits of L.A. Chatsworth, Northridge, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, etc, are all within L.A. proper. Think of them as really big neighborhoods that probably secretly (or not so secretly) wish they could secede from L.A. Basically, if you live on the Pasadena side of town, there’s absolutely no reason to go to any of those places unless you have family there or something. This explains why, despite living in SoCal for the first 25 years of my life, I would still need a map to tell you how to get to pretty much all of these places, though I think a bunch are off of the 118 probably.

    LA County encompasses all of this out to about Thousand Oaks on the west, the other side of which is Ventura County. It goes north to a bunch of places that no one cares about unless they’re on fire (Palmdale, Lancaster), east to about the edge of the San Gabriel Valley where it hits San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and south to about Long Beach, where it hits Orange County. They like to think they’re not really from L.A., but that’s B.S. It’s ALL L.A. in spirit. When you turn on channel four at 5:00 pm, you don’t get Orange County news, you get KNBC news from Los Angeles. It’s all one big media market.

    Sorry for the inappropriately long response!

  2. Since the lead to this story was dealt mostly with frustration with people moving to California, I thought this was an appropriate addition. Also…guy on fire.

    Wax – “California”

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