One of the hottest debates in town right now is what to name the official state rock song of Massachusetts. Two early favorites have emerged as proposed by state officials: The Modern Lovers’ “Roadrunner” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On.”
While both songs are strong candidates – “Roadrunner” is a loving ode to the Commonwealth that mentions local institutions like Rt. 128 and Stop & Shop, while “Dream On” is the most famous song by Boston’s most famous rock band – many other songs have been written about Massachusetts in the decades since.
Mix has decided to give the debate a bit of an update and list some more modern examples of songs about Massachusetts that could possibly serve as the state rock song. These are too obscure to hear on the airwaves here at Mix – and our definition of “rock song” here is loose at best – but you’d have a hard time disagreeing with these songs’ strong ties to the state.
Vampire Weekend – “Walcott”
“Walcott, don’t you know that it’s insane?
Don’t you wanna get out of Cape Cod?
Out of Cape Cod tonight?”
It might be borderline blasphemous to award the title of “Massachusetts State Rock Song” to a band from New York. But indie darlings Vampire Weekend have spoken (and sung) fondly of New England in the past…Even though “Walcott” seems to be about a vampire epidemic in Cape Cod. Still, it’s a fun tune and mentions the Cape over and over!
Aaron Lewis – “Massachusetts”
“Because I’m home in Massachusetts
Where my daughters and my wife they wait for me
All alone but the truth is
It’s where I always am, it’s where I long to be”
Former Staind frontman Aaron Lewis has come a long way from the hard rock of his band’s early work. The Longmeadow, Mass. native now writes with more of a country or folk style in his music, which has significantly mellowed out but retained his same knack for simple, direct and catchy hooks. This one in particular has a chorus (seen above) that ought to be his official submission for state rock song.
Ra Ra Riot – “Massachusetts”
Oh, no no no no no
To be held at bay and then consigned
To pet about the frozen time”
Ra Ra Riot are an indie band originally from Syracuse, N.Y., but their original drummer John Ryan Pike (who tragically drowned early in the band’s career) was from Hamilton, Mass. Their song “Massachusetts” may be more of a tribute song to him after his passing than a tribute to the state. But it definitely evokes the cold, wet atmosphere of winter in Boston.
Guster – “Homecoming King”
“Back to Massachusetts
To your golden age where your crown is shining bright
You didn’t see it coming
Now who you gonna wave to?”
Like Aerosmith, Guster is a band that can actually call Massachusetts home. They met while attending Tufts and have written several songs that reference the Commonwealth. “Homecoming King” could really replace Mass. with any other state and still make sense, but their choice of their homeland makes this a nice tune to associate with the Bay State.
Which of these songs would you choose given the decision to make one of them the official state rock song of Massachusetts? Or even better, do you have a suggestion of your own? Share your thoughts in the comments below.