As much as we love and respect Taylor Swift as an artist and human (so much heartbreak at such a young age, yet she perseveres), as New Yorkers we’re not entirely on board with the news that she’s been selected as NYC & Company’s new ambassador for tourism. It’s not that she’s not a great representative. She’s savvy, ambitious, and articulate—like all of us. It’s just that the song that she wrote for the campaign, “Welcome to New York,” is just so…well…bland. In NYC and Co’s new promo video she rightly describes the city as bold and bright and loud. Shouldn’t the song be the same?
So without being too presumptuous, we’d like to nominate a few alternative tracks for the official New York City theme song.
If the first time you heard Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’s epic collaboration on Empire State of Mind was, like us, in a cab after a late night out, you probably went ahead and screamed out the window, “I love this city!” No other track quite captures all the exuberant possibilities of being a New Yorker—before the disillusionment with real estate sets in.
Maybe it's just the bangs and the high cheek bones. Maybe it's the thought of each clutching a leather-bound notebook full of lyrics. Or maybe it's just us. But isn't there a touch of a young Joni Mitchell to Ms. Tay Swift? Mitchell's 1969 Chelsea Morning serves as a model of humility, requesting nothing more from the city than milk and toast and honey and a bowl of oranges.
Anyone who saw New York through September 11 has a special love for Bruce Springsteen's The Rising. (We'd actually nominate the entire album as an official NYC soundtrack.) Written shortly after the World Trade Center attacks, the song embodies the spirit of the city at that time: patriotic but not arrogant, devastated but full of soul.
New York today is great and all, but everyone's idea of New York was forged in the 1970s. Two classics from that period evoke the era: Grandmaster Flash's The Message provides the grit.
And Odyssey's Native New Yorker provides the glamour. Yeah, New York's a jungle sometimes, but you're never far from the dance floor.