This past week, Massachusetts state repsâ€”apparently very bored what with all that bone-dry sequestration talkâ€”filed a bill to make the Massachusetts “state rock song” Aerosmith’s â€śDream On.â€ť
So the issue’s settled: Massholes are the worst. The news did, however, make me wonder why Pennsylvania doesn’t have a government-sealed head-banger of its own. We have a state song: the annoyingly hymnal â€śPennsylvania,â€ť signed into law in 1990, but shouldn’t we, the people, pick?
Here, 10 viable candidates for Pennsylvania’s new state song. Take your pick, and if you’re so moved, write to Harrisburg.
1. Bloodhound Gang, â€śPennsylvaniaâ€ť
This Collegeville-born band lobbied in the late ’90s to legally change the state song to this idiosyncratic, emo-punk anthem, which asks, “Do you even know what a Wawa is girl?”Â Like the song’s melody, the campaign went nowhere.
2. Emerald Rose, â€śNo Booze Today.â€ť
In which they jauntily sing, “No booze today! No booze today! You can’t get booze on Sunday! No booze today! No booze today! You better come back on Monday!” Very few things are more â€śPennsylvaniaâ€ť than our fraught relationship with our Quaker history. This song is perhaps a bit too jolly for its subject matter, but it’s still nice and topical.
3. Steely Dan, â€śPretzel Logicâ€ť
This bluesy, rambling ballad has absolutely nothing to do with pretzels (our official state snack, declared no one), but its straightforward melody and folksy lyrics feel just right for the Keystone State.
4. Weird Al’s â€śAmish Paradiseâ€ť
A little predictable, perhaps, but we can hardly ignore our Amish brethren.
5. Vaughn Horton, â€śPennsylvania Turnpike, I Love Youâ€ť
It’s tough to find a common thread unifying Pennsyltucky and the state’s more urban hives. This musical ode to 76 would accomplish exactly that.
6. Slayer, â€śHardening of the Arteriesâ€ť
What Pennsylvania lacks in booze, we make up for in cream. That’s not quite Slayer’s subject matter here, but with all the trash-screeching, no one would ever know.
7. AC/DC, â€śBack in Blackâ€ť
I was skeptical of this one. But as my colleague put it, â€śit’s a song of perseverance, it’s one of the best metal/hard rock songs of all time (and PA is very much into hard rock/metal), and it’s a song about being an outlaw … You want your state song to rock.â€ť And I guess if stodgy old Massachusetts gets Aerosmith …
8. Tenacious D, â€śThe Government Totally Sucksâ€ť
Budget cuts. Lottery privatization. AVI overhaul. Lots to hate on these days. Timeliness, and a couple Ben Franklin mentions, make this a front-runner.
9. Afroman, â€śPennsylvania Pimpin”â€ť
Sample lyric: “She from Penn State, I’m from the state pen.” It’s crude, it’s chauvinist, and performed by a guy from California, but where else will we find State College, Pottstown, Schoolly D, Dr. J, and the Declaration of Independence mentioned in ONE song? Video is NSFW.
I saw that smirk. What, you’re not tapping your foot right now?