The People v. the State of California

February 22, 2009


As far as rock cliches go, hatin’ on California is right up there with “the fame and money makes me suicidal” and “this whole touring thing has really got me down.” A million bands have penned a million contemptuous tunes about the skin deep constituents and the million layers of fakery (exceptions: the Beach Boys, Tupac, Frank Black).

This one is no different, except that it is undeniably awesome.

On his latest Magnetic Fields’ album, Stephen Merritt whips up a Phil Spector-ish wall-of-fuzz and tops if off (and I’d have to check with RF on this) with some echoing kick-drum reverb just prior to the title. The final note of perfection is the female singer (Shirley Simms). If a man sung this, it would be hypocritical at least and sexist at best, considering most men will drop the hating pretense if the right sexual offer presents itself. But when a woman sings it, you know she means it.

See them on their big, bright screen,
tan and blonde and seventeen.
Eating nonfood keeps them mean,
but they’re young forever.

If they must grow up, they marry dukes and earls.
I hate California girls.

They ain’t broke, so they put on airs,
the faux folk sans derrieres.
They breathe coke and they have affairs
with each passing rock star.
They come on like squares, then get off like squirrels.
I hate California girls.

Looking down their perfect noses at me and my kind,
do they think we won’t–well, nevermind.
Laughing through their perfect teeth at everyone I know,
do they think we won’t get up and go?

I have planned my grand attacks.
I will stand behind their backs
with my brand-new battle ax.
Then they will taste my wrath.
They will hear me say, as the pavement whirls,
“I hate California girls…”

Magnetic Fields – California Girls.mp3

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