By Isa Mojares ’20
One of the things I’ve come to noticed since I got here to Kenyon is how much where we grew up/come from influences our taste in music. So much of who we are is shaped by where we grew up, and I guess it took me leaving my own hometown to see that. Last semester, a good friend of mine from back home decided to dedicate one broadcast of his radio show at Colorado College to playing songs by artists from Florida and New Jersey, the states where he and his co-host are originally from. Inspired by that broadcast, I decided to ask some Kenyon students about the bands and songs they feel best represent the cities and towns where they come from.
San Jose, CA
All Star by Smash Mouth
“My San Jose experience is most similar to your average 90s rock song.” – Justin Sun ’20
Appalachian Death Sigh by Bill Fox
Song of a Drunken Nightingale (also!) by Bill Fox
“Bill Fox is a Cleveland musician who started out in punk bands in the early 90s, and released two solo albums – ‘Shelter From The Smoke’ & ‘Transit Byzantium’ – at the end of the decade. But he never achieved much outside success, so soon after… he totally dropped out of music. His solo albums were relatively undiscovered until a few years ago. Now he’s considered, in some circles, one of the greatest songwriters of all time. I love Bill Fox. His music is so lovely and melancholy, full of nostalgia and love. His lyrics are painfully resonant, full of allusions to religion, clever wordplay, and pure, actual emotion. There’s a grittiness to his recordings that is also so, so Cleveland. A lot of his songs – like the ones I recommended – even mention the CLE or Ohio by name. I am so proud we share a hometown. Apparently he’s playing shows again now after a near 2 decade hiatus so maybe I’ll even see him live!! – Maddie Farr ’18
Ohio by Seafair
I saw Seafair as a junior in high school. They opened for Best Coast and I was enamored by the strings. I’m a string player myself, and I have a soft spot for their inclusion in rock and pop. This particular song is heavy on the Cleveland references and the sentimentality which oozes out of this song have given it so much life. People who want to promote Cleveland have used this song in high-budget productions for a reason. It’s feel-good, it’s high-energy, and it’s Cleveland-centric. I love it. – Devon Chodzin ’19
Summer Love by Trevor Something
Trevor Something is an anonymous Miami DJ who has put out 3 albums and an EP. This song sounds like all the excess of Miami’s culture wrapped up into one song. Electronic music is really popular back home, especially since Ultra Music Fest happens there, so I feel like this song is a good halfway point between the underground/indie rock scene and that electronic, more dance style. Also, in general, it’s just a lot of fun in my opinion.
Till the City Goes Under by Sunghosts.
This song by a local band called Sunghosts puts the feeling of driving down US1, with the sun pouring into the car at all the right angles, surrounded by your favorite people, on a day that’s the acceptable amount of humid, all into one song. Even though I prefer the EP version to the official album version, they even dedicated the music video to highlighting other local Miami bands, and the Miami music scene in general. – Isa Mojares ’20
Car Radio by Twenty One Pilots
“Twenty-one Pilots is from my hometown of Columbus! I don’t, like, love them the way a lot of Columbus natives do, but I think it is pretty cool that I know people who know them personally/did early hype for them when they were playing in bowling alleys in Columbus/still see them at Kroger, especially given how big they are now. This song, ‘Car Radio,’ was the first 21P song I heard, and it’s still my favorite.”
Dark Blue by Jack’s Mannequin
Cecilia and the Satellite by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
“Natives know that ‘Columbus’ usually refers to the general metropolitan area and any number of large, sprawling suburbs that surround it; earlier picks for this playlist all hail from these suburbs, none of which are my actual hometown. I happen to hail from Bexley, Ohio, which is an early Jewish settlement on the near East Side of Columbus––the more you know. The only actual musician that I know of from Bexley is Andrew McMahon, who was first in the early pop-punk band Jack’s Mannequin––I’ve included their most famous song, ‘Dark Blue,’ which is still a fucking banger. Recently, McMahon has started a new project, an indie-rock outfit known as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, and I really like their song ‘Cecelia and the Satellite’ because I think it sounds like a song that comes at the end of a movie. I can safely say that Andrew McMahon is probably the only cool person to ever come out of Bexley, Ohio, myself included. – Charlotte Freccia ’19