As if we needed another reason to hate Red Sox Nation: yesterday, a writer from Slate, Mark Vanhoenacker, claimed that Massachusetts is the best state in the union. He listed off a string of fancy pants facts, like how it has the fourth lowest suicide rate in the U.S. and the second highest per-capita personal income, but he forget to mention one thing: it has a really dumb state song.
Here’s a verse from “All Hail to Massachusetts,” which, no:
All hail to grand old Bay State, the home of the bean and the cod,
Where pilgrims found a landing and gave their thanks to God.
Yup, it rhymes God with the name of a fish. You just know that the guy who came up with that, Arthur J. Marsh, jerked off into his clam CHOWDAH and ate it after writing it (now dubbed the “Tom Brady Special”). “God/Cod” is pretty bad, but is it the worse? I took a look at the official song for every state in the union (sorry, Guam!), and picked the five worst. I also included a bonus former state song, which mentions the word “darkey’s.” And nope, it’s not South Carolina!
“I’m from New Jersey” by Red Mascara
I’M FROM NEW JERSEY and I’m proud about it, I love the Garden State.
I’M FROM NEW JERSEY and I want to shout it, I think it’s simply great.
All of the other states throughout the nation may mean a lot to some.
But I wouldn’t want another; Jersey is like no other, I’m glad that’s where I’m from.
Red Mascara is a crazy old man who, according to the Star Ledger, has spent “over 40 years to get his song to be the official song of New Jersey. He walks around the legislature every day trying to convince people to sign his bill.” That sounds like a perfectly reasonable way to spend a life, just kind of stalking politicians, annoying them with your outrageous, nonsensical goal that accomplishes nothing goal. To get the respect you deserve, Red Mascara, you should probably think about updating your song’s “official” website, unless you’re really fond of rainbows and Internet formatting from the mid-1990s.
“Rhode Island, It’s for Me” by Charlie Hall
I love the fresh October days,
the buzz on College Hill.
Art that moves an eye to tear,
a jewelers special skill.
Icicles refract the sun,
snow falling gracefully.
Some search for a place that’s warm:
Rhode Island’s It for Me!
Rhode Island: where it’s never warm, snows constantly, and you must always be on the look out for falling icicles of death.
“Here We Have Idaho” by McKinley Helm and Albert J. Tompkins
And here we have Idaho,
Winning her way to fame.
Silver and gold in the sunlight blaze,
And romance lies in her name.
Singing, we’re singing of you,
Ah, proudly too,
All our lives thru, we’ll go
Singing, singing of you,
Singing of Idaho.
Even the guys who wrote Idaho’s state song couldn’t think of anything better than, “Here…um…we have Idaho.” Presumably they quickly drove through the rest of state in total silence, and cheered when they crossed the border into Oregon. Also, it doesn’t mention potatoes, the only thing that makes Idaho notable; even South Dakota’s smart enough to reference Mount Rushmore.
“I Love New York” by Steve Karmen
I LOVE NEW YORK
I LOVE NEW YORK
I LOVE NEW YORK
There isn’t another like it.
No matter where you go.
And nobody can compare it.
Its win and place and show.
New York is special.
New York is diff’rent’ cause there’s no place else
on earth quite like New York and that’s why
Most state songs include multiple verses and a chorus that includes at least two terrible rhymes – New York’s says “I love New York” three times, contains seven lines about gambling and the Earth, and then repeats “I love New York” three more times. F*cking New Yorkers, think they’re so much better than everyone else, don’t even bother with their state song.
/is a New Yorker
Fun fact: “I love New York” was written by the same guy, Steve Karmen, who created the “Call Nationwide, ‘Cause Nationwide Is on Your Side” slogan.
“Utah, This Is the Place” by Sam and Gary Francis
It was Brigham Young who led the pioneers across the plains.
They suffered with the trials they had to face.
With faith they kept on going till they reached the Great Salt Lake
Here they heard the words…”THIS IS THE PLACE!”
And your winner. In 2003, a bunch of fourth graders complained that “Utah, We Love Thee” wasn’t a modern enough state song. So, Joseph Smith came back from the dead and with his 30+ plus zombie wives and wrote the much more hip “Utah, This Is the Place.” (It was originally “This Must Be the Place,” but then Ol’ Joe found about the Talking Heads’ song – don’t get him started on David Byrne.) Now, all the cool kids in Utah go around chanting, “Blessed from Heaven above/It’s the land that we love.” Much better than anything from that Snoopy Doggy Dog guy.
“Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” by James Bland
Carry me back to old Virginny,
There let me live ’till I wither and decay,
Long by the old Dismal Swamp have I wandered,
There’s where this old darkey’s life will pass away.
Massa and missis have long gone before me,
Soon we will meet on that bright and golden shore,
There we’ll be happy and free from all sorrow,
There’s where we’ll meet and we’ll never part no more.
To be fair, this stopped being Virginia’s state song in 1997. To be even fairer, THIS STOPPED BEING VIRIGINA’S STATE SONG IN 1997. Bland (who was black) wrote “Virginny” from the perspective of a nostalgic former slave; whether he was being satirical or not is still up for debate, but Virginia probably shouldn’t have choosen a state song with “decay,” “Dismal Swamp,” and “darkey’s” in it.