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Apropos of Nothing: Favorite music around the US gets put on the map

I love the map showing each state’s favorite musical artist, which people started sharing on Facebook a few days ago. It pretty much tells you everything you need to know about America. A guy named Paul Lamere from the music research company The Echo Nest created the map, and Internet news sources, such as Slate.com and BusinessInsider.com, published stories about it. If you Google “distinctive band by state” you will find plenty of links to it.

The map technically isn’t a map of every state’s favorite musical artist. Lamere’s company discovered that the artists with the most listeners in America are Jay-Z and Drake, because they are two of the most popular musicians in the country right now, like it or not. Forget Red States and Blue States, the real divide is between Drizzy and Hova, even though Drake is notoriously Canadian.

But what’s a lot more interesting than which artist is most popular in a state is which artist is unusually popular in a state, and that’s exactly what the map measures. So, which band uniquely rocks each state’s world?

New Hampshire — The Grateful Dead — New England is now the hippie capital of America.

Vermont — Phish — Looks like folks are getting high on more than just maple syrup up there.

Ohio — Florida Georgia Line — I guess people in Ohio are messing with us, or they just really wish they were living anywhere warmer than Ohio.

Alabama — The Civil Wars — Surprise, surprise: the Deep South still can’t get over The Civil Wars.

West Virginia — Matchbox Twenty — Looks like the mountaineers like to party like it’s 1996.

Illinois — Sufjan Stevens — All Sufjan had to do to win over the Land of Lincoln was literally write an entire album about Illinois, called “Illinois.”

Maine — R.E.M. — It’s a little-known fact that the “M” in “REM” stands for Maine. Seriously, you can check Wikipedia. As soon as I edit Wikipedia.

Virginia — Dave Matthews Band — Hey wait, isn’t the Dave Matthews Band from Virginia? Maybe the Dave Matthews Band is just really, really popular with the Dave Matthews Band.

Colorado — The Naked and Famous — Ironically, this band is neither of those things.

Arizona — Linkin Park — In our defense, lead singer Chester Bennington is from Phoenix. But if we’re going to support good bands with local roots, couldn’t we go with Jimmy Eat World … or maybe just something other than Linkin Park?

Texas — Lady Gaga — Am I just messing with you? ey, maybe this will teach you not to make assumptions based on cultural stereotypes about what specific states will like. Except that, yeah, I am messing with you. Texas’s unique favorite is really country crooner George Strait.

Florida — Rick Ross — Ross is all well and good, but Florida, if you’re going to pick a rapper, how can you not go with the awesomely—named Flo Rida?

New Jersey — Bruce Springsteen — People from New Jersey love Bruce Springsteen, mostly because he’s the only thing their state has produced that they don’t have to be embarrassed about. Bruce has also been amazingly loyal to the Garden State, probably because the state government has secretly agreed that when The Boss goes off to jam with the big E Street Band in the sky, his memory will be honored by officially renaming the state Brewce Jersey.

Here’s what the music map teachs us about good old America:

1. There are 50 states.

2. People in different states like different things.

3. Americans peacefully co-exist, despite having very diverse, and sometimes very questionable, tastes in music.

4. People in this country are accepting of artists from other states. (Jack Johnson is from Hawaii, but he’s most uniquely popular in Wisconsin. Hawaii’s distinctive preference is for a Californian rapper named J-Boog.)

5. There’s a successful individual in this country whose professional name is J-Boog. Wow. I hope he has it on his business cards. That’s what this country’s all about.

Disclaimer: As a general rule, nothing in Logan Rogers’s columns should be taken seriously.

— Logan Rogers is a second year law student. Follow him @AproOfNo


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