It is time again for my very favorite Music Monday of the month, the Beausic Original Playlist! For this month’s Beausic Original Playlist, falling so close to America’s Independence Day, I knew that I wanted to do something themed around that. Initially, I had developed a concept of songs centered around themes of independence but I didn’t feel like that was quite right. Don’t get me wrong, I am not really a patriotic person and have never felt this really strong sense of American Pride or anything. I don’t really know how to explain my feelings about this country because, well, they are quite complicated. So, I gathered up a collection of songs filled with scathing criticisms of the American government and legislatures, the injustices towards different groups, poverty and various things that I, and many others, feel are very wrong with this country… but that didn’t feel quite right, either. After all, in spite of any harsh feelings I may have about this country’s government and the rights that I, and so many other Americans, are denied, I can’t deny the amount of love and respect that I do have for this land. This is where I developed the concept of this playlist.
I have traveled across this country several times in my life, although only the southern portion of it. I have traveled from my home state of California to Arkansas, where I lived for a few years, to Florida, where I live currently. I have made some variation of the trek from one of those points to another several times; I have done it by plane, by car and, by far the worst way, by Greyhound Bus. So, over the years, I have become very familiar with the landscape of the southern portion of this country and, as grueling as travel can get, especially by road, the whole “road trip” process is probably the best way possible to actually get to go out and see this great land that we live in. It was with that in my mind that I developed the concept for this month’s Beausic Original Playlist. I wanted to capture that feeling of taking to the road and travelling across this country and really soaking in the sights of America. So, with that having been said, I am very proud to present to you all, This Land Is Your Land: A Beausic Original Playlist.
THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND: A BEAUSIC ORIGINAL PLAYLIST
- Woody Guthrie – This Land Is Your Land
- Lady Antebellum – American Honey
- Tori Amos – A Sorta Fairytale
- Jewel – Stephenville, TX
- Carrie Underwood – I Ain’t In Checotah Anymore
- Faith Hill – Mississippi Girl
- The Wreckers – Tennessee
- Lauren Alaina – Georgia Peaches
- Jordin Sparks – Virginia Is For Lovers
- Nikki Blonsky – Good Morning Baltimore (from Hairspray)
- Rita Wilson – Please Come To Boston
- Mandy Moore – Merrimack River
- Madonna – I Love New York
- Kate Voegele – Chicago
- Hey Monday – Arizona
- Brandon Flowers – Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas
- Phantom Planet – California
- Alexz Johnson – LA Made Me
- Victoria Justice – Make It In America
- Bruce Springsteen – Born In The USA
For the cover art for this playlist, I really wanted to capture the image of a road trip. I remember as far back as when I was 4 or 5 years old, sitting in the backseat of a car travelling across the country and seeing images just like the one I chose for the cover of this playlist out the window. As soon as I stumbled upon that image, I knew that it was exactly what I wanted for the cover because it brought back so many memories for me, although I did find out that this image is actually somewhere in Northern California, which is one place I have never actually traveled. Still, the landscape and the road is one that I felt really captured Any Town, USA, and I thought was absolutely perfect for this playlist.
Before going into the track-by-track commentary, I wanted to also make mention of the fact that I really did want to get back to the whole narrative aspect of some of my earlier playlists. One way that I felt really strongly about doing that with this one was to actually plot out a geographically accurate trip with this playlist. So, our story begins with a young girl, an “American Honey,” in Stephenville, TX, making a her way to California, but taking the time to really see the country beforehand. She actually starts off going east, then travelling up the east coast and circling back around to make her way all the way to the west coast. I must make mention, though, of the fact that, with the grueling nature of travel, she is a little over it by the time she hits Chicago and really kind of stops her sight-seeing and makes a straight shot all the way to Arizona, where she catches a second wind and decides that she just has to make a stop in Fabulous Las Vegas before ending her trip! The real reason for this, though, is just the fact that I couldn’t really find many songs about the places between Illinois and Arizona. There are a lot of states through there that I have never really found songs written about or anything, so she kind of wound up skipping a lot of those northern states, like Wyoming and Montana and Michigan, etc. Still, I think the trip works out well. I really am kind of thinking of this playlist as kind of a musical, with full-blown stage production numbers in my head for a lot of the songs, which makes the whole thing about 900 times more fun for me! Check out my track-by-track commentary below!
1. Woody Guthrie – This Land Is Your Land – I knew that I couldn’t do this playlist without some version of this song, as it is one of the most celebrated songs in American history, without being overly cheesy or schmaltzy. The part that was difficult was choosing a version of the song to include, since this song has been recorded so many different times by so many different artists. In the end, though, in conjunction with the other songs included on this playlist, I felt like the original Woody Guthrie version was the best fit.
2. Lady Antebellum – American Honey – I definitely wanted to include this song on this playlist as I have always felt that it was a really great song about an All-American girl growing up in an All-American town and trying to come into her own. I also wanted to include this song right up front as kind of an introduction to our lead character in this story, the girl making her way across this country. I felt like this song was the best fit for the type of character I had in mind for this story.
3. Tori Amos – A Sorta Fairytale – “A Sorta Fairytale” seemed like the perfect track to introduce the whole road trip concept. In my mind, in the context of the story, this would be the girl looking back on a road trip from the past, perhaps even the road trip that led her to where our story begins, in Stephenville, TX. This is her making the decision to go on this new road trip to kind of correct the issues of the last one and make her way to where she really wants to be. For me personally, though, this song has always been one I could relate to in a really big way and reminds me of a trip I took with an ex-boyfriend of mine where everything seemed to kind of fall apart in the process, although it was not an actual road trip or anything, just a trip out of town.
4. Jewel – Stephenville, TX – Stephenville, TX is where our story begins. Jewel is one of my top 10 favorite artists of all-time and I have always felt a special connection to this song in a lot of ways for reasons I never quite understood. When I pulled the song up and listened to it again to place on this playlist, though, I found that this was kind of the absolute perfect song for me in life right now, on the verge of my 29th birthday. It’s just a song about looking back on life and kind of wondering about how you’ve wound up where you are. As the ending of the song says, “I’m 31 years old, that ain’t the end but it sure ain’t where I began… I guess that just makes it Stephenville, TX.” It may as well say, “I’m 29 years old, that ain’t the end but it sure ain’t where I began… I guess that just makes it Sarasota, FL.” I just find myself really relating to this song a lot lately and looking back on where my life has been and how I have wound up here. It’s not a bad thing by any means, but I also know that this isn’t where I belong, in the long run. This is kind of the set up for our character, as well.
5. Carrie Underwood – I Ain’t In Checotah Anymore – The first stop on this trip is in Oklahoma, where we make a little stop, “where 69 meets 40, there’s a single stoplight town,” called Checotah, where we meet a girl who has made a name for herself in this big old world, just as our character is trying to do. This girl is back in town visiting, and regales us with stories of how her life has changed and how much she sometimes misses the joys of small town life. This song has always struck a chord with me because it reminds me so much of my time in Arkansas, where we actually did spend a little time over in Oklahoma. I have never been one for the small town, country lifestyle but I do sometimes look back on it with fondness for the simplicity and the joys you can find in the little things that happen in a small, southern town. Overall, though, I don’t particularly miss it.
6. Faith Hill – Mississippi Girl – Our next stop on this journey is in Mississippi, where our character indulges herself in a little daydreaming about what her life will be like once she makes it big and vows to not let herself get big-headed or be changed by money, fame or notoriety. I have always loved this song personally because I feel like it sends a really positive message to young people with big dreams everywhere and tells them that you can dream the biggest dreams in the world but even if they all come true you have to always hold tight to who you are at your core.
7. The Wreckers – Tennessee – The next stop on this journey is in Tennessee, a state that I have always felt some sort of special connection to. I have only ever passed through but every time I have passed through I have just felt really connected with the place and I have no idea why. It is one of the most beautiful areas I have traveled through and I have always found myself so inspired passing through there. I have also always really loved this song because, while it talks about Tennessee, at it’s core it is a song about looking back and realizing how great something was after you’ve let it go, which is a concept that I think everybody can relate to. For our character, she is kind of taking the time to stop and reflect on the relationship she left behind, the one that led her to Stephenville and perhaps realizing the part that she took in bringing it to an end, and even possibly regretting the way it ended. The chorus of the song says, “Maybe I was much too selfish but, baby, you’re still on my mind, Now I’m grown and all alone and wishing I was with you tonight, cos’ I can guarantee that things are sweeter in Tennessee.” I have always felt that this was a beautiful sentiment about looking back on a relationship that you probably weren’t ready for at the time.
8. Lauren Alaina – Georgia Peaches – Our next stop is in the state of Georgia, where our character is ready to let go of the melancholy feeling she carried through Tennessee and have a little fun! She meets up with some girls in the area who show her what it really means to party southern style. These girls show her that, “ain’t nothing sweeter than us Georgia peaches, there’s a reason why the boys pick Georgia peaches.” I personally wanted to include this song because it really is a bit of fun and kind of describes a really fun, wild, country party! It kind of reminds me of the country version of some of those pop songs you hear so often, like “Don’tcha” by the Pussycat Dolls, that are just fun and all about being sassy and confident and sexy! It seemed to me that our lead character could use a little bit of that at this point!
9. Jordin Sparks – Virginia Is For Lovers – Next we are heading north and making our way to Virginia. As the song says, “Virginia is for lovers and I wonder where do all the others go? Your heart belongs to another, so I’m leaving, Virginia is for lovers, anyway.” Our character is still looking back on her relationship and realizing, in some ways, that she is running away from dealing with her feelings about it. This is also where we realize that this breakup wasn’t entirely her fault, as this man has left her for somebody else.
10. Nikki Blonsky – Good Morning Baltimore (from Hairspray) – Our character arrives in Maryland fighting to let go of her worries about the relationship and keep her eye on the prize – her dreams of making it to California and becoming a star! This song has always been a favorite of mine because it is a fun song about having the determination and drive to make your dreams come true, which is where we meet up with our character in Baltimore.
11. Rita Wilson – Please Come To Boston – The next stop on this trip is in Massachusetts, where our character meets up with some old friends who live in Boston and decides to stay a little while. She finds out from these friends that the man she was in the relationship with before is no longer with the person he left her for. With this news, she finally decides to make the call to him, to ask him to “Please come to Boston.” He agrees to do this and decides to continue on the trip with her.
12. Mandy Moore – Merrimack River – Our character and her ex-lover move on to New Hampshire, where they stop for a festival or celebration of some sort along the Merrimack River and find themselves falling in love all over again. Our lead character is understandably cautious but also swept up in the romanticism of it all. I have always related to this song, as well, because it really captures that feeling of falling in love and the fears and joys that come along with it. I love the lyrics on the chorus, which say, “Don’t say you’re not amazed when you know you are, and don’t say you’re not afraid when you know you are.” I also love the fact that the lyrics on this song create such strong imagery of the area, speaking of jacarandas, trees, the frozen river, etc. It really creates a beautiful image and I can picture this whole event in my head.
13. Madonna – I Love New York (Demo) – The next stop on this trip is New York City, which our character immediately falls in love with. Her ex/renewed lover is less enamored with the city, and it causes friction between the two as she comes to realize more and more that he doesn’t want the same things that she does and she has to say to him, “I love New York, I don’t love you but I love New York!” I specifically included the demo version of this song because it included that line, as well as the fact that I think the general sound of it gels a lot better with the rest of the playlist than the album version included on Madonna’s “Confessions On A Dancefloor” record.
14. Kate Voegele – Chicago – Her lover continues on with her to Chicago in hopes of working things out but things only continue to go downhill. I am a big fan of Kate Voegele’s music and was really excited to finally find a perfect opportunity to include her on one of these Beausic Original Playlists. “Chicago” was also one of my very favorite tracks from her debut album, “Don’t Look Away,” and I felt it was a perfect addition to the narrative of this story.
15. Hey Monday – Arizona – Things only continue to go downhill for our character and her lover after he has convinced her to skip out on travelling the northern part of the country, wanting to make a straight shot from Chicago to California. Things finally come to a head when they hit Arizona and she decides once and for all that this relationship has to end. As this song’s lyrics say, “It took two days for me to figure out this isn’t working out I gotta hit the brakes.” So, as the chorus of the song says, “Arizona, Arizona, a car wreck on the highway, now you’re burning at the side of the road.” She has finally decided to leave this man behind and continue on her way all on her own.
16. Brandon Flowers – Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas – Our character decides that, after all of the drama of this last portion of the trip and missing out on travelling the northern part of the country, she can’t let the trip end without making one last stop in Las Vegas. She goes a little crazy while in Las Vegas, trying to drink and party away her emotions, and winds up losing a majority of her savings, the money she had kept to survive in California until she could find work. She wakes up the next morning feeling awful, desperate and lonely and not knowing what she is going to do from here. I included this song because I loved the fact that it is a song painting a picture of the grittier, darker side of Las Vegas. There are tons of songs about the joy, debauchery and fun that can be found there but I love this song for kind of expressing the other side of that whole story. The chorus of this song is absolutely brilliant, with the lyrics, “Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas, Give us your dreamers, your harlots and your sins, Las Vegas, Didn’t nobody tell you the house will always win?”
17. Phantom Planet – California – Our character leaves Las Vegas and is ready to finally make it to her final destination: California. In my head, if this were a musical, I imagine a whole group of different “dreamers” coming from all different places joining our character in singing this song. While I know that the song has the lyric of “California here we come, right back where we started from,” I feel like it definitely could apply to people who didn’t necessarily come from California because it is kind of like when people have always had that feeling of a place is where they belong so when they make it there it’s kind of like coming back to where you felt like you were meant to be to begin with. I don’t know what I’m getting at with that. I personally love this song because I did come from California and it has always been my plan to make it back there eventually. I don’t have any immediate plans for it and have no idea when it will be but I definitely intend to make it back to California someday.
18. Alexz Johnson – LA Made Me – Our character finally makes it to LA, broke and kind of broken, and finds that things don’t come as easily to her there as she had expected. She is having trouble finding work as an actress and has to work multiple jobs just to make it by. Her ex-lover calls her and tells her that she’s tried to follow her dreams but it isn’t working out and he asks her to give it up and come back to him and their simple life in Stephenville. She refuses and tells him, as the songs lyrics say, “LA won’t let me go, LA owns my soul.” This is another song, being from California, that I have always related to a lot. I have always felt that southern California has some sort of magnetic hold on me and many who came up there that even if you leave you will always feel a longing or desire to go back.
19. Victoria Justice – Make It In America – After rebuffing the offer to return to Stephenville and the life she had before, our character is more determined than ever to “Make It In America.” She works hard at her craft and eventually books herself her very first acting gig, which could wind up being her big break! She is finally where she wants to be in life and has finally made it! I also just wanted to mention how obsessed I am with this song! I just become a bigger and bigger fan of Victoria Justice’s with every song she releases, and this one is no different. So far all of her music has been attached to her Nickelodeon series, “Victorious,” so I am really eager for her to do some stuff on her own. In the meantime, though, I absolutely love all of her songs from both of the “Victorious” soundtracks!
20. Bruce Springsteen – Born In The USA – To close, I couldn’t possibly have created this playlist without including this song. While it doesn’t necessarily fit into the narrative I just couldn’t leave it out. Besides, at the very least, it would make a brilliant closing number for a musical! What else can you really say? Bruce Springsteen is absolutely brilliant and has spent much of his career releasing music that created a soundtrack and commentary to much of America’s history and this song is no different. In fact, this song is kind of an American anthem for people of my generation and the one before. Like I said, it couldn’t be excluded from this playlist!
So, there you have the Beausic Original Playlist for the month of July! I really hope you guys enjoyed it and enjoyed the kind of different style of narrative I took with it. It was a lot of fun for me to put this playlist together and kind of create the whole story/musical in my head around it. It wouldn’t make a very upbeat musical but it could be really good… as if you could ever get clearance to use ALL of this music in a musical. Either way, though, I had fun making it all up! I’ve got some pretty interesting and fun stuff planned for the rest of this week, as well as the rest of this month! I am really excited about Beausic in July! I hope you guys are, too! In the meantime, I wish you all a beautiful week and a beautiful life!