Write in a New Ode to Cali 

Just think: We could be the first state whose official song has a bomb-ass hemp beat.

The first thing you need to know is that California has an official state song. The second thing you need to know is that our state song sucks.

I love you, California, you're the greatest state of all

I love you in the winter, summer, spring and in the fall

I love your fertile valleys; your dear mountains I adore

I love your grand old ocean and I love her rugged shore

"I Love You, California" -- lyrics by F.B. Silverwood, college alma mater-caliber tune by A.F. Frankenstein -- became California's own alma mater in 1951, and has since faded into an abyss of obsolescence reserved for rotary phones, Hammer pants, and fans of the Golden State Warriors. It carries on for four full verses of breezes bearing rich perfume and snow-crowned Golden Sierras and fields of yellow (as opposed to golden) grain and redwood forests and skies of azure blue.

It's a crock, and should be replaced immediately. As this brutal election season grinds to a merciful halt, I propose one last-minute write-in amendment: to officially replace "I Love You, California" with Dr. Dre and Tupac's "California Love."

Verily, this tune faced stiff competition. California is undoubtedly the most overserenaded physical destination in musical history, with the possible exception of heaven, which to its detriment has no Indian-run casinos. These homages range from the libidinous ("California Girls") to the bitter ("Hotel California"), from wide-eyed ("Going to California") to world-weary ("Californication"). "California Dreamin'" seems to encapsulate all those moods simultaneously, and has been covered by American Music Club besides. In the outright hostility category, there's always "California über Alles," which has the added benefit for Oaklanders of specifically jeering at Jerry Brown (Zen fascists will control you/100 percent natural/You will jog for the master race/And always wear the happy face). The Wilco and Billy Bragg dalliance "California Stars" soothes alt.country types; Rufus Wainwright's "California" speaks to alt. lifestyles.

Most recently, there is Phantom Planet's "California," ubiquitous theme to hipster soap opera The O.C. , possessed of enough youthful idealism and whining vocal timbre to compel ordinarily mild-mannered folks to throw full bowls of soup at the television.

In fact, California homages are so prevalent as to engender their own backlash movement: Songs about how there are too many songs about California. For that, we turn to Local H:

And here we go again

It's never gonna end

We're all so sick of California songs

Yeah, we know you love LA

There's nothing left to say

Please, no more California songs

and fuck New York, too

Amen. And while the Bay Area has inspired its fair share of heartfelt odes (If you're goiiiing, to San Frannn-cisco), it's true also that Los Angeles is whupping our ass in this regard, though ultimately inspiring some of the worst songs ever written ("I Love LA," "LA Woman") to balance out the splendid X albums and sorta-righteous Bad Religion comeback singles. (Hollywood is a whole other story, one best told by America's poets laureate, namely Bob Seger and Axl Rose. For this column's purposes, however, it will forever remain the place Frankie went.)

But the sweetest valentine to the City of Angels remains Tool's "Aenema," with its vibrant imagery (One great big festering neon distraction) and climactic azure-skies checklist of physical attributes:

Fuck L. Ron Hubbard and fuck all his clones

Fuck all those gun-toting hip gangster wannabes

Fuck retro anything, fuck your tattoos

Fuck all you junkies and fuck your short memory

Fuck smiley glad-hands with hidden agendas

Fuck these dysfunctional insecure actresses

But even in an era where decriminalized prostitution is on the Berkeley ballot, the electorate may not fully get behind a tune with so many curse words that ultimately begs Mother Nature to plunge our state into the sea. Thus our choice of "California Love," a remarkably more upbeat party tune with many fewer curse words that seems to obliquely reference prostitution. Its thesis statement is instantly accessible and quotable -- California knows how to party/California knows how to paaar-ty -- but both Dre and 'Pac dive deeper into our fair state's unique appeal. First, the former:

Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild West

A state that's untouchable like Eliot Ness

The track hits ya eardrum like a slug to ya chest

Pack a vest for your jimmy in the City of Sex

We in that sunshine state with a bomb-ass hemp beat

The state where ya never find a dance floor empty

And pimps be on a mission for them greens

Lean mean money-makin' machines servin' fiends

Besides the genuine thrill of being the only state to include the words "pimps" and "bomb-ass hemp beat" (medicinal, of course) in our official state song, the vest-for-your-jimmy plug would place California at the forefront of modern sex education. The first few lines of Tupac's verse makes this necessity plain:

Out on bail fresh outta jail, California dreamin'

Soon as I stepped on the scene, I'm hearin' hoochies screamin'

Fiendin' for money and alcohol

Yes, the redwood forests and yellow fields are breathtaking, folks, but "California Love" cuts to the heart of what matters here in the Golden State. So write that sucka into the books Tuesday at the polls, on the line directly below "Donald Duck for president." Here's to you, California. No glove, no love.


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