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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Oct 20, 2014
Headline for Singing to the City of Angels: 10 Songs about Los Angeles
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Singing to the City of Angels: 10 Songs about Los Angeles

Los Angeles comes with a little extra on top of the city streets and the skyscrapers. It carries a fantasy like no other city, one that exists in our minds and is created through our interactions, and our art. These 10 songs are held together by city dreams. "Los Angeles is a city whose mystery is precisely that of no longer being anything but a network of incessant, unreal circulation -- a city of incredible proportions but without space, without dimension" -Baudrillard.

City of Angels-Thirty Seconds to Mars

The story of Los Angeles is told through candid interviews and lyrics that describe the people and the city scape. It's a mini documentary in the form of a music video, and the ultimate ode to a city built on fragile promises beside very bright lights. The dreams can be found everywhere from voices in songs, to the carvings in the ground.


Malibu is that pretend escape from a city that will likely never let you go. Malibu is the ocean side grace that L.A. gives before it pulls you back into the wannabe dreams of star-lined streets. Hole's hit carries all the desperation in trying to leave the city, and Love sings it like no other can.


In the lyrics of this song, Tool pulls out pieces of L.A. culture and lays them bare as nothing but self indulgence and obsession, and then verbally tosses them into the ocean. While everyone is looking the other way, towards the screen or the mirror, Tool sings of California sinking. The only way to shake it loose is by the dirt below as it sinks into the sea.

City of Angels-The Distillers

Los Angeles calls out to those looking for something, and it's lights act as beacons of promises that the city has no intention of keeping. The Distillers sing of a side to L.A. where the lights don't shine and there's no redemption for promises broken.

Los Angeles is Burning-Bad Religion

Bad Religion uses the blinding light of the media to highlight the illusionary aspects of L.A. culture. In the event of L.A. burning down, homes and buildings would be lost in the same ashes as the ideology of fame and fortune.

Drinking in LA -Bran Van 3000

L.A. is the result of work, spin, and hustle, but all the fun that comes after is what we're chasing. Nearly everyone making the permanent trip is there for a specific reason. Bran Van tells the story of a so-called screenwriter in a sea of (thousands?) of so-called screenwriters.

Back in LA-BB King

BB King sings the spirit of a city, one that is worthy of a song once you find yourself there. It reads like landscape poetry to a city where the real work is difficult but must be done in the shadow of glitz and glamour.

April 26 1992-Sublime

Even though it says April 26th, the song is referring to April 29th, 1992, and is about the L.A. riots through the gaze of a cali-home ska band. They use police samples, riot city names, and Rodney King as they piece together this song about a breaking point in the city of angels, and where the illusion collapsed to make way for the real.

To Live and Die in LA-2Pac

2Pac was quite poetic when he rapped about the worlds he lived between, the L.A. that was seen and praised, and the L.A. he knew well. He was a storyteller with a narrative of justice, even when it wasn't apparent.

Beverly Hills-Weezer

Weezer sings the draw of L.A. on the lawn of the Playboy mansion, the Los Angeles dream with four (thousand) walls and a roof. They sing of Beverly Hills as if being there is all that's important, and that's the feeling it gives.