Six Songs About NYC That Make People Hate NYC

Six Songs About NYC That Make People Hate NYC
Via Wiki Commons

There have been thousands, maybe millions, of songs written about New York City. You'll receive no argument from me that it's a special, special place. It's captured the imagination of imaginative young people around the world, and is responsible for something like a quarter of all the quintessential American artifacts. Part of that is the population density, sure, but there's no need to understate the broader influence. It's the most important city in the nation, and those who would argue that fact are simply out of ammunition.

All that said, there are plenty of things hilariously un-self-aware about that sanctified New York art. For all those great songs written from boroughs there's a whole lot of chaff. As a resident of Austin, Texas, I can confirm that some of those anthems you hold near to your heart have us laughing behind your back. It's time to clue you in. Here are the songs about New York that make people outside of the city hate New York.

See also: The 50 Most NYC Albums Ever

LCD Soundsystem "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down"

Out of the litany of aggravating New York archetypes, the skinny, cigarette-scorched aging hipster who prattles on and on about how the city has lost its "danger" might be at the very top of the list. And as much as I love James Murphy, he represents the worst sort of entitlement when it comes to this attitude. Oh, it's such a hardship living in a world where there's a McDonald's in Time Square, boo fucking hoo. It's a hilarious blend of white, privilege-blind inclinations to focus on how your life has gotten more boring now that it's harder to find drug dealers in Manhattan.

The Rapture "House of Jealous Lovers"

Dance-punk was what happened when a bunch of kids who couldn't make dance music, nor punk music, put out a song so thoroughly annoying that it actually fooled the bulk of the local press into acclaiming it for regressive innovation. I have never seen a shittier job of trailblazing in my entire life. OK, so it's not technically about New York, but so much of this band embodied exactly what's backwards about the Atlantic hype machine that the geographic context is embedded into their DNA. The Rapture proved that if you have a cool enough sounding song title, you can make it in New York.

Gil Scott-Heron "New York is Killing Me"

I remember when this song came out, and we all celebrated the long, long-awaited critical and cultural resurgence of Gil Scott-Heron. Our man is back! He's spitting some of the coldest mumblecore lines you'll ever hear!

Then a year went by, and Gil Scott-Heron was dead.

"Oh, shit, I guess that was a genuine call for help, wasn't it? If only there was some way we could've known, like maybe by reading the fucking name of the song."

Like, I'm not blaming you guys for killing Gil Scott-Heron, but I mean, you're definitely an accessory.

Upcoming Events

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >