Fergie released her first single in six years Monday, and the song, called “L.A. LOVE (La La),” employs one of our favorite musical tropes of all time: It’s a pop song that lists off as many random city names it can in approximately three minutes’ time. A beloved but often unheralded genre, it’s long overdue for some recognition.
The American populace as a whole might have difficulties identifying important locations on maps, but not pop stars. And just as Coldplay schooled us in science, Brian McKnight in math, Gwen Stefani in spelling (B-A-N-A-N-A-S!), Barenaked Ladies in history and, of course, Olivia Newton John in physical education, it’s now time to study abroad.
Here are songs that celebrate artists’ illustrious travel itineraries:
Fergie, “L.A. LOVE (La La)”
As the title implies, we begin in California — “Hollywood to the slums,” if we are being specific. Then “like a gnat on a jet,” (because what self respecting insect flies commercial?), we head to New York to London to Brazil to Quebec to Russia to Venice.
Fergie’s travel itinerary is nonsensical. This lady doesn’t care how big her carbon footprint is! In order, we travel with her to: Brooklyn, Hacienda, Vegas, Rio, Tokyo, “Down Under,” Miami, Jamaica, Atlanta, Texas, back to Miami and back to London and Jamaica, then to France, L.A., Moscow, Espana, Kingston, San Diego, Chi-town, Germany, La Puente, Ibiza, LA, Amsterdam, Frisco, Switzerland, Jo’burg, Mexico, Stockholm, back to Jamaica, and back to L.A. (La la).
Jennifer Lopez, “On the Floor”
Artists love “La la la-ing” around the world. J.Lo danced the night away in “Brazil, Morocco, London to Ibiza, straight to LA, New York, Vegas to Africa.”
Johnny Cash, “I’ve Been Everywhere”
Johnny Cash, on the other hand, leans more towards Oskaloosa than Ibiza. More specifically:
For Pete’s sake, indeed!
Ludacris, “Pimpin’ All Over the World”
But not all musicians aimlessly wander the globe. When customs officers ask Ludacris about the reason for his visit, he has but one answer: Pimpin. He pimps in the Virgin Islands, Miami, Hawaii, Madriga, and, of course, Howard University, because his pimping styles lean towards the well-educated lady.
Ludacris, “Area Codes”
The “list off locations” genre appears to be one of Luda’s favorites. He even boasts of memorizing the various numbers of his “hoes in different area codes.” Ludacris has a lot of fun with rhymes in this one:
Beach Boys, “California Girls”
Really, Ludacris is just perfecting a genre that the Beach Boys toyed with in 1965. Although the Beach Boys rattled off regions — oh, those Northern girls with the way they kiss! — instead of specific city names, they still deserve recognition for their contributions to the genre.
Lupe Fiasco, “Paris, Tokyo”
Lupe Fiasco, on the other hand, travels in the name of monogamy. He sings, “Let’s go to sleep in Paris, and wake up in Tokyo. Have a dream in New Orleans, fall in love in Chicago, maybe. Wherever I go she goes.”
Nelly, “Country Grammar”
Nelly shimmies his cocoa whats “From Texas back up to Indiana, Chi-Town, K.C. Motown to Alabama, L.A., New York Yankee n—-s to Hotlanta.”
Lil’ Kim, “Lighters Up”
This song genre can prove unifying. Lil’ Kim, for example, wants people from L.A, V.A., Texas, and so on to “put ya lighters up” in solidarity.
Sir Mix-A-Lot, “Jump On It”
Sir Mix-A-Lot wants the people of Denver, Columbus, St. Louis and Tacoma to “jump on it, jump on it, jump on it.” (Consider it jumped on).
DJ Khaled, “We Takin Over”
Other rappers rattle off city names as potential future conquests on the battlefield. DJ Khaled, for example, is planning a takeover “from down in Miami where it warm in the winter, on up to Minnesota where it storm in the winter.”
Boyz II Men, “All Around the World”
And finally, Boyz II Men. Let’s be honest — do people actually remember any of the lyrics past “Houston, Phoenix, Carolina…”?