What if you Googled yourself? Online you find books, movies, tv shows, poetry — all about you. There is endless information about you on the internet, but you didn’t put any of it out there and you didn’t have a say in your portrayals.
People like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and LCD Soundsystem have written songs about you. People. Heart. You. (You know this because of an iconic t-shirt.) You are New York City, and no one ever asked you what you have to say for yourself. But if they did, you might say something like:
“I may not be the most loquacious or well spoken of all the metropolitan statistical areas But speaking on behalf of myself, I’d like to clear the air about some things Like for example, when you insinuate that I am ‘a character in and of itself’ I believe that to a certain extent denies me my proper agency.”
These are lyrics from the song “I Just Googled Myself,” by the New York City-based band Recalculating. “I think it’s fair to say that the inspiration came from thinking about all the songs, movies, books, etc. written or made about New York City – or where NYC is part of the background – and wondering what it would sound like if the city itself had something to say about it,” the band responded about writing this song. “The idea just kind of unspooled from there. We’ve definitely written a lot of songs about places and, eventually, it kind of occurred to us that the places themselves don’t always have a lot say about how they are portrayed.”
It’s a right of passage for NYC bands to write a song about the city itself. Once you understand what all the other songs are about, you know that there is still more to say.
Recalculating’s addition is a refreshing commentary on the over saturation of this songwriting tradition.
The song captures what it feels like to be in the city without describing it. If you walk in time to the drums you’d be walking as fast as a New Yorker. Sometimes still tripping over the sidewalk. Try it. It feels like you have somewhere to be, because you do.
Your thoughts as fast as the bassline. Outside noises like the guitar, sometimes blending in with your own rhythm, sometimes disrupting it. Talking fast, almost yelling. Sometimes screaming along with others. But always taking it all in.
The biography of the city is already thick, and you’ve still got your story to tell. But does New York City even live up to itself? It probably doesn’t, only because others speak for it. Don’t Google yourself New York City. You’re better off IRL, not URLs.