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State Songs

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State Songs album cover
State Songs
Studio album by John Linnell
First released October 26, 1999
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 16
Label Rounder / Zoë <01143-1005-2> Length 45:10


Back cover
CD artwork
For the five song 1994 Hello Recording Club EP by John Linnell, see State Songs (EP).

State Songs is John Linnell's first and only full-length solo album, released in 1999. It features sixteen songs, with fifteen of them named after (but not actually about) U.S. states, and one song that attempts to explain the album's concept.

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Description[edit]

From All Things Considered 1999.10.12:

Publicity material: "John Linnell, one half of the conspicuous rock duo with John Flansburgh, They Might Be Giants, has created his first solo album. Find out why critics are already hailing State Songs as an album that's big as all outdoors and all over the map."
Linnell: "I decided to start writing songs with the name of the states as a way of avoiding having to come up with song titles. I suddenly had fifty song titles and I could write fifty songs based on that. This is always one of my problems with writing lyrics is I'm just so lazy I don't want to have to think up all the words and what it means. ... It's just a way to create more music without having to get bogged down in verbal ideas."
Linnell: "One other reason I was interested in writing state anthems is because I like the style they usually employ in state anthems. Sort of archaic and kind of square."
Q: "You call this sort of a 'Ringo Walk' project."
A: "That's a term we've really been beating to death recently. It refers to the part of the movie A Hard Days Night where Ringo is walking around by himself and they're playing 'This Boy'. It's this special Ringo moment in the movie where he realizes he doesn't need his friends and he just wants to walk around on his own. John and I realized that, you know, we all need those times. ... [H]e really liked this record."
Linnell: "I don't think that the songs are liable to be adopted as the state anthems of the actual states, sadly. I was thinking initially that that might be a nice thing, but thinking about it I think songs like 'Oregon is bad' are not likely to go down very well in Oregon."

Track listing[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Illinois 1:23

 

2 The Songs Of The 50 States 2:24

 

3 West Virginia 3:32

 

4 South Carolina 3:46

 

5 Idaho 2:38

 

6 Montana 3:14

 

7 Pennsylvania 1:02

 

8 Utah 2:34

 

9 Arkansas 3:27

 

10 Iowa 2:54

 

11 Mississippi 2:16

 

N/A
12 Maine 2:07

 

13 Oregon 1:49

 

14 Michigan 1:14

 

15 New Hampshire 2:50

 

16 Nevada 7:58

 


Trivia[edit]

  • One of the accordions that John Linnell used for this album was a miniature Gretsch, which he found at a flea market.[1]