So every week I try to find a fitting song for a state. The song has to have the state name in the title, and it has to be about the state itself, not a city, not a mountain, not a woman the songwriter will always remember there at least until the next tour. Some states are pretty easy. Everybody loves to sing about California and how awesome it is. Other states are Iowa.
The state: Iowa
The song: "Iowa" by Alli Rogers
(I couldn't find a video, so please forgive this awful myspace player)
I've never been to Iowa. I hope to scratch all 50 states off my travel list at some point in life, but I have to admit that states like Iowa are kind of low on my list. It's nothing against Iowa personally; I don't know enough about it to dislike it. But I also don't know enough to want to visit. So Iowans, feel free to take to the comments and tell me what I'm missing (side note: never have I enjoyed the responses to this article as much as I did the folks from Indiana, who with a collective shrug basically said, "Yeah. If you weren't from here I don't know why you'd want to visit." You guys are as honest as you are humble, and I think that's awesome. I hope everyone's safe after that stage collapse.)
People from states like Iowa are a lot like people from states like Indiana. Or Illinois, for that matter. We're the flyover states. We know you big city, coastal, liberal elites don't give a damn. You can sit there and mock us for our fanny packs and love of primetime television, but that's just your loss. Because you'll never know the beauty of a sunset over a cornfield, you'll never see how bright the stars really are when the nearest city is 25 miles away and only has 1300 people anyway, and you'll miss out on the thrill of surviving a giant electrical storm crackling across the plains. This song does a great job to me of conveying the spirit that a lot of Midwesterners carry with them their entire lives. We might move away, we might not make it back home, but that experience makes you a different person.
Iowa: 1. "Enlightened" West Coast Elites: 0
Moving on: a lifetime ago I was working through college at a collection agency and I was assigned to a specific client based in Iowa. Calling people who either don't have the money to pay their bills or don't want to pay their bills even if they HAVE the money is as soul-crushing as you'd expect, but in my time there I learned two things from the good folks I called: 1. Iowa gets its name from the phrase "I owe-a everybody," and "Our trees bend North because Minnesota sucks." So you guys might struggle to pay your bills, but you don't let it get you down, and I respect that.
Iowa, I dig your song. I hope you do, too. Let me know what you think.
Got a better suggestion? Want to start putting in ideas for next week's state, Kansas? Get to commenting!
Runner-Up: "Iowa" by Dar Williams
Most Laughable Suggestion: "Iowa" by Slipknot
Flickr photo Iowa City Pride by Alan Light used under a Creative Commons License.