If California is so progressive, why haven’t they updated their state song in nearly three-quarters of a century? The current anthem, “I Love You, California” was written in 1913 by Francis Beatty Silverwood and that dude definitely can’t skate. Quite frankly, we think it’s about time the land of fruit, honey, and wine became the land of keeping up with the times. Currently, Santa Cruz’s hardcore darlings Drain are embodying all that the Golden State has to offer. We’re pretty sure everyone unanimously agrees that they should take the reins of ushering in a new generation to the West Coast. Time to open up that motherfucking pit and look at 15 of their songs that we think should replace the California State Anthem. (Listen to the playlist as you read.)
“I Love You, California” features exactly zero pinch harmonics. You know what song features several in addition to the nastiest fucking bass tone you’ve ever heard? Fucking “Devil’s Itch,” that’s what. Also, if that breakdown doesn’t get you so goddamn jacked about the Bear Flag that you do a spin kick through a wall, likely nothing will.
“The Other Side of Paradise”
The last time we were at Cowell Beach, we played this song at full volume on our Bluetooth speaker. A nearby seagull got so fucking pumped he almost beat a sand crab to death with its own claw. The brutal thrashing only stopped when the song got to the sample of “What the World Needs Now Is Love” at the end. Needless to say, this track has something for everybody. Isn’t that what an anthem is supposed to be about?
“Run Your Luck”
Forget the supply chain shortage, what this country is actually running low on is official state songs with multiple drum breaks. California could lead the charge and help heal our nation by adopting this absolute barn-burner of a track, or they could keep the current one and make everything worse. It’s really up to the state legislature at this point. Make the right choice, y’all.
“Don’t Believe the Hype”
There’s a lot to love about California. From idyllic beaches to devastatingly gorgeous natural wonders, the Golden State seems to have it all. Unfortunately, that also means it has a lot of fucking tourists. Those yuppie fucks ruin everything, so why not pick an anthem that undersells the state’s appeal? The Freeze did it with “I Hate Tourists” and it’s the unofficial anthem of Cape Cod.
“Couldn’t Care Less”
The intro to this one has a similar oom-pah beat to some of the more orchestrated versions of the current state song, so it would be a pretty easy transition for the public. Once that familiarity settles in, though, buckle up for a verse structure that’s heavier than the Golden Gate Bridge. Plus, this one is definitely fitting for the stereotypical carefree attitudes of average Californians.
“The Process of Weeding Out”
California has had legal weed for a while now, and you wouldn’t know it by how little they advertise that fact. Why not lean into it with an appropriately titled and officially endorsed regional song of praise? We’re pretty sure this song has nothing to do with smoking weed, but casual listeners can’t understand what lead singer Sammy Ciaramitaro is saying anyway. Plus, anytime you smoke a joint it should be called “Weeding out.”
“Today Is Mine”
California has always been defined by how big its residents dream. The go-to attitudes of the hordes of people who flock to the state with big dreams of making it big before landing lofty careers in the service industry need a fitting song to pair with their ambitions. Why shouldn’t it be “Today Is Mine”? It’s a song as inspiring as it is heavy. “I Love You, California” doesn’t even have gang vocals.
We’re beginning to think that maybe Drain’s music is too heavy to be considered palatable for an entire state’s anthem. Much like a nervous student attempting to get into Stanford, we think we might need a safety. This track is an instrumental, the guitars sound like the desert, mentions an actual city within the state, and is under two minutes long. It should be a shoe-in if the powers that be want to be more wide-reaching, even though we personally think they should tell any haters to eat sand.
We know, we know. Maybe it’s not a great idea to suggest your state curses people in its anthem. On the other hand, maybe it’s sick as fuck. Do you really want to risk it, California? Do you want to look sick as fuck or do you want to look like some dweeb that would get absolutely shitkicked in the pit? Well? Which is it?
“Good Good Things”
There’s too much negativity in the world these days. Seems that we all only hear about very bad bad things. California could brighten the entire country’s morale by pivoting from a boring anthem no one’s even heard to a cover of one of Descendents’ most uplifting tracks. It appeals to young an old people alike, who says no to this?
Californians get a lot of shit. They’re hippies. They’re dirty surfer people. Their streets are too hilly in places like San Francisco. All of it is pretty unfair, and most critics are just jealous because they live in, like, Idaho, or some shit. Because of this, it only seems fitting that the state should pick a regional hymn that ‘throws it back in their faces.’ Also, there’s an incredibly prominent cowbell in this one, and like… Is it really an anthem without a cowbell?
“Army of One”
The fabled “California Dream” is as old as time, or at least as old as whenever the moniker was coined during the Gold Rush. For some, California is where the dream goes to die, but for others, notably Drain, it is where it is allowed to flourish. To help bolster the image of the latter, the state should take notes from the lyrical content of this song and tell those not serious about their goals to get fucked by making this one their official theme.
“Watch You Burn”
Remember when the Trump administration almost refused to give California Federal Disaster Relief funds during the wildfires of 2020? California sure as fuck remembers. The state would do well by adopting an anthem that ensures this will never happen again by turning Ciaramitaro’s lyrics into a vague threat against whatever administration tries to pull that shit when it inevitably happens again.
“Feel the Pressure”
Tragic natural disasters aside, did you know California has some of the most stable barometric pressure readings in the entire country? Quite frankly, we don’t think people are making as big of a deal out of this as they should. This song isn’t just a great track to serve as the state’s signature song, it could also make a great tagline for the region: “Come to California and Feel the Pressure™, tell ’em Sammy sent ya.”
“Trapped In My Head”
If you’ve never been to California, you probably aren’t aware that it is required that every citizen of the state must be able to land a kickflip convincingly or be forced to move to Nevada. “Trapped In My Head” is the type of song that would have been featured on every single Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack if it had been released in time. To honor both this tragic example of bad timing and the state’s rich and vibrant skate culture, we are demanding that every city in California start playing this one at full volume before every Town Hall meeting immediately.
Photo by Ryan Baxley.