Joe Biden's Unofficial L.A. Playlist
Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Los Angeles this week; here's an L.A. playlist for the Veep.
Los Angeles begins its week with a visit from D.C.’s coolest dude, and Vice President of the United States of America, Joe Biden. The Veep will reportedly be in town Monday and Tuesday for events that include an afternoon with Mayor Eric Garrcetti in Downtown Los Angeles, and a democratic senatorial fundraiser Monday evening in Beverly Hills.
While many Angelenos will be stuck in the traffic jams to come as a result of road closures spawned by the V.P.’s visit; JB will be straight chilling in a motorcade, taking in the southern California sunshine. (We use the phrase "straight chilling" loosely, of course, as we imagine Biden will continue to take care of business in between public appearances.)
From the shores of Santa Monica to the city skyline, Los Angeles is as much a character in the lives of those who call it home every day as it is on screen.
For years, musicians and songwriters have been inspired to cast the City of Angels as the subject, backdrop, or inciting incident in songs that attempt to represent the mix of emotions this place evokes, and to capture what it feels like to be alive and breathing or lonely and in love in Los Angeles.
Which is why we’ve been able to put together this L.A.-inspired playlist for Biden to bump while driving around our city. The list by no means fully encompasses all the songs inspired by the city, but it will clearly offer Biden a glimpse—or perhaps a listen—into life as it is lived in L.A.
LL Cool J - Going Back to Cali
If he is half the cool he pretends to be, Biden began bumping this LL Cool J classic the moment Air Force One took off from Washington D.C. LL waxes poetic about the palm trees, sunshine, and beautiful women of L.A. Imagine a group of the Vice President’s advisors sitting beside him at 30,000 feet worrying about protocol for bumping their heads along to the beat. The real kicker comes when they wonder if they’ll be called upon to oblige the VP in a trip to “the place, on Sunset…were’s the AC’s cold, and the girls still strip,” upon landing.
X - Los Angeles
This song makes the list in order to remind Biden that there is much more to L.A. than sunshine, palm trees, and beaches: It is a city brimming with diversity and heated feelings of divisiveness. Serving as the title track for the O.G. L.A. punk band’s debut album, “Los Angeles” explores the landscape of 1970s L.A.—a place much different but in some ways, very much the same, as it is today. You don’t have to sing along to the words, Joe, but hear them, man. And play em’ loud!
Warren G. featuring Nate Dogg - Regulate
This one makes it onto this playlist for its relevance and numerous references to Los Angeles. However, the iconic track born in LBC could technically apply to Biden each day in D.C. A reimagined verse from the song goes as follows: “Sixteen in the clip, and a missile from a drone, Barack is about to make some ISIS soldiers turn cold. Now they droppin’ and yellin’, it’s a tad bit late, Obama and Joey B had to regulate.” We’ll leave the songwriting to Nate Dogg (RIP) and Warren G.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge
Again, the subject matter of this song is bleak and was inspired by singer Anthony Kiedis shooting speed underneath one of the picturesque bridges that will carry Biden’s motorcade into downtown L.A. However, out of Kiedis’s struggle with addiction came a song that struck a chord in the hearts of fans worldwide. It was part of what launched the Chili Peppers into the rock and roll pantheon, solidifying the L.A.-based band as ambassadors of the city and the sounds it inspires.
Albert Hammond - It Never Rains in Southern California
While this track eloquently captures a harsh L.A. reality—lamenting the broken dreams of fame and stardom many experience upon arrival in Los Angeles—the title of the song says it all: It never rains in southern California. This serves as both a weather update for the VP—feel free to rock a Dodgers cap, some board shorts, and a light jacket on this autumn L.A. day, bro. But don’t forget that our state is in the midst of the worst drought in recorded history, and we’re thirsty, man. Thirsty for a plan of action that avoids a city-wide water crisis, that is.
The Doors - L.A. Woman
INT. BIDEN HOTEL SUITE. LOS ANGELES. EVENING
We see JOE BIDEN enter screen in silk bathrobe. He carries an unopened bottle of wine in one hand and the sixth studio album from rock band, the Doors, in the other. The sun has just set and Los Angeles becomes a sea of lights, twinkling outside the window. Joe pours the wine—a vintage merlot—into two glasses before calling to Mrs. Biden in the other room. He puts the record on and moves the needle to track number 5: "L.A. Woman."
JOE BIDEN: Jill, why don’t you come in here and help me figure out if we’re experiencing an earthquake. Because this old dog feels like doing some moving and shaking.
Shawn Mullins - Lullaby
While this song is a portrait of growing up in Los Angeles—something its performer knows about all too well—its chorus also perfectly captures the general feeling that comes over us each time Biden takes the stage to speak: “Everything is going to be all right.”
The Decemberists - Los Angeles, I’m Yours
Despite L.A.’s “sweet and bitter taste,” that might have Biden “wretched retching on all fours,” we’re hoping as Air Force One takes off over the Pacific, with the tarmac of LAX and the city streets disappearing beneath him, he’ll join vocalist Colin Meloy in declaring: “Los Angeles, I’m yours.”