Top 20 best Minnesota songs: #20-11

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Countless songwriters have found inspiration in the Land of 10,000 Lakes over the years, and even more have hit upon something revelatory about Minnesota without ever becoming full-time residents. Sometimes these songs are backhanded compliments, and some are full-on gushfests set to shove "Hail! Minnesota" to the curb. Here are our picks for the finest of the umpteen tracks that wouldn't be the same without, ya know, us. --Reed Fischer




20. "Minneapolis" - The Ray Charles Singers

It's hard not to feel a little warm and fuzzy listening to this bubbly little number. By the first couple of bars, it's clear that this 1966 track does not feature the voice of the most famous man ever named Ray Charles -- the one once portrayed by Jamie Foxx in a feature film, the drinker of Diet Pepsi, and the one frequently nicknamed "the Genius." Instead, this Ray Charles is an accomplished songwriter from Chicago who also wrote "We're Gonna Win Twins" and the theme from Three's Company. (He did not, however, write The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme "Love Is All Around," which could've very well made this list too.) Here, "each season brings a new discovery," and this was easily enough to win a contest held by the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce. A bit more of Charles' story is found on the Hymie's Vintage Records blog, and special thanks to Hymie's for providing the audio. --Reed Fischer



19. "Minnesoter" - The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols' Courtney Taylor-Taylor must have really known a girl from Minnesota and possibly embarked on quite a strange relationship with her. "With her shirt off, man her skin's soft/but in a mood, she'd rather if I jerked off" he says in one passage, illustrating the passive-aggressive nature of the natives here pretty well -- maybe it takes an outsider's perspective to explain that state-wide quirk so succinctly. This garage-rock gem is more fun to sing along with than just about anything else you can think of, and though they hail from Portland, any Minnesota mixtape you're thinking about making is incomplete without this song on it. --Pat O'Brien



18. "10,000 Lakes" - Kid Dakota

Darren Jackson has more power pop in his pinky than most of us do in our entire bodies, but he unplugs and slows things down on this pensive, wintry (in every sense of that word) offering from 2004's The West Is the Future. "I didn't come for ice fishin, I didn't come for duck huntin'/I'm not Scandinavian or in search of Paul Bunyan," he sings, and if you didn't come to Minnesota for those things it can seem incredibly isolating here at times, especially during the winters, which bring on those feelings of isolation tenfold, regardless of your pastimes. This song makes you want to don a parka even if it's 85 and sunny and, like Jackson, the thought of 10,000 lakes makes us feel smaller, too, but maybe those lakes are what keeps Minnesotans humble. --Pat O'Brien
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12 comments
Milkywind
Milkywind

What about "Minneapolis" by that dog. I think these kinds of top 10s and 20s make no sense. Good songs are never on here. 

tylerpage
tylerpage

No "minneapolis" by That Dog???

Nate Dogg
Nate Dogg

Um... sorry I can't give any credence to a sing list of this variety that doesn't include the Minnesota Song by White Iron Band.

Decievious Leroy Johnston Jr.
Decievious Leroy Johnston Jr.

Since this is a list about songs about Minnesota, why not just make it easy and just list every Prince song pre-Around The World In A Day.  After all, all of those songs were about him fucking women in Minnesota.

Bernie Street
Bernie Street

Well, if "Escapade" by Janet Jackson qualifies I certainly expect a couple of votes for the following:Lee Greenwood: "Proud To Be An American" Soundgarden: "Outshined"KDWB 101.3: "We're Going to Miami"

thebimbocoles
thebimbocoles

"Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis" by Tom Waits will be number 1. Right?

T_bone1001
T_bone1001

Come on Guys, The Real Ray Charles did not write "We're Gonna Win Twins"! it was a different one.  Check your facts.  Even thinking about it is ludacris!

Guest
Guest

Tbone, read it again. He says it's not the Ray Charles Jamie Foxx played... meaning, if you listen to the song, it's clear it's not the REAL Ray Charles.

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