When we first heard “This City”, the new single from Patrick Stump‘s forthcoming solo album Soul Punk, we realized it was entering an exclusive club. The song, which premiered on the A.V. Club and features Lupe Fiasco, is an ode to the city of Chicago, an underheralded American metropolis if there ever was one (musically, anyway). Certainly, the Second City has its regional anthems, like the Chicago-house dyad of “Can You Feel It” and “The Percolator” (not to mention Frankie Knuckles tracks like “Your Love,” which was sampled for Animal Collective‘s “My Girls”) and the gotta-dance juke-gone-pop freakout of Dude ‘N Nem‘s “Watch My Feet.” But while New York City, for example, has been a musical muse to practically everyone from Tin Pan Alley to the present (including the band Chicago), the city of Chicago is, for its size, lacking in crowd-unifying refrains.
Which is not to say that there are none. Chicagoans need not resort to the Chi-town rework of LMFAO‘s “I’m In Miami, Trick”; there is a small but significant pantheon of Chicago songs, which Stump’s new single joins:
5. Sufjan Stevens, “Chicago”
The centerpiece of Sufjan Stevens‘s 2005 concept album about Illinois, aptly titled Illinois, “Chicago” quickly became a fan favorite that closed out the artist’s live sets, despite never being a “single” as such. Stevens would release three alternate versions of the song on the b-sides collection The Avalanche. The song resonated outside the city as well: Snow Patrol mentioned the song in the lyrics of their own “Hands Open,” Little Miss Sunshine featured the song on its soundtrack, and Chiddy Bang sampled it for “All Things Go.”