I Left My Heart Right Here

Shouting out the year's best Bay Area songs

Bay Area pride runs high in the music scene — even among artists who don't share our ZIP codes. A ridiculously unscientific survey of MySpace reveals that San Francisco alone was a popular destination to add to one's band name. Just ask local hip-hop producer San Francisco Savage, Toronto indie rockers San Francisco Treat, or San Francisco's Burning, a New Jersey metal band that is, to borrow a 2006 catchphrase from celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, simply shiteous.

Keep the Bay Area shoutouts coming, but please note that the best track name-checking our region was already recorded some 40 years back. Nope, we're not talking about Tony Bennett leaving his heart here. The champion — for now and always — is Otis Redding's "The Dock of the Bay."

Still, this year's bay lovers had their moments:

Arctic Monkeys

"Fake Tales of San Francisco"

This young band from Sheffield, England, started off 2006 with a hilarious tune that makes fun of poseurs and their made-up West Coast excursions. The Monkeys are also wrapping up the year with a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album. If they win, the lads should be sure to thank us.

E-40

"Yay Area"

The Vallejo-bred rapper mentions "Northern Califoolya" every chance he gets, but this hit is particularly infectious as it swings over a Digable Planets sample that says, "We be to rap/ What key be to lock."

Josh Kelley

"Almost Honest (San Francisco Version)"

Singer-songwriter Josh Kelley hails from Georgia, and wrote about a romantic road trip from Chicago to Atlanta. Performing the song on our own Alice 97.3 FM, Kelley substituted S.F. for the Windy City in a superior version now featured on his Web site. Chicago to Atlanta isn't all that far, anyway; we're a much better example of the distance one may endure for love.

San Quinn

"Bring Game to the Table"

Heavyweight rap magazine XXL made this song a certified "banger," which means the picky East Coast publication actually liked it. With an irresistible Dirty South-styled instrumental swagger from Atlanta hitmaker DJ Toomp, San Quinn puts the Sucka Free on the national map for one of our darkest talents: "We different/ In Fillmore, we get money out of women."

The Fray

"Out of My Head (Cable Car)"

This pop-rock ditty from a Denver-based, MTV-ready band might actually be about the sort of cable cars that ski resorts employ rather than our quaint little trolleys. But feel free to interpret otherwise, 'cause it's more fun that way.

Rhapsodistas

"(Foe One) Five On It"

In S.F., female rappers are as rare as one-eyed bald eagles, but Rhapsodistas have the cojones to take on tracks by the big boys. "(Foe One) Five On It" riffs off of classic Bay Area joint "I Got Five On It" by the Luniz, and earned our amusement by lyrically taunting those on the other side of the bridge who must pay to enter the city.

MC Hammer

"I Got It From the Town"

From seminal pimp movie The Mack to the current hyphy youth culture, Oakland (aka "the Town") has long been a trendsetter, as MC Hammer notes on this song from the soundtrack to The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. The East Bay: 2 legit 2 quit.

Two Gallants

"16th St. Dozens"

These indie rockers represent the 415 by capturing the essence of one of our most favored seedy streets: "Cops and junkies hurl their sophistries/ ADHD hail cacophony."

 
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