1. The Dresden Dolls are from Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Dog is from West Grove, Pennsylvania. Josh Ritter was born in Moscow, Idaho. Wolf Parade is from Canada.
2. None of the artists are from California. Both songs named “California” take more of a romantic approach to describe the state. While “Shores of California” and “California Dreamer” are harsher in their descriptions–whether it be about their experience in or because of the state.
3. All of the songs have a different sound.The Dresden Dolls’ “Shores of California” is easy to listen to. Her voice is almost breathy as she is singing which gives the song a weird and fun vibe to it. I felt calm and peaceful while listening to “California” by Dr. Dog; it reminded me of a song sung around a campfire or on the log ride at Disneyland. However, Josh Ritter’s “California” sounded heartbreaking yet sweet; it is a simple and beautiful arrangement. Wolf Parade’s “California Dreamer” sounds like it came from a dream–it feels almost chaotic.
4. The California that Dr. Dog is singing about is the home that the heart longs for: “true love in your heart/like a flame in the dark.” While Josh Ritter sings of the promise that the myth claims he is longing for the love he left behind. “California Dreamer” takes the side of the left behind–it depicts what is left behind when people pack up and move to California to fulfill their dreams that the sunny state starts. I am a little stuck on what the Dresden Dolls are trying to say about California in “Shores of California”–do they blame California for setting this behavior as the status quo, are they saying that California is just like Minnesota and Oklahoma, or are they saying that California is nothing like those two states?
5. Josh Ritter’s “California” speaks to me the most because of the beautiful music and the heartbreaking promise that is left on the line: “no don’t cry/I’ll bring the sun to shine/in your eyes/on your shoulders.” I also love the line “I’m alone but I’m not lonely” because I am used to hearing songs about the opposite–how people feel so alone i a crowd full of people.