Recently, Spotify began tracking the most “uniquely” popular songs for cities all across America. In other words, these songs are more popular in these Texas cities relative to every other city.
The absence of major artists on the list doesn’t mean they aren’t popular in the cities; San Antonio still loves its resident King George. But these songs represent a level of notable popularity for the smaller acts in each city.
Some of the results are pretty expected. For instance, you’re much more likely to find fans of Spanish-speaking artists in El Paso, Aggies in College Station, rappers in Houston and critical darlings in Austin. Here are some of the most popular songs in each Texas city and what they say about the fine folks who reside there. Just remember to take it all in fun, y’all.
Austin — “40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)” by Bob Schneider
Bob Schneider is Austin’s resident songwriter, thanks to his prolific pen and his legendary residency at local listening room The Saxon Pub. Much like Austin, Schneider is a little quirky. He also had brushes with mainstream success but never quite made the jump. He’s fiercely independent and also totally cool with being Austin famous. Which, to the not so humble residents of Austin, is all that matters.
College Station — “We Bleed Maroon” by Granger Smith
Surprise of the century: it turns out the Aggies like to listen to other Aggies. Texas is a diverse place, but just about everybody can agree the folks out in College Station have a… special bond. Former Aggie Granger Smith penned a love song to the town about literally bleeding for A&M, and it turns out they love it.
Dallas — “My Texas” by Josh Abbott Band featuring Pat Green
“My Texas” is a laundry list of all the things that makes Texas so darn Texas-y, but it still kind of feels like it’s challenging your Texas-dom. It certainly thins the heard of “true Texans,” at least by its standards. It might be just a little bit better than you, and it might not quite be the most mainstream, but it hangs out with the folks who are (thanks to the Pat Green feature). In other words, it’s perfect for Dallas.
El Paso — “Tendencias” by Sonora Skandalo
Well, it makes sense that a city with a large Spanish-speaking population loves Conjunto music. However, the subject matter of “Tendencies” will throw you for a loop. Basically, it’s about a cross-dressing man. It proves that, just as the rest of Texas suspects, El Paso is definitely doing its own thing out there.
Fort Worth — “Soul Shop” by Prophets and Outlaws
Prophets and Outlaws is a blue-eyed soul band laced with country flare. It makes perfect sense that Fort Worthians love them, since they have long argued the city has much more soul than nearby big brother Dallas. But it also proves the best way to get Fort Worth on board is to dress it up in boots so it’s easier to digest (unlike those calf fries).
Houston — “Tops Drop” by Fat Pat
Houston loves its rap scene. And it should — some huge artists have come from the area, including Fat Pat, a founding member of the Screwed Up Click (SUC) and an architect of Southern rap. The song, much like Houstonians, professes its love for the town. Houston has to fight its fair number of critics, but the townspeople just keep doing their thing. Just like Houston rap.
Lubbock — “Sympathy” by William Clark Green
Lubbock has one of the most rich musical histories in Texas, but the town tragically tried to bury it before embracing it. It took 20 years after his death to put up a Buddy Holly statue with funds that were privately raised (through a concert) because the city wouldn’t pay for it. William Clark Green spent time in Lubbock and is finally getting some recognition as a Texas country/Americana sweetheart. Maybe, just maybe, Lubbockites are ready to recognize their musical heritage while it’s still growing in front of them.
San Antonio — “In My Arms Instead” by Randy Rogers Band
San Antonio is certainly one of the most beloved cities by country artists. Countless songs reference “San Antone.” Yet for some reason, the city falls flat when it comes to putting its historically relevant musical chops on display. One of the most beautiful and touching Randy Rogers Band songs, “In My Arms Instead” is a song about longing to have that special someone in real life, not just your imagination. Given how San Antonio has recently tried to steal South by Southwest and other festivals from nearby Austin, it’s fitting that the town loves a song about wishing it had something it doesn’t.
Waco — “Relentless Love” by Antioch Live
This one is a bit of a head scratcher, until you realize that Antioch Live is the church band from one of the largest churches in Central Texas, the Antioch Community Church. Antioch services reach more than 3,000 Waco-ites every weekend which, along with Baylor football, is among the most-attended events in town. Leave it to Waco to prove the old “God and football” stereotype true.