The Six Worst Songs Ever Written About Miami

Stick to the Keys, Jimmy Buffett.
Stick to the Keys, Jimmy Buffett.
Photo by Sayre Berman

Here's a pattern worth noting: None of the band's on this list are actually from Miami. It's hard to do justice via song to a place you see only once a year in person or once a week on HBO through the eyes of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Look, famous musicians. We're glad you enjoyed your vacation here. But you don't have to write us a song. Seriously. We're good with just your money. Now prepare for an earache. 

6. Randy Newman, "Miami"

Sometimes it feels like Randy Newman is literally making songs up as he goes. For example: the first three lines of every verse of this tune: "There's a girl over there/With the rhythm everywhere/She's a very fine girl." Or, "Gee, I love Miami/It's so nice and hot/And every building's so pretty and white." Or, "There's a man over there/With the conk in his hair/He's a very bad man." These lyrics all sound like Randy Newman wrote them after being woken up at 4 a.m. and told he had two minutes to write a song or a million kittens would get diarrhea. In "Miami," Randy Newman pulls off the difficult task of sounding like he genuinely loves Miami while also sounding like he's never even been here. Like, when he says, "Best dope in the world, and it's free!" What? Hold up. Either Randy Newman knows a magical place in Miami where people give you free weed or Randy Newman does not know what weed is, and, one can only assume, has been smoking actual grass that he finds in the ground. Also, this song comes from an album called Trouble in Paradise, and track one on that album is called "I Love L.A." Damn, Randy! Can't you even try to be sneaky? You don't have to make it so obvious that we're your side chick.

5. John Mellencamp, "Miami"

If ever there was a musician less equipped to write a song about Miami, it's John Mellencamp. What, was Ted Nugent too busy calling antelope racial slurs? Did Donny Osmond have the flu? This ode to the women of Miami was doomed from the start, when Mellencamp creepily explains, "Well I hear in Miami they have a lot of girls who toast their flesh in the sun." OK, John. Who's your source on that one? Jeffrey Dahmer? The song somehow manages to get even weirder when Mellencamp says, "I know you're nowhere near twenty/But I ain't the kind to kiss and tell, or tell lies." Easy, buddy. Does Chris Hansen play the bass? Because we need someone to keep an eye on ol' Johnny Mellencamp over here, chasing teenage girls through the hotel lobbies of Miami. 

4. Jimmy Buffett, "Everybody's Got a Cousin in Miami"

Who better to capture the plight of the immigrant than Jimmy Buffett? Literally everybody, that's who. What an odd, seven-minute musical journey this tune takes us on. The opening scene starts with a group of Cuban immigrants risking their lives to get to America (to a very cheery soundtrack, nonetheless), and the last verse ends with Buffett hungover in Coconut Grove. This song is, I guess, about the fact that most people seem to have a cousin in Miami. And that cousin is usually involved in some sort of illegal activity. There's also a weird bridge toward the end where Buffett attempts to give a brief history lesson of Miami and says the city used to be run by pirates, which, I'm pretty sure, isn't true, but I also don't know enough about Miami pirate history to definitively say so. Also, the intro to this song features a lot of whistles. What's with people thinking we all have whistles in Miami? You could give me a week and I still couldn't find one person who owns a whistle. Toward the end of the tune, Jimmy gleefully declares, "In one way or the other we're all refugees." That sounds nice, but when's the last time someone asked to see your papers, Jimmy?



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