"Come a Long Way"
Forget the tour buses, this song gives you a fantastic tour of L.A. in just under five minutes. I'd lived in LA for about a year when this song came out, and I remember the joy I felt when the lyrics kicked into my head and I recognized the sites -- Eagle Rock, San Pedro Bay, Rodeo -- and the cultures -- Pescado Mojado, Watts Towers. She even name checks another favorite L.A. song, "MacArthur Park." Like the lyric says, "You can travel for miles and never leave L.A."
"City of Angels"
Ozomatli IS Los Angeles. It's a potent brew of Latin, funk, punk, hip hop, jazz, folk, you name it made by a multi-culti mix of amazing musicians. It was hard to pick just one song because just about every song they do ("Embrace the Chaos," for example) is about Los Angeles in some way, so I went with the easy choice. This is another song that takes you on a lyrical tour of the city, but a very different tour.
The late '60s/early '70s were an amazing time for the Los Angeles music scene. Singer-songwriters lived in Laurel Canyon and played around the corner on the Sunset Strip or down at the Troubadour. This song captures the hopeful side of all of that. I only discovered it about a year ago via the faded-out original video on YouTube. It's a great song -- due for a remake by somebody like Sara Bareilles or Katy Perry.
"Damn This Traffic Jam"
The downside of Los Angeles -- you don't really know traffic jams until you move here. L.A. history books talk about traffic jams through Cahuenga Pass as far back as the 1920s, so I think the city created them. James Taylor never mentions L.A. in the song, but he wrote this while sitting in PCH traffic going back and forth from home to the recording studio in the mid-'70s.
She never mentions Los Angeles, but so many of us came to Los Angeles from colder quieter places looking for success. We recognize the melancholy and the longing to go back to somewhere slower and more easy going, right after we "make a lot of money, then quit this crazy scene." This song is all about L.A.