Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Music and Misery #6 - 5

Let's get back to the old misery list. From our friends at Forbes magazine, the 20 most miserable cities in the US. Don't worry folks, in fairness I have come up with my own list of Canadian misery which I will post after the US countdown.

6. Miami, Florida
Finally! A warm weather city on this list. Population 362,470 with a metro area (Miami-Dade County) of 5,414,712. Unemployment rate of 11.8%, the highest since 1975. Despite a huge condo/housing boom that peaked in 2005, in 2007 the housing market crashed and more than 23,000 condos were for sale and/or foreclosed. Foreclosures hit 7.2% of homes in 2009, 10th worst in the U.S. And people live far away from their jobs, with Miami being in the bottom 10% of cities when it comes to commute times. Forbes vaguely states that Miami has problems with violent crime, but none of the statistics that I can find have Miami in the top 10 of anything. Local corruption seems to run rampant: a quick Google search shows an article from today's Miami Herald about city commissioners resigning and being fired for using federal grant money for personal gain (Another Miami Corruption Mess). But hey, at least Florida has no personal state income tax.

Interesting useless piece of trivia: In 2004, the United Nations Development Program ranked Miami first in terms of percentage of residents born outside of the country it is located in (59%), followed by Toronto (50%). And yes, I fall into that 50%.

About this time last year I partied my ass off in South Beach, and had an incredible time. Loved it! Danced my ass off to some great Latin beats. I am not usually into this type of music, but Miami may lead the world in Latin/Caribbean music. Miami also has a tremendous electronica/dance scene, not to mention a thriving rap/hip-hop community.

I don't have a lot of Miami-based musicians in my personal collection, but disco was hot in Miami in the 70s. "Do a little dance, make a little love...."

KC and the Sunshine Band - Get Down Tonight.mp3
Buy: KC and the Sunshine Band (1975, reissued 2006)

No. 5 Flint, Michigan
Its gotta be rough being from a city where, when one does a Google search, the first thing that comes up is "hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz." Population 124,943, with a metro area of 443,883. A March 2010 unemployment rate of 16.9%, well above the national average of 9.7%. Flint used to thrive off of the automotive industry, with GM employing 80,000 workers at its peak in 1978, of which only 8,000 GM jobs remain. Flint native Michael Moore documented the fall of the auto industry in the 80s in the film Roger and Me, and by definition, anything associated with Michael Moore must be miserable. For 2008, the FBI reported that Flint was number one in the nation in total per capita violent crime for cities with a population between 100,000 and 250,000. The city of Flint is buying up and demolishing thousands of abandoned homes in order to curb crime and reduce city services to a level where the population can sustain it. The area received $25 million in stimulus funds from the federal government to help with the plan. There has been negative population growth since the 1970 census, with the city losing roughly 40% of its population in the last 40 years.

There are two bands from Flint that immediately jump out at me. One is new to me, and one is a classic.

Whitey Morgan and the 78s - Another Round.mp3
Buy: Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels (2008)

How many bad-ass country bands come out of Flint? This is a new one for me, and it kicks ass! They were recently signed to Bloodshot Records and will have a new album out in late summer 2010.

Grand Funk Railroad - Sin's a Good Man's Brother.mp3
Buy: Closer to Home (1970, reissued 2002)

The quintessential American Band!

1 comment:

SteveA said...

I'm not a huge fan of Miami = it's traffic, loads of rude people, crazy folks everywhere, and the city looks a bit dated.....OK - I lived in Fort Lauderdale for a while, and I love it there. I am in Miami so many times of the time...but South Beach in my opinion is one of the most fun places to be!

So Grand Funk is from Flint? Love them! I have their first four albums on Vinyl!