A website has compiled a list of favorite songs from every state. They've chosen songs that they believe represent the people from the respective state. While it's an expansive list that's very fun to browse, I'm not quite sure if they nailed the song they chose for the Hawkeye State.

First, I'll set the tone for you. For Illinois, the folks at Stacker selected "Casimir Pulaski Day" (shoutout to my great x~25 uncle) by Sufjan Stevens, a soulful banger if there ever were one. For Wisconsin, they selected the eponymous song by Bon Iver, another solid choice. But for Iowa, however, they selected a catchy tune, but I'm not sure it accurately gives one an idea of how people from the state truly are.

Stacker selected "Iowa Stubborn," a song from Meredith Willson's popular musical The Music Man. The Broadway play was adapted into a 1962 movie, and later, a made-for-TV remake by Disney in 2003. Willson was inspired by his childhood in Mason City, IA, and came up with a number that jovially pokes fun at Iowans for their "chip-on-the-shoulder" attitude. Here's a taste of the lyrics:

Oh, there's nothing halfway
About the Iowa way to treat you
When we treat you
Which we may not do at all
There's an Iowa kind of special
Chip-on-the-shoulder attitude
We've never been without
That we recall
We can be cold
As a falling thermometer in December
If you ask about our weather in July
And we're so by damn stubborn
We could stand touchin' noses - the lyrics to "Iowa Stubborn," per Genius

Willson's lyrics have their tongue firmly planted in cheek, especially when you consider the song ends with the lead character (Robert Preston's Harold Hill) being encouraged to "give Iowa a try." However, I can't help but feel these lyrics describe the attitude of east coast individuals more than the stereotypical Midwestern niceness that is commonly associated with the heartland of America.

I Think I Found a Better Musical Representation of Iowa:

When I think of a quintessential Iowa song, my mind immediately goes to Tom T. Hall's "It Sure Can Get Cold in Des Moines." The late great country singer wrote a simple yet powerfully moving ballad about a man in Des Moines "for a radio show" when the weather was "13 below."

Presumed to be autobiographical, the song tells of a man who stops in a bar for food, but instead treats himself to "two double gins" when he learns the establishment isn't yet serving food. He notices a young woman silently sobbing at a nearby booth, and notes how no one stops to ask her what's wrong, but nobody is complaining about the crying either. "Life is just like that sometimes."

It kind of reminds me of a later song by Merle Haggard called "Chicago Wind," insofar that the temperature of the setting plays a sizable role in the ballad itself. Ultimately, I'm a huge Tom T. Hall fan, but I think "It Sure Can Get Cold in Des Moines" is a better song that's more representative of the persistence found in many Iowans, not to mention Midwesterners as a whole.

See Stacker's full list of famous songs from every state on their website.

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