I’ve never been a fan of Hall & Oates. It’s not that I dislike them, I’ve just never thought much about them, period. And I’d never heard of Train, the band that co-wrote this tune. But my favorite radio station started playing it a lot earlier this year, and it gives me feelings. I used to live in the Philly area, and for years afterward I spent a lot of time in that city, and talked endlessly about moving (back) there one day. Life has a funny way of mucking up your plans, though, and now I haven’t even visited The City of Brotherly Shove in over a decade. (Hashtag homesick, hashtag brb crying forever.)
“Philly Forget Me Not” is a poppy, upbeat, horn-driven tune about something I’m well-versed in: missing Philadelphia. The crux of the lyrics is this line: You ain’t always sunny honey / But you love me back. Yeah, they referenced It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — doubly perfect because of that episode where Charlie is convinced that Hall & Oates is one guy named Holland Oates. And the But you love me back part is equally important — some cities (to paraphrase Nelson Algren) leave you loving them for keeps despite knowing they can never love you, but a city that loves you back is a rare and precious thing.
Fifteen years ago, a pal of mine made me a mixtape called (Mis)representing Philly. Side A was titled cheese steaks, water ice, South St.; Side B was Trocadero, Eve, tastycakes. All the songs were by Philly-area bands, and/or were about Philadelphia. If it had existed back then, this fun, funky little jam by Hall & Oates & Train would’ve fit right in.
(Song recommendation by Jessie Lynn McMains)