There’s no denying that Dallas has inspired the creation of movies, TV shows and the death of at least one president. So it stands to reason that a city with this unique historical and cultural cachet would go on to produce some muses for some of the most popular (and some obscure) songs of our time. Here are 10 songs you might not have known were written about Dallasites.
“7 Things” by Miley Cyrus
Muse: Nick Jonas
Back when they were a teen couple, Nick Jonas and Miley Cyrus (colloquially known as “Niley”) were elder Gen Z royalty, and this song is their national anthem. In the lyrics, Cyrus describes the seven things she hates about Jonas (his friends, apparently, were "jerks") and the seven things she likes. So maybe it should've been called 14 things. Regardless, NJ took the good and the bad and said he was "flattered" by the song.
“Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
Muse: Selena Gomez
Before Kim and Kanye's divorce, the best example children had of toxic relationships was that of then-teen idol Justin Bieber and Grand Prairie native Selena Gomez. The beloved creative duo of Bieber and Ed Sheeran first joined forces for this jab at Bieber's ex. If you’re one of those people who think people from Dallas are self-obsessed snobs, this may be the song for you. Bieber has not specified that this ode to narcissism was about Gomez (does she really need to use his name to get into clubs, as the lyrics say?) but she does have an Arabic back tattoo that reads "Love yourself first" so the writing was on the wall. Gomez shot back at the Biebs with a song called "Lose You to Love Me."
“American Idiot” by Green Day
Muse: George W. Bush
Former President George W. Bush seemed to be everybody’s muse back in the early aughts. There’s even a terrible compilation album series called Rock Against Bush that expressed punk music’s political dissent. But Green Day’s “American Idiot” is different insofar as it is ambiguous in addressing its intended recipient. It was written for on-again-off-again Dallasite Bush, but it could just as easily be about anyone, so long as they are American and an idiot.
“Shadow” by Ashlee Simpson
Muse: Jessica Simpson
The North Texan Simpson sisters had quite the run in the early 2000s, both in terms of music and absolutely bonkers reality TV moments — like the never-forget time in pop culture when Ashlee was caught lip-syncing on Saturday Night Live. Little sister Ashlee always felt like she played second fiddle to Jessica, though, and this cut from her debut album explores those feelings. Ashlee, of course, won out in the end by sheer virtue of knowing that tuna isn’t chicken.
“Post Malone" by Sam Feldt
Muse: Post Malone
This one’s more of a namedrop than an actual tribute, but what a namedrop it is. “We party like Post Malone.” What does that even mean? Getting crossfaded and watching Stepbrothers? The song by Dutch DJ Sam Feldt suggests the Grapevine-born rapper embodies the spirit of the lyrics "One more drink of one more Bacardi/ One more dance at this after party," and whether it's the case or not, it's still kind of a bop.
“Safe and Sound” by Sheryl Crow
Muse: Owen Wilson
Beloved Dallas actor and human meme Owen Wilson has an entire song about him? "Wow!" After meeting on a film set in 1999, Wilson and Crow dated for a few years. We know this song is about Wilson and not any of the singer's other famous exes (Eric Clapton, Lance Armstrong) because we heard it straight from the crow's mouth.
“Jimmy Neutron” by Bowling for Soup
Muse: Jimmy Neutron
OK, so maybe Jimmy Neutron’s North Texas roots are mostly implied, but when you’re the product of an Irving-based animation studio and your theme song is performed by Denton darlings Bowling For Soup, it’s safe to say you’re at least an honorary Dallasite. Besides, the song slaps too hard for us to not claim it.
“The Light” by Common
Muse: Erykah Badu
Common and Erykah Badu’s past romance is well-documented, but the rapper’s music about the Dallas-based neo-soul artist is still seldom given the attention it is rightfully owed. Case in point, Common’s single “The Light,” a love letter about Badu that was included on the rapper’s 2000 full-length Like Water For Chocolate.
“Buck Owens” by The Melvins
Muse: Buck Owens
This song isn’t actually about anything (very few Melvins songs actually are), but country music legend and Hee Haw series mainstay Buck Owens was from Sherman, and we don’t acknowledge that enough. It’s high time that changes, and this song is the perfect reminder of Owens' service to audiences.
“November 22, 1963” by Stephen Sondheim
Muse: Lee Harvey Oswald
This song asks how soon is too soon to do a musical about the Kennedy assassination (the answer: apparently not 1990). A cut from the musical Assassins, one of the late, great composer Stephen Sondheim’s weirder works, the number gives us a look into the psyche of Kennedy killer Lee Harvey Oswald, who we regret to remind you lived in Dallas.