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Check out the three finalists for St. Petersburg's official city song




Well, it looks like won't have a Flaming Lips-style freakout on our hands as the city of St. Petersburg chooses its official city song.

The city has narrowed its 31 entrants down to three finalists, which you can check out (and vote on) here. Voting ends at midnight Nov. 9, and the winner will get to perform their selection at Ribfest on Nov. 14. Their song will also become St. Pete's official city single, pending approval by the City Council.

And the nominees are:

"Carry Me Back to St. Petersburg" by Charlie Souza and the New Tropics (above, with outgoing mayor Rick Baker): The sounds of the Gulf and Bay give way to an ever-so-slightly tropicalia ode to "boats on the water" and "the shores of sweet Tampa Bay." Think John Mellencamp's Just Another Day mixed with just a hint of Styx and Santana. If you consider Ribfest St. Petersburg's signature cultural event, this is no doubt the song for you.

"I'm Off to St. Pete" by Bob and Bruce Jacobs: This song is clearly designed to appeal to the Jimmy Buffett crowd. It's a calypso-tinged island anthem about Boca Ciega Bay, pretty girls in yellow bikinis and watching the Rays on TV (not in person, as peeved team executives will no doubt note). Oddly, the lead vocalist (can't tell if it's Bob or Bruce) has a bit of a Jonathan Richman-Leonard Cohen thing going on. It also includes the lyric, "I'll be watchin' the grass grow taller / while sippin' a coconut cola." So there's that.

"Life's Sunny & Sweet in St. Pete" by Jeff Arthur: All right! Yacht Rock! If Christopher Cross and Bertie Higgins had collaborated on a Pablo Cruise tribute album -- a concept whose time has truly arrived, in our minds -- this would be Track 1. Arthur, a Clearwater jingle writer, might be considered the favorite, as he composed the old Bucs anthem Hey Hey Tampa Bay. And his lyrics simply scream "official city song": "Who doesn't like the sunshine? Who doesn't like the beach? Livin' in St. Petersburg, it's all within your reach." Watch out, Utica! St. Petersburg is a city on the ... grow!

There's no way around it: This lineup of finalists has an extreme 1970s feel. If this city, which has such a vibrant and creative artistic presence, was looking for a way to appeal to beach-bum Boomers shuffling toward retirement, they've done it. For the rest of us ... well, there's always this.

Click here to listen to the songs and cast your vote.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:14pm]


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