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Maryland’s third biggest city is the muse for some serious sonic output this month.
On June 1, the pseudonymous Rockville Slim released “Rockville Rap,” a goofy turf-defending YouTube video that claims to put both the “rock” and the “ill” back in the titular city. And last Tuesday, beer-bro roots-rock outfit O.A.R. dropped The Rockville LP, an album inspired by the suburb where four of the band’s five members started playing music together as kids. The release is paired with a five-part Web series that follows the group as it revisits its old stomping grounds. “Montgomery County was great to us,” says frontman Marc Roberge in one of the videos. Rockville Slim echoes the sentiment: “Lay it down for MoCo—I’m loco for these streets.”
Not every three-letter acronym band has been so keen on the town. R.E.M.’s 1984 single “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville” depicts a dead-end wasteland full of jerks and schadenfreude. So who gets the last word on MoCo’s county seat? Consider it through these three musical lenses as you prep for your next Rockville Pike drag race.
|The Rockville LP||“(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville”||“Rockville Rap”|
|On Travel||“Feel like it’s time to get in the car, drive down the roads we were raised on, and see what we find out about ourselves”
—Roberge, liner notes
|Looking at your watch a third time/Waiting in the station for the bus||It ain’t all gentrified, just got to know where to go|
|On the Populace||This junky local starts acting like a jerk/Saw him put his hand up Brandy’s skirt||Going where nobody says hello/They don’t
talk to anybody they don’t know
|Seven thousand Russians, all with programming degrees|
|On Love||Said she came from somewhere in the southland/Feels like she was coming straight for me||It’s not as though I really need you/If you were here I’d only bleed you||We got Persians, Sikhs, and Asians up for interracial dating|
|On Education||“[Thomas S. Wootton High School] was a place where I started to feel comfortable in my skin.” —guitarist Richard On, class of ‘97||You’ll wind up in some factory/That’s full-time filth and nowhere left to go||All Wootton S.A.T. scores are super superfly|
|Somewhere that’s warm and safe/A shelter from this
crazy world we’re in
|Walk home to an empty house/Sit around all by yourself||New condos coming up, but their prices coming down|
|Somewhere in the party lights/We’re hiding all our tears tonight||At night I drink myself to sleep||We got our own Hooters and an Ultimate Garage|
|On Other People||Must be a fool like me to be with a fool like you||Everybody else in town only wants to bring you down,
and that’s not how it ought to be
|Human Genome Sciences up in our backyard , so Potomac and Bethesda, we’ll leave your stem cells mad scarred|
|In Sum||“Rockville was the catalyst then, and it’s the catalyst now.”
—Roberge, Web series
|Don’t go back to Rockville and
waste another year
|I’ve been to Paris. It’s just aight. But in Rockville, I can get my omelet eggs white|
Correction: Due to a reporting error, this post originally contained a misspelling of Thomas S. Wootton High School.