For Chart, who long ago gave up the dream of being a rock star, this is better than a million stunning sunsets, even though he hasn't made a plug nickel for his work. In fact, he's in the hole several thousand dollars for production costs, but he's not complaining. He said he was in a grocery store recently when a woman asked if he was the guy in the video.
"I think people are diggin' it," said Chart. "You gotta read these comments on YouTube. People are saying, 'Oh my gosh, I never realized how beautiful our city was.' "
Well, there isn't much of the underbelly on display, or, as some might argue, the very layers that make Los Angeles chaotically, addictively and gloriously distinct. The Watts Towers, Whittier Boulevard and the intersection of 109th and Broadway make cameos in a couple of Chart's videos, but that's about the extent of it.
Among the videos, my personal favorite is the Latin dance version, in which it looks like Albert Brooks (Chart has curly red locks) has joined a salsa band. And then there's the Spanish version of the original, which is called, "Los Angeles la Cancion." Chart said a friend helped him with his Spanish pronunciation for that number.
"I still sound like a white guy speaking Spanish," said Chart. "But I think I nailed it."
"I said, 'I wrote this song for Los Angeles.' And he said, 'You know, we need one. Can you get it to me?' "
Chart, like a lot of us, is still waiting for the mayor to come through.
One of his greatest challenges in writing the songs, said Chart, was finding anything that rhymes with Los Angeles. Arlo Guthrie found a way around that by changing the pronunciation of L.A. In his song, he's "coming into Los Ang–a–leeze, bringing in a couple of keys."
Justin "Top of the" Chart finally stumbled on his own solution: rhyming "trust" with "es," as in: "We all bring our trust, to Los Angeles," as well as the aforementioned "be with the best, in Los Angeles."
If you think you can do better, I hereby invite one and all to give it a try. Come on, it's L.A. There must be a couple hundred thousand unemployed musicians out there at any given time, looking for something to do besides drinking coffee at King's Road Cafe.
Write and record your song, post the video on YouTube and send me a link.
I promise to share the best.
In Los Angel-es.
Think you can do better? Record your attempt at an anthem that’s fit for Los Angeles, upload it to YouTube or SoundCloud and send Steve Lopez a link via email firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @latstevelopez.