Bridge Dog’s “San Francisco” begins with a sweet, cherry-infused, upbeat electric guitar, a positive energy so present it could turn any bad day around. What first sounds similar to The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love” turns into something completely unique as the lyrics begin. Bridge Dog, a twee duo based in Sydney, Australia, starts this single with a carefree, introspective story about a young couple driving up and down the hills of San Francisco, looking for a place to rest for the night.
“The rain is still falling
We’re seeking a place
Where we can be idle
Through nights led astray
But cavities line all of the motorways
So we’ll pull off and sleep in the car
Can’t afford to stay”
The imagery of the rain creates the mood and tone of listening to good music on a foggy, rainy day in the car, as the singers look for a place to park on the San Francisco streets. The sense of not having enough money to stay overnight somewhere set to the easy going guitar chords creates a feeling of freedom rather than stress, as the music and lyrics give us the sense that everything’s alright.
“We were crossing the bridge
And jumped down into the bay
But when the sirens would call
We said it must be L.A”
As the chorus follows, it’s as if the two have rolled down the windows in the car and are singing out with no cares in the world, hair blowing in the wind.
“Oh, to be in love in San Francisco”
And yet, maybe that perfect moment was just a brief dream. Suddenly, by the lyrics, we’re brought into a new scene like a movie cut, as we hear of their car being stolen and driven off a roof by a kid.
“When thеy took off with our car
They drove it off of a roof
They wеre only a kid
Somebody’s baby too
The streetlights would pool
In frostbitten blue”
This brings a creative tension into the song in terms of storyline. There’s a new feeling of chaos and danger, but a lack of care about it, and a no-need to dwell on it attitude with the lyrics, “We could have died on the street/But at least it was beautiful.” The song goes on with the same cherry guitar feel, and the chorus repeating almost endlessly:
“Oh, to be in love in San Francisco.”
As the song “San Francisco” ends, the next song on the single begins. Its title is “L.A.,” which was hinted about in “San Francisco” by the lyrics, “But when the sirens would call/We said it must be L.A.”
Following the couple’s trip to SF, the two head down the California state to a new adventure in the city of angels. This song begins with slow, sad guitar, and then an edgy rock riff, a different tone to “San Francisco,” but a perfect pairing. It seems that the car likely never really flew off a roof in SF, and that it was only a metaphor for freedom, or for something that happened long in the past.
“The gentleman’s in the lane
Spinning his head on a cave
Out for a change
Good morning all
It’s a beautiful day”
As Bridge Dog observes the drivers in L.A. lyrically, they seem to take to heart the scene of a man getting out of his car (or cave) to look up and recognize the beauty of the day. In these lyrics, they capture what many in L.A. cannot: the mundanity and the ridiculousness of L.A. drivers all pushing forward to get somewhere, without taking a second to soak up the beautiful weather they have, everyday.
Morning had to come
I’d be walking in the sun
But last night I was about to throw it all away”
The drawn out L.A. lyric in the chorus makes the listener think that the visit to this city may be more meaningful than that of San Francisco, as if something happened the night before, and dreams and goals were almost thrown away.
“If Patience started a band
I’d be her biggest fan”
Patience as a band clarifies this, and the reason for the shift in tone. In a place like L.A. where many artists are told their dreams will come true, the most important quality you can have is patience, as you work hard to make it artistically in a competitive city. And maybe that’s what is ultimately learned from this single, that while it’s fun to be young and carefree, when it’s time to chase your dreams, the mood of the music can shift into something a bit more serious.