Hi, my name is: ________ (self-referential bands and artists)

When folk trio Bonny Light Horseman visited WNXP’s Sonic Cathedral earlier this year*, I somehow restrained myself from making a Bad Company reference. BLH’s debut record was titled Bonny Light Horseman, and included a song that shared that name. Rock supergroup Bad Company did the same thing back in 1974, and the self-referential title track of their debut album is still their most recognizable song. The truth is, these two bands are in good company, with many, many other bands and artists singing about their damn selves over the decades. You listeners made great requests, and this was so much fun to air on WNXP.

Stream and share this show (👇) and see if your idea made the list. Get your requests in for future themes via Instagram or Twitter, both @WNXPNashville. Thanks to Eastside Bowl for the support!


Mt. Joy – “Mt. Joy” – A request from Ruthie tucked in before the official start of Thematic Static.

#ThematicStatic Playlist

*NSYNC – “Here We Go” – Listen, I had to! Kaylie and her six-year-old son Blaise have been jammin’ to the 1997 boy band smash hit album for Blaise’s entire life, and most of mom’s, too. Behold, the poetry out of Orlando:

Here we go one more time
Everybody’s feeling fine
Yes yes yes yes here we go,
*NSYNC has got the flow…

“Here We Go”

The Clash – “This Is Radio Clash” – Mark asked for this one, and Patrick asked for another tune (“Clash City Rockers”)`by the influential Brits.

Bonny Light Horseman – “Bonny Light Horseman” – The aforementioned power trio that inspired this #ThematicStatic theme actually plucked their name from a traditional folk song sometimes called “Broken-Hearted I Will Wander.” ICYMI, here’s the full Sonic Cathedral session, including an interview with Josh Kaufman, Eric D. Johnson and Anaïs Mitchell, who make up Bonny Light Horseman. Their new record Rolling Golden Holy is out in October and they’ll be back in town in December. Here’s the chorus of the title track from their 2020 debut:

Oh Napoleon Bonaparte, you’re the cause of my woe
Since my bonny light horseman in the war, he did go
Broken-hearted I’ll wander, broken-hearted I’ll remain
Since my bonny light horseman in the war, he was slain

“Bonny Light Horseman”

Harry Styles “as it was” – Emily, so smart of you. Not that I need a reason to play this bop, but I’ll take its self-referential lyric “Answer the phone, ‘Harry you’re no good alone'” and qualify it for this themed set, yessiree.

Chromeo – “Tenderoni” – The first verse from this Canadian dance duo introduces their band name. And the fun song just fits into every set you want it to, frankly.

Veruca Salt – “Volcano Girls” – Steve and Brumley both requested this for its self-referential stanza, calling out a song title (“Seether”) and not necessarily their own band name:

I told you about the seether before
You know the one that’s neither or nor
Well here’s another clue if you please
The seether’s Louise…

“Volcano Girls”

Black Sabbath – “Black Sabbath” – This was a thrill to play over the 91.ONE airwaves and from vinyl, both for Drew and for John. Ozzy doesn’t sing the words “Black Sabbath,” but the vibes are gloriously dark with this six-minute opening track from the hard rock gods’ debut 1970 record also called — you guessed it! — Black Sabbath.

Public Enemy “Can’t Do Nuttin’ for Ya, Man!” – I actually heard this as a WNXP listener when driving around one weekend and love how it’s self-referential, meaningful and fun. Here’s the reference:

Flavor Flav is the sun
Public Enemy number one
Gotcha runnin’ from the gun (pow)
Of a brain that weighs a ton

“Can’t Do Nuttin’ For Ya, Man”

Pavement – “Harness Your Hopes” – Two more online requesters — a John and a Jon — cited this indie alternative rock classic asking about “a word that rhymes with Pavement.” #stumped

They Might Be Giants – “They Got Lost (Live)” – Mark specifically asked for this 1998 live version via Instagram, and here it is:

Lauryn Hill – “To Zion” – A beautiful ballad with a bit of a Gospel finish from another 1998 release, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (a self-referential album title gets bonus points!), this one has Hill remembering the calculations she made while pregnant:

Woe this crazy circumstance
I knew his life deserved a chance
But everybody told me to be smart
“Look at your career, ” they said
“Lauryn, baby, use your head”
But instead I chose to use my heart
Now the joy of my world is in Zion

“To Zion”

Other Unaired Contenders

Sometimes an hour just ain’t enough! Thanks for these requesters, in addition to the others who piped up and had their song(s) played:

Erin Rae (yes that Erin Rae!) said we should at least consider 98 Degrees 🙂
Katy asked for “Book of Love” by Book of Love
Isaac mentioned “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing to F**k With”
Chris asked for “Wilco (The Song)” but I flubbed and played another Wilco song, like, the hour before
Brad said “The Monkees with The Theme from The Monkees,” which is also bonus points because it’s on TV!
Brian said “In a Big Country” by the band Big Country
Zach reminded me of “Who The F**k Are Arctic Monkeys?”
Lillian fittingly asked for Miley Cyrus (“See You Soon”) on the birthday of her father Billy Ray Cyrus!
MOTE on Instagram recalled the extreme name-dropping in Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Nevermind”