Thrice All American

Album: Furnace Room Lullaby (2000)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Thrice All American" is about Tacoma, Washington. Case lived there in her teens and got her musical start in a Tacoma venue named the World Community Theater. Along with "South Tacoma Way," it's one of two songs on the album that deal with that area.

    At the time Case was living there, Tacoma was a rough city full of ruined infrastructure, poverty, and gang violence. She captures all of this in the song's lyric, which describes a city full of desperation and danger, but also pride and character. It's an accurate portrayal of the Tacoma of the 1980s and '90s.
  • The All-America City Award is given out annually by the National Civic League, which has operated the program since 1949, giving out 10 awards ever year. Over that time, more than 600 communities have earned the award. Tacoma won it three times - in 1956, 1983, and 1998 - which likely explains the song title (it never shows up in they lyric).

    There's a sign by the Narrows Bridge (site of the infamous architectural disaster in 1940) that says, "Tacoma - All American City" and has the three dates under the words. "Thrice All American" was released in 2000, two years after the last time the city won the award.

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