On December 3, 2018, Lil Nas X released "Old Town Road," an unstoppable sensation that spent 19 weeks atop the Billboard charts.
On December 4, 2019, Bill Lindeke released "Ayd Mill Road," a hard-to-pause parody that's spent the better part of two full days on YouTube.
Lindeke, noted man about town(s) in the Twin Cities and author (including for City Pages), has already made his feelings known about Ayd Mill, which Lindeke calls both a "1.5 mile trench" and "St. Paul's most controversial piece of pavement."
In April, Lindeke explained why he disagreed with paying almost $3.6 million to repave the "1.5 mile trench." The messge was moot—St. Paul's City Council had already passed the funding—but Lindeke made his argument anyway, writing the city needed to start thinking less about plugging potholes and more about long-term planning.
"Each year that goes by, it’ll be more obvious that spending this money was a mistake, another sad chapter in the saga of obsolete concrete."
Lindeke's case for a more inventive approach than paying for pavement was clear, comprehensive, fair, and illustrated with all sorts of charts and graphs. Here's what it didn't have: a bangin' soundtrack.
Consider the parody-shaped pothole in his argument filled, forever, by the below video, which features lyrics by Lindeke and vocals by Prairie Clamor, a local "semi-fictional band helmed by Will(iam) Bjorndal."
The song's melody and chorus lean heavily on Lil Nas X's original, but the verses shine like a septuagenarian's headlights at 4:15 p.m. on a Monday. Pay close attention for references to St. Paul's much-bemoaned "Carbucks" drive-thru, the city's epic trash collection controversy, references to the Highland Villager newspaper, and the rare shout-out to Fridley.
If there's a Grammy for Best Song About a Municipal Transportation Funding and Usage Debate, there shouldn't be. If there is, this song should be nominated.
The real star of the video—which appears to have blown its budget on an old-timey font and a two-second Google Maps graphic—is the road itself. If you've been, prepare to relive the sights and scenes: the overpasses, the traffic cones, the curbs, the... subsequent overpasses.
And if you haven't had the pleasure of traversing Ayd Mill Road, buckle up for a bumpy ride, literally. Be sure to stick around for that final 20 seconds, where the tune drops out and the viewer's left to dig on the natural beat of tires thumping on a thoroughfare.For what it's worth, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter seems open to radical change, envisioning a reduction from four car-friendly lanes to just two, with better access for biking and pedestrians. The day may be fast approaching when Lil Nas X can, indeed, take his horse to the old town's old road.