When Nicole Atkins released her debut album in 2007, she announced to the world that she was a New Jerseyan by naming it Neptune City. She grew up in Neptune, and wrote the title track from the point of view of her mother’s brother, who died when he was young.
“It’s about him looking down on his funeral procession and being like, ‘I can never go home again,’ ” she told me in a 2007 interview for The Star-Ledger. “It’s very melancholy. And after the fact, it took on all these different meanings about not being able to feel comfortable in the place that you always thought was home.”
The subject matter fit her richly emotional, retro vocal style, influenced by artists such as Roy Orbison and Ronettes. At the time, she called her style of music “pop-noir.”
She has released two albums since Neptune City, including 2014’s Slow Phaser.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.