Inappropriate Walk Up Music: 04.03.09

santo-shea.jpgFor previous Inappropriate Walk Up Music posts, click here.

Every day until Opening Day, Scratchbomb presents three tunes that are completely, unequivocally inappropriate for use as major league walk-up

These are not necessarily bad songs–although that
certainly helps. They are merely songs that don’t evoke the fear and dread one traditionally associates with the walk-up song. In fact, they evoke the exact opposite.

Imagine yourself in the on-deck circle. Bottom of the 9th. Down by one. Man on second, two out. You hear the PA system blare, The centerfielder, number 20… The crowd roars at the sound of your name. And as you stroll to the batter’s box, you are greeted with the strains of one of these songs:

I realize that this little project has almost come to a close. So I couldn’t let it pass without picking some songs from bands/artists I used to love, but who the passage of time has revealed to be varying degrees of suck. DON’T JUDGE ME.

Even if I’m not totally on top of What’s Happening anymore, I like to think I have refined musical tastes, so I’m slightly embarrassed to cop to these exes. But hey, everyone, I think–I HOPE–has bands like these in their past, something they
were totally in love with that now makes them cringe.

Peer into your soul and tell me you didn’t used to dig bands that totally suck, and I will call you a liar.

* “Modern Woman”, Billy Joel
I’ve been devouring Greg Prince’s book Faith and Fear in Flushing, which is just as good as the website of the same name that he co-writes (I hope to put a formal review up sometime in the next week, now that Opening Day is almost here). In Greg’s chapter on 1986, he mentions this minor Billy Joel hit, which was on the soundtrack to the nigh-forgotten Danny Devito/Better Midler flick Ruthless People. Reading it, my brain immediately, silently dismissed this 80s relic. “*pfft*, garbage” I thought.

But a second later, I heard the whole song, beginning to end, in my head. And I thought to myself, How am I able to mentally recite the entirety of a minor Billy Joel hit?

And it flooded back to me, like a repressed, horrible memory: BECAUSE YOU USED TO LOVE BILLY JOEL, YOU DOUCHE.

True. Circa 6th grade, I loved Billy Joel. The love affair lasted a year or so, and I managed to accumulate all of his albums in this time period. I listened them on the way to school on my walkman. In less than two years, I’d be listening to Nirvana and Fugazi on the same walkman, but at this time it was all about Glass Houses.

There are some okay-ish Billy Joel songs, but this is not one of them. Lord, does it suck. An epitome of 80s lack-of-low-end and synth overdosing and tinny drum sound and just…I mean, just listen to this thing. Ugh.

But I have to cop to the fact that 6th Grade Me probably wouldn’t agree.

* “Just Keep Walking”, INXS
Another band that I absolutely ADORED once upon a time, and I can point to no good reason. I mean, they have a few decent tunes. I certainly don’t think they’re horrible. I just don’t understand why I chose them to worship. Like Billy Joel, I liked them for only a year or so, but snatched up all their albums in that time (I didn’t have much income at this stage of my life, but all of it went toward music).

INXS was also my first for-real concert. I saw them at the Meadowlands, at what was still called the Brendan Byrne Arena. I dragged a friend of mine with me, who didn’t even like INXS but took pity on me because I could find no one else to go with me. Though I was excited to see them, my seats were way, way up, and I found the experience kinda weird. I immediately decided that music + stadiums = not for me.

I loved INXS so much at one point that I spent some precious shekels on a VHS compilation of their videos, which included an embryonic version of the band performing this song, their first single. They obviously had no idea what they wanted to be yet. The tune is a hybrid pastiche of The Buzzcocks, XTC, and generic New Wave, with a “coldness of modern life” angle that they don’t sell very well.

If you watch the video linked above, you’ll see that they also hadn’t yet declared Michael Hutchence to be a Jim Morrison-esque sex symbol, based on his haircut and outfit. They also hadn’t decided on a band aesthetic, unless a garbage bag-lined floor with your band’s name spelled out in gaffer’s tape is an aesthetic.

* “The Only One I Know”, Charlatans UK
Remember the Manchester scene from the early 90s? No? You didn’t see 24 Hour Party People? Why not? Philistines.

If you were a devoted viewer of 120 Minutes around this time, it was hard to avoid the whole Madchester thing (or the Shoegaze thing, as I’ve covered before). For some reason, though, I decided to skip over The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses and The Inspiral Carpets and run straight to the Charlatans UK (who were not actually from Manchester). I think it was the organ. I’ve always had a thing for organ. Not a lotta bands had an organist circa 1991.

I actually found their album at a local Caldors, if you can believe that (after locating the cassingle of the aforementioned song at a Strawberries). Remember when retail stores had huge music and book sections? Them were the days. Try finding any kind of media at a Wal-Mart–it’s like AC/DC, seven Joel Osteen books, and whatever came out on DVD that week. Makes me sick.

This song isn’t that bad, and I guess it might actually work as walk-up music–except for the fact that its main riff is shamelessly ripped off from Deep Purple’s “Hush”. I remember this being pointed out at the time by several music critics, and I remember not caring.