Tag Archives: inappropriate walkup music

Inappropriate Walk Up Music 2011: Brian Wilson

Ron Santo and the Black Cat at SheaTwo years ago, I did a series in the month leading up to Opening Day in which I picked songs that were thoroughly unsuited to be used as Walk Up Music. Walk Up Music are the tunes handpicked by baseball players to be played as they stroll to the plate. In MLB, batters typically pick songs that are intimidating, conveying an atmosphere of bad-assery just waiting to explode. I set out to find songs that were thoroughly unsuited for this purpose. The songs I picked were not necessarily bad. I just couldn’t imagine any baseball player staring out at the mound, knocking the dirt out of his spikes, as these songs blared through the PA.

Here’s a real life example: During the 2000 season, Robin Ventura apparently REALLY got into Bob Dylan. I have audio and video from the playoffs that year in which you can see/hear him striding to the plate along to “Positively 4th Street” and “Like a Rolling Stone.” Classics? I’d say so, and I’m not even a Dylan fan. Appropriate walk up music? Absolutely not.

With Opening Day looming once again, I’ve decided to do this series once again, because there’s no shortage of inappropriate walk up music out there. One difference: back in 2009, I picked three songs a day, but this time I’m limiting myself to one a day, because I have only so many hours in the day, and am lazy.

Our first entry is a tune I found online many years ago, from a Brian Wilson bootleg called Adult Child. It dates from around 1976/1977, roughly at the same time he briefly returned to The Beach Boys, and as such the album has a few appearances from bandmates like Mike Love. It was also recorded at a time when Wilson’s sanity was not at a high watermark. During this period, he liked to compose songs with the classic Beach Boys sound, but which had lyrics that were intensely simple and literal, even by his standards. Next to these tunes, Jonathan Richman’s lyrics sound like Cole Porter’s.

I only have one song from this ancient download: “It’s Trying to Say (Baseball).” It starts out with some sentiments about how Brian loves simple folk and their simple ways. More than a little condescending, but very Wilsonian. You’ll notice his voice is not in the greatest shape, a little scratchy. But that’s not the weirdest part of this song, not by a long shot.

After the first verse, the song degenerates into lyrics about baseball, for some reason, which sound like they were taken straight from marketing copy intended for season ticket holders. Upgrade now! Great seats still available! The lyrics don’t rhyme for the most part, and are delivered in a choppy style that suggests Brian was repeating something he just heard on TV. Take away the four part harmonies and instrumentation, and you could imagine Wesley Willis singing it.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Inappropriate Walk Up Round Up

santo-shea.jpgAs promised yesterday, I’ve compiled a complete list of all the Inappropriate Walk Up Songs. This should prove useful to those of you who need to settle arguments in bars, or as a handy crib sheet on your next midterm exam. Enjoy!

This list is arranged in alphabetical order by artist. Why? Because that’s how you organize music, dammit. I’ve been doing it that way ever since I started buying albums, and I ain’t about to change my ways now, dagnabbit.

What did I discover while compiling this list? Not much, except that I accidentally used Johnny Cash twice, despite my declaration that I wouldn’t use any artist/band twice. Boy, is my face red!

In my defense, tell me you could resist using “Wo Ist Du Haus, Mama”. That is comedy/German gold right there.

So without further ado, the list (after the jump):

Continue reading Inappropriate Walk Up Round Up

Inappropriate Walk Up Music: 04.04.09

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
music.

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:

* “Wonder Woman”, Attila
When I revealed my shameful, bygone love for Billy Joel yesterday, The Wife reminded me that The Piano Man was once in a prog rock band called Attila. What does it sound like? Exactly what you think Billy Joel belting out prog rock would sound like, pretty much.

If you find this tune tasty, peep this post at WFMU’s blog, which features some other choice cuts from their 1970 self-titled album–including an instrumental called “Brain Invasion” which sounds like Mr. Joel trying to write music for the Atari 2600.

* “Sneaker Night”, Vanessa Hudgens
FOT Emma added this to the ongoing discussion of Worst Song Ever, and I had to share it here. Maybe not the worst song ever, but seriously some of the worst lyrics I’ve ever heard: “Are you ready? Did you eat? Do you have the energy?…Don’t want you passin’ out af-ter a couple-a hours a piece…” It sounds like it was written by a 12-year-old who has no idea of rhythm or meter, then shoehorned into a beat that was already done. Music for the thoroughly undiscriminating, cadence-challenged High School Musical teenybopper set.

* “Big Yellow TaxI”, Joni Mitchell (or any of its 7000 cover versions)
For reasons chronicled here.

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
music.

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.

Inappropriate Walk Up Music: 04.02.09

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
music.

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:

Today I present a Super Sounds of the 70s post. All told, the 70s don’t bug me. In fact, I think if I had to pick between the 70s and 80s as a cultural whole (and couldn’t cherry pick a band from decade one and a book from decade two, etc.), it’d be a close call.

But there’s one aspect of 70s culture that always drove me nuts. It’s that “hey man, just take it easy!” attitude that pervades so many of the songs. Even songs that purport to rock are rocking around the concept of havin’ a good time and takin’ her easy. I don’t know if this came from a post-Watergate, post-Vietnam desire to tune out the world, or it was just the massive amounts of weed being smoked at the time, but there was a lot of 8-track tape committed to telling America to chillax.

* “Take it Easy”, Eagles
Is it cliche to hate the Eagles by now? I don’t care. At the risk of sounding like every other jackass who quotes The Big Lebowski, I hate the fucking Eagles. Ironic that they’d write so many songs about takin’ it easy, since by the end of the decade, they were doing enough blow to support the Bolivian economy single-handed, and only speaking to each other through legal teams.

* “Rock’n Me”, Steve Miller Band
Steve Miller wrote some oppressively stupid lyrics. I dare you to look at the lyrics to any of his songs written down and not laugh. But be warned: The exercise may shave a few points off your IQ.

But if I have to pick one Steve Miller hit for maximum idiocy, this one takes the cake (don’t know about his album tracks–bet there’s some real doozies in there). If you tried to write a thoroughly retarded rock song, you couldn’t come up with a better example than this. Real Stupid beats Fake Stupid every time.

* “Rhiannon”, Fleetwood Mac
I am neither here nor there on Fleetwood Mac. But the mental image of someone coming up to bat to this song amuses me. Especially if the batter had his Louisville Slugger draped in scarves, Stevie Nicks-style.

Inappropriate Walk Up Music: 04.01.09

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
music.

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:

* “Fabulous Muscles”, Xiu Xiu
Hat tip to jbissel at the Friends of Tom forum for this suggestion. I totally forgot Xiu Xiu existed, and how annoying and fey Jamie Stewart’s voice is. He makes the guy from Antony and Johnsons sound like Henry Rollins. I want to find this song and give it an atomic wedgie. It’s so wimpy, I think I lost some muscle mass just listening to it.

* “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”, Rupert Holmes
Also suggested by jbissel. Not only is this 70s relic inappropriate as walk-up music, but it also gives me a convenient excuse to post video of Joel and the Bots debating its merits.

* “Spirit of the Radio”, Rush
I try to be open-minded and not make snap judgments in re: people’s taste. However, there are certain bands that, if you profess to enjoy them, I have no problem immediately judging you. Say you like The Dead, I assume you smell like patchouli. If you say you like BrokeNCYDE, I assume you smell like Axe body spray and have had a lobotomy. If you say you like Rush, I assume you’re familiar with the business end of a 100-sided die.

This song is no better or worse than any other Rush song. And it’s not a bad song per se–I saw Ted Leo do a live, solo version of it at Tinkle years ago that almost made me like it (then again, Ted Leo’s the kind of guy whose musicianship and enthusiasm make you like anything he covers; dude could cover Metal Machine Music and I would hum it on the way home).

But this song has the all the hallmarks of musical nerd-dom, i.e., complication for complication’s sake: inscrutable lyrics, different sections shoe-horned together, and Neal Peart hitting every fucking drum head just because he can. It’s the soundtrack to a fierce Dungeons and Dragons session.

I should note that one of my favorite Mets of all time, Jon Olerud, used to come to bat to “Tom Sawyer”. But Jon Olerud is bulletproof in my book. Dude probably goes to bed in a batting helmet to this day.

Inappropriate Walk Up Music: 03.31.09

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
music.

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:

These are all songs I heard in the police van last night while I awaited paperwork, presented without comment, because I will now look at them all as inappropriate (even though I would have anyway before this incident–for either walk-up music or soundtrack to sitting in a police van).

* “Single Ladies”, Beyonce

* “Lollipop”, Lil’ Wayne

* “Poker Face”, Lady GaGa
Yes, I know I picked this song already, way back when, but it bears repeating that I heard this on a police radio (!) while waiting to file a stolen vehicle report. So this terrible song is doubly weird for me now.

Inappropriate Walk Up Music: 03.30.09

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
music.

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:

* “Nothing Natural”, Lush
This choice is a not-at-all-veiled excuse for me to post the video for a song I loved once upon a time. In the early 90s, just prior to the arrival of Nirvana, 120 Minutes was chock full o’ English shoegazer bands that I liked a lot (this would be the Dave Kendall years, not the Kennedy years). Mind you, I didn’t actually have cable at this time. I basically begged my more fortunate grandparents (who lived next door) to let me monopolize their VCR, for taping both this and Mystery Science Theatre 3000. They basically weren’t watching TV when 120 Minutes or MST3K were on anyway, and they trusted me to not tape anything porn-arific.

Lush would later mutate into a much more poppy outfit. Or did they want to be poppy along and did the shoegaze thing to fit in with the 1991 music scene? In either case, I like this version better. Sheets of noise, cooing vocals–kinda like a more aesthetically pleasing My Bloody Valentine (more pleasing to me, anyway).

* “Rubber Car”, Enon
I loved this when it came out in the early Oughts. It’s like some mutant industrial Prince song. Haven’t really dug any other Enon tunes since then, but maybe that’s because this is so awesome taht everything else pales in comparison. I would love to see a stadium reverberate with RUBBA CAR!

* “Bumble Boogie”, LIberace
I’m always a little suspicious when an artist passes from complete pop acceptance to universal derision. I think it’s defense mechanism put on by people who realize that they bought into something that’s no longer popular, so they have to be extra-harsh in their denunciation so no one suspects their Dirty Secret. Like Vanilla Ice, who’s a walking joke, even though he sold more than 10 million albums. Somebody bought them CDs, people.

Earlier case in point: Liberace. He’s a punchline nowadays for a million different reasons. But in the 1950s and 60s, he was HUGE. Like, Elvis and Sinatra Huge, just for a different audience. So to me, people’s reactions to him have less to do with opinions formed by actually listening to his music (since he’s not someone you exactly hear on the radio all the time), but by the collective embarrassment of, “Jeez, we liked THAT?”

Then again, having watched this video, I can’t say I blame people for covering their tracks. There’s just so much weirdness here. Like, turning “Flight of the Bumblebee” into a Fats Waller-style piano romp. And a fey, super-white guy doing a Fats Waller-style piano romp. And the out-of-nowhere emergence of a string quartet. It contains all the aggressive weirdness of something that has no idea how weird it is. Sadly, Liberace does not mention his brother George.

Inappropriate Walk Up Music: 03.29.09

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
music.

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’m a Boy”, The Who
A good slice of Mod-era Who, but the subject matter obviously puts it in the Inappropriate ledger. I’m surprised they were allowed to release this song way back in the 60s. Not too many songs about crossdressers back then, even in England (except “Arnold Layne”, that’s about it). And as far as I know, not any others about kids forced to crossdress because their mothers wish they were girls.

* “Octopus”, Syd Barrett
Mentioning an early Pink Floyd track in today’s first selection made me think of this Syd Barrett tune from The Madcap Laughs. That entire album is like listening to someone desperately cling to sanity, and it’s sad and terrifying to know that he never truly succeeded. I find this cut from it particularly awesome/disturbing.

* “To Be With You”, Mr. Big
It’s no better or worse than any other crappy 80s Power Ballad, but it’s inspired far too many dudes with acoustic guitars to film themselves playing it, then post it to YouTube. And no, I’m not going to link to any of those videos, because that’s an almost textbook definition of shooting fish in a barrel.

Inappropriate Walk Up Music: 03.28.09

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
music.

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:

*”Girl Afraid”, The Smiths
I wanted to include a Smiths song in this list, but nearly all of them would be inappropriate in this context, so it was hard to pick just one. Then, I heard this song pop up on iTunes shuffle, and the lightbulb went off.

* “We’re Having a Baby”, The Make-Up
Not to be confused with “She’s Having My Baby”, which is just as inappropriate. I can think of some Make-Up tunes that would work as walk-up music (“Untouchable Sound” for one), but this ain’t one of them.

* “Wo Ist Du Haus, Mama”, Johnny Cash
They used to play this track often on WFMU, and I could never figure out if it was hilarious or bone-chilling. Just like The Beatles, The Man in Black cut a bunch of tracks in German early in his career. As much as Johnny Cash in English is bad-ass, that’s how much Johnny Cash in German is fucking terrifying. All of the Deutsch versions are weird in this “video”, but fast-forward to 6:24 to hear the especially bizarre tune “Wo Ist Du Haus, Mama”.