Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'll Pass on the Hockey Anthem Playlist

I am a considerable sports fan---I love football and soccer and have followed hockey here and there my whole life.

But the worst thing about sports is the music.

I have always been puzzled by the strange phenomenon of not enjoying 95% of the music being played at arenas and stadiums (at least not since the early 90s when I actually first listened to half of the stuff they are playing). I have never been sure if it is due to an international conspiracy of bad DJs, or what. Now I think I understand. Its the fans.

Tonight I listened to over a dozen entries in the Hockey Night in Canada Anthem Challenge. These are songs submitted by Canadian hockey fans, and can not be written off as the poor choices of a couple unfortunately-placed Guns 'n' Roses-loving studio executives. The only one I heard that was not tight-pants-and-greasy-mullet music was this one. Many of the comments on the songs are saying how "hockey" they are. Just when did Aerosmisth and Nickleback become synonymous with stacked pads, wrist shots, and cross-ice passes?

I'm not sure what a sports anthem ought to sound like, and I guess one can't expect too much from 10 second clips at a sporting event, where the goal is keep the tempo up. Still, I know I'm not liking what I'm hearing. If you are into this kind of music, that's fine. Just take this as the cathartic rant one of sport's disenfranchised minority.

Here's an idea: If I pay $40 to go to a sporting event, maybe I could get some kind of discount for having to hear "Sweet Child O' Mine?" How about some free popcorn (besides the stuff being spilled in my hair) for being forced to endure the whole first line of "Paradise City" in the time it takes to jab the frosted malt spoon in my ear?

I guess it is all just part of the experience. One time at a Riders' game I had a watermelon land on my head. It was a blessing in disguise, though, because for a minute I couldn't hear the Def Leppard.

Ah well, its good to be with the crowd. Long live sport. Let's just get some variety in the music, okay sports fans?


Dave McG said...

I remember seeing that watermelon incident from the neighboring stand. You did not look impressed.

This might just sound like another of my tired comparisons between football(soccer) and north american sport. But I went to a Q.P.R. match in London a couple of years ago and I remember hearing: The Clash, Jeff Beck and the Kinks. That, and there was a world renowned opera singer for the halftime entertainment. All the fans that I saw there were certainly blue collar and working class.

I think it is just the curse of our culture, or lack there of.

But to add another weird fact into the mix, I noticed in Billboard the other day the Nickelback is in the top five in the UK. But still for some reason I have never heard their gut churning songs blasting over a P.A. at any soccer game I have ever been to in the UK.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

"One time at a Riders' game I had a watermelon land on my head."

Oh man. I keep cracking up imagining the look of disgust and tired frustration that must have crossed your face. Or was it fury?

I don't watch a lot of sports until the playoffs -when I'll catch the occasional game. Maybe my disinterest has been rooted in the music all this time.

For me I think of music at hockey games the same way I think of Don Cherry: ridiculous and/or awful, but also somehow essential.

I liked the old Hockey Night in Canada theme song though. A lot.

jon said...

Dave: its a fair statement about soccer-football. at the game i went to in england i don't recall once being annoyed. but i figured it was because there were no long commercial breaks for music interludes. just non-stop action.

Matt: "Don Cherry: ridiculous and/or awful, but also somehow essential". Oh yes that is the perfect way to put it! Ha!

Re. the watermelon. It was a silent fury that melded into a sustained perplexity. We laughed about it soon after though.

Philbert said...

I agree with Matthew. I really liked the old CBC hockey theme song. CBC really bungled that one.

I also agree with Dave McG, it's "the curse of our culture". They are trying to appeal to the broadest group and, especially in Regina, that is the hard rocking crowd.

Tony Tanti said...

Funny post, why have I never heard about this watermelon incident?

Interesting related note about music in sports, have you noticed what they're playing in Beijing during breaks in the stadiums? Awful stuff, Chumbawunba, Who Let the Dogs Out, Whoop There it is... it's like they're just getting shipments of unwanted CD's from the 90's in the US.

The CBC anthem entries I've heard have all been awful. Have you heard the joke one that is leading the voting? It's got animal sounds and a baby crying in the background, it's pretty funny actually. Hockey Scores is the title: http://anthemchallenge.cbc.ca/media?timelimit=0&sort=hits%20DESC

jon said...

awesome, tanti, i will be giving that one a listen first chance i get.