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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Even more "new traditions"

We mentioned this in a post last week, but now that we've gotten further along in the process it's time to address it in its own post.

The folks in charge of, well, traditions have deemed it necessary to pick a song to play in between the third and fourth quarters. They posted a campaign on www.gopack.com a while back calling for any and all suggestions...and after sifting through what I'm sure must've been a mountain of Sir Mix Alot, Limp Bizkit and John Tesh proposals, here are your nominees, in no particular order:

1. "Hey Baby" -- Bruce Channel
2. "Song of the South" -- Alabama
3. "You Give Love a Bad Name" -- Bon Jovi
4. "I Won't Back Down" -- Tom Petty
5. "Start Me Up" -- The Rolling Stones

Let me just say, first off, that this is one of the most "inside-the-box" lists ever. Nothing here to get ruffled up about; no rap-rock mixes that need to be edited for younger ears, no off-the-wall songs from groups you've never heard of. About the most controversial song on the list is the Alabama tune, oddly enough, as it glorifies a return to the "old" South remembered not only images of sweet potato pie but the days when Rebel flags flew with regularity over homes and state buildings all over the region.

I had hoped one song would jump off the page to me as something I could say, "YEAH! That's IT!" But no such luck, and I suspect the same for just about everyone else out there (except, I guess for the folks who nominated these).

In other words, I could see almost all of these songs making it into the 100.7 The River rotation, and that's not good.

If you tied me down and forced me to pick one...well, I guess I'd go with the Alabama song, and here's why. Well, more accurately, here's why it's not one of the other four.

1. "Hey Baby" Beaten to DEATH. Sheesh. Never has one band/artist gotten more mileage out of one song than Bruce Channel. They were probably playing it at football and basketball games in 1962, and they're still playing it in stadiums all across America to this very day, and no doubt in greater numbers. Carolina plays it, Duke plays it...hell, even high schools play it. Cliche doesn't begin to do justice to what level of overuse this song has "achieved."

3. "You Give Love A Bad Name" Bon FREAKING Jovi? Well, I guess with this song they were gunning for a line that you can shout. "SHOT THROUGH THE HEART ... hmm something something something hmm hmm ... YOU GIVE LOVE ... A BAD NAME!" HELLZ YEAH! No, wait! That sucks! Oh noes! We are the fail!

4. "I Won't Back Down" Here's your likely winner. Tom Petty's a safe choice, with a song that has a somewhat competitive message in the title. It's just that this song is a damn snoozer. It's got a medium pace, with not a lot of punch. Running Down A Dream is a much more driving tune, but I guess the title carries a negative conotation. Won't Back Down also features a couple of shoutable lines which likely earned its spot on this list: "HEYYYYYYYYY BABY (noticing a trend?) ... there ain't no easy way out (wait, we want that in our inspirational theme heading into the fourth?) HEYYYYYYYYYYY I ... won't ... back ... down ..." Here's your winner, but I would've liked to see us dig a bit deeper into Petty's catalogue for something that's not so overplayed (see above: 1."Hey Baby")

5. "Start Me Up" Here's your second place finisher, and it may be just as overplayed as "Hey Baby," if that's possible. It's been featured by nearly every beer company, been a part of nearly every Super Bowl pregame show...it even made an appearance as the theme music to a Windows 95 ad back in the day. It's a reasonable song, but I can't see 58,000 folks trying to shout "Start Me Up" in unison. Probably because, even if they haven't heard it in years, they're still sick and tired of it. Again, safe, but overplayed.

So by default, I chose "Song of the South" by Alabama because, if nothing else, it echoes our blue collar, Southern heritage as a land grant university in a state that still has traces of old-school Southern culture coursing through its veins. The "new" South may be here to stay, but there are enough folks that remember the "old" South that will identify with it. There's not much to shout in the song, other than perhaps the "Sweet potato pie and I shut my mouth" (Though, admittedly, I don't know how well that will sound.) But if the marketing (?) folks pick "Song of the South," they're pretty much abandoning the idea that this song is meant to fire up the troops or scare the bejeesus out of the opponent. It's strictly chosen to get all the students singing together in a semi-drunken sway, with the hopes that some folks in the stands follow along.

"Song of the South" also earns points (from me, at least) for not being cliche. I can't recall the last time I heard it, and with the new country being what it is, i.e. American Idol contestants with slide guitar backing, I can't imagine it gets beat to death in rotation on country radio these days.

So there you go. My pick. But it's a selection from a list that's slim pickins' to begin with. It's by no means what I would've nominated, and it's only the least-worst song on the list, not the first-best.

But hey, that's new traditions for you.

HT to onebluebird.blogspot.com for the illustration of Petty


  1. I think Alabama should perform the song live, then release live wolves during the second chorus. that would be cool.

    and why no love for Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf"?

  2. Yeah, "Hungry Like The Wolf" seems like a no-brainer to make this list.

    Or "Werewolves of London?" Folks could howl along with the "Aoooooooooooooh!" part.

  3. I still think "For Whom the Bell Tolls" would rock.

  4. I can't argue with you there...the tolling bell before the guitar riff would kick ass.

    I fear we'd be accused of copying Virginia Tech's use of Metallica, but at this point we're pretty much stealing traditions from everyone, so who cares.

  5. Another "fun" suggestion: "Your Love Is Lifting Me Higher." Always brings a smile to my face.

  6. I'm pretty much against anything SlackZac has to say.

  7. i see jonathon is an internets tough guy. how about backing it up in real? i'll meet you at the bell tower and shove a live wolf up your donkey hole.

  8. As much as I would like it to be "Another Victory" by Cypress Hill, I know that would last about 3 seconds.

    However, "Rise" by P.O.D. would be nice to hear rolling over the hills of Carter-Finley on a football night.

  9. Along those lines, how 'bout Rush's "One Little Victory"? Awesome opening minute or so of that song.
    Or ... "Tom Sawyer"?

  10. For the exact same reasons you stated, I picked "Song of the South" as well. I mean, the band is also the "powersound(?) of the south"... might as well roll with that theme.

    And I'd like to know how they narrowed the selections - I submitted 2 or 3 - and with my marketing background, they had all sorts of genuine merit.

    Maybe a in-class partnership with the Marketing and PRT programs would've produced some more originality and oomph, too.