The St. Louis Cardinals and Let's Get It Started: How Songs Choose the Moment for us

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This sad photo shouldn't make me think of Fergie. - VIA BINKLE_28
  • via binkle_28
  • This sad photo shouldn't make me think of Fergie.

Every year the United States graduates hundreds of thousands of students who will bawl over, who will treasure forever, who will associate their most heightened and individual and important memories with, a song called "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"--a song that has no specific connection to their life and that is five years away from having plausibly been playing while they were conceived. Every year fathers and daughters who've had unique and beautiful relationships with each other commemorate them, in front of all the people they care about, with "Butterfly Kisses".

See also: -The Cardinal Rules -8 More Cringe-Inducing Fan-Made Songs About the St. Louis Cardinals -Which Song will FOX Ruin During the MLB Playoffs This Year?

I'd judge them more explicitly than I did with those spite-italics, just now, only the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals and I cemented our unique and beautiful sports-blogger/favorite-team bond, back then, with a novelty cover of the Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get It Started."

Having gotten retarded, in there, I'm inclined to be forgiving.

When I'm not imagining new ways to mention Weezer on RFT Music (there's one) I'm imagining new ways to mention Weezer at my day job, as a pretend sportswriter. I was just getting started in 2004, and that year's Cardinals are probably the reason the urge to write about them stuck.

They were remarkable: Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, and Scott Rolen each had seasons that would win an MVP in a normal year, and their cobbled-together starting rotation made 154 of 162 team starts, and--I could and-and-and for hours about that team, is the point. They were very clearly the best Cardinals team I would see in my lifetime, they were compelling and fun to watch, they even had my childhood favorite, the inexplicably despised Ray Lankford, backing up the outfielders after a year-long retirement.

And the song I'll remember them by is a remake of the Black Eyed Peas' breakout single, as performed by "local MC Sylk Smoov."

Popular music is popular because it's good at this kind of thing--it compresses a bunch of individual moments down into something vague enough that it can be everybody's father and everybody's daughter dancing while everybody's distant relatives dab at their eyes. I don't like that that works, and I'll go to my creative-writing-instructor grave insisting that concreteness and idiosyncrasy are ultimately more effective at communicating universal emotions, like in Weezer's Pinkerton, but it works.

It might work because it's not too effective. I can't share "Across the Sea" with anybody unless they already have an impression of me that's going to outweigh the fact of my sharing with them a song that goes "I wonder how you [a Japanese teenager] touch yourself," no matter how precisely it speaks to my own loneliness or ennui or voyeuristic fan-mail experience. But I can stand in a room that's playing "Good Riddance," and I can partake of the very general feeling of Nostalgia And Wistfulness that's going to pervade a room full of people who don't know each other very well and don't have to.

And in donut-shaped Busch Stadium II, with 50,000 people yelling and clapping at each other, when I was 17, the Black Eyes Peas (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) turned out to be very good at transmitting enthusiasm and inevitability and started-gettingness to a bunch of people who shared nothing in common but an irrational love for Bo Hart and an irrational distaste for Ray Lankford, and the ultimately misguided sense that those 2004 Cardinals were the best team in baseball and nobody was going to stop them.


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