Monday, June 02, 2014

The NBA Needs to Fix Its Terrible Playoffs Music

"Be careful what you wish for, friend, 'cause I've been to Hell and now I'm back again."

The Finals start on Thursday, Friday morning for me, and by the grace of the basketball gods it's a holiday on the Peninsula, so I get to wake up and watch Game 1. Christmas in Bundang! In the meantime, between hysterical visions of doom and measured reasoning that a fourth NBA tile for the Heat -- three consecutive for the Big 3 Era -- is possible, I've been thinking about music -- specifically the songs the NBA has tortured me with again and again used during the Playoffs (Playoffs) for most of my life.

The song used this year has been a reworked version of Pitbull's "Timber (feat. Kesha)," and it has been driving me insane*. As one Redditor commented,** "It sounds like I'm at a gay rodeo." I find that offensive to gays and rodeos, though. It is a song that makes cats mewl, that makes whales seek beaches, that might have been the source of the pings that were mistakenly thought to come from Flight MH370's black box.

This is the last straw. "Timber" is an apt title: cut the tree down and plant anew, please. The NBA, for reasons that I simultaneously can and cannot comprehend, has had almost uniformly terrible music for its Playoffs and Finals for years, as this Wikipedia article illustrates.

I understand that the league is always trying to attract new viewers, and recruiting popular artists*** is a sound idea, in theory****. But why do the songs have to be so terrible? Why do these songs, in recent years, have to be set to clips of the NBA's stars awkwardly bopping around like something out of a diehard fan's nightmare?

It works both ways though, I know. If ABC started playing "Helter Skelter" during the Finals (which is not a bad idea, in my opinion), Twitter might blow up with comments like,"SMH @NBA" and "Finals muzic I can't even." The NBA Playoffs transcend generations and cultures, and there is no way you can please everyone.

But you can treat your Playoffs and your Finals with some respect. Remember when Michael Jordan won his first championship in '91? Now, have C+C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" play during each and every commercial break of that year's Playoffs. Jordan's first title will always be special; C+C Music Factory, not so much.

It's cheapening the moment in real time. I had a big smile on my face and goosebumps when the Miami home crowd serenaded the Pacers with chants of "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," a song from 1969, in route to eliminating Indiana in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. That song was produced nine years before I was born.

I don't have the solution, but I have a solution, at least for this year. While chatting with Psychedelic Kimchi alumnus denz and spitballing some possible songs to usurp "Timber," Steve Earle's "Feel Alright" was agreed upon. It feels right, and, for these Finals, the lyrics feel apt.

Rock and roll.

* And I like Kesha. I used to have two guilty pleasures: Kesha and Duck Dynasty. But after reading Phil Robertson's real -- as opposed to A&E's scripted "reality" -- beliefs on race and sexuality, I can't watch it anymore. Save me, Kesha, you are my last guilty pleasure.

** If using Reddit comments in news articles is good enough for mass media, it's good enough for this hallowed blog.

*** I know, but what other job title can I use? Musicians? Tom Petty certainly fits that description, as does U2 and some others, but if you throw in the Pussycat Dolls, the only umbrella descriptor I can come up with is song people.

**** So is communism.

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