Formerly great singer-songwriter James Taylor is known around the world as the beloved performer of hits like “Fire And Rain” and “Carolina In My Mind,” but not for much longer. Once people find out about his newest release, titled “Angels of Fenway,” Taylor’s legacy and reputation will be so thoroughly wrecked he is risking expulsion from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Taylor premiered this fulminating heap of excreta masquerading as music at last night’s Yankees-Red Sox game in Boston, and spent half an inning in ESPN’s booth with Dan Shulman and semi-sentient amorphic blobs Kruk and Schilling to promote it—telling the announcers that he spent ten years writing the song.
Ten years? And this is what you come up with? “Angels of Fenway” sounds like a parody song, or maybe what James Taylor would perform at an improv night when handed a random card reading, “Sing a song about the Red Sox.” That no one involved in the production of this song—the session musicians, mixers, anybody—didn’t step in and find some way to improve it is baffling. James Taylor used to play with the Beatles, but even Ringo could pen something better than this. The lyrics are painful. The music is inconsistent and incomprehensible. It’s a mess. At some point Taylor’s son, Henry, gets roped into performing on the bridge. Trust us, Henry, your dad used to perform some amazing music. Now he’s a poor man’s Scott Stapp.
“Angels Of Fenway” is mostly about the 2004 ALCS and the perpetuation of the myth that year’s Red Sox team was made up of scrappy, low-budget players. Listen to Taylor tell you about how those “Damn Yankees” are “outspending everybody two-to-one” and never mind that the 2004 Red Sox outspent every MLB team but the Yankees, and themselves had an opening day payroll twice that of half the teams in the majors.
Details, details. Historical inaccuracies are the least of “Angels of Fenway”’s problems. Curt Schilling loved the song, of course, given that his bloody sock is part of the music video. John Kruk told Taylor “none of the lyrics feel forced.” Do not trust either of these men.
(The only decent part of the song is from 1:37 to 1:44. Then it gets awful again.)