Records are made to be broken, specifically any LPs that were pressed of the 2010 Scott Stapp (yes, the Creed guy) song “Marlins Will Soar,” the baseball team song to end all baseball team songs.
Well, it should’ve ended all baseball team songs. or at least sent everyone responsible for baseball team songs back to the drawing board, to rediscover that the classics have staying power because they recognize that they’re baseball team songs – not an attempt to be cool and hip.
The Cleveland Guardians’ new theme song, “We Are Cleveland,” is in the Stappian tradition of trying way too hard to force a musical concept onto a musical concept that was just fine before marketing departments got more involved in this stuff and stopped just contracting it out to a local ad-jingle writer, someone who would understand that baseball is not cool and hip, and that you want to emphasize the lightness of the experience of a day at the park.
The advantage that “We Are Cleveland” has over “Marlins Will Store” is that its overlaying musical concept is “dollar-store Imagine Dragons” instead of “Creed.” It’s not much of an improvement, but if you’re gonna come at the king, you’ll need Nickelback inspiration or worse.
Here’s the song. You’ve been warned, it sucks.
There’s a moment at the beginning of the song, after the initial WHOA-OA-OA, where there’s some hope. The instrumental has hints of not only a classic baseball tune, but one that’s associated with Cleveland: the improvement montage tune from Major League.
And then the lyrics start.
Are you ready now?
Get up and count it down.
It’s our time,
It’s our town
We should make it loud.
This is just drivel, and it could be the song for any team in the majors, were they dumb enough to greenlight it.
To us, it’s family.
It’s who we’re proud to be.
From the East to the West Side,
Sing with me!
At least there’s a little bit of a geographic hint here, but lots of cities have East and West Sides. Like, for instance, New York, home of the Mets, whose classic anthem, “Meet The Mets,” includes the line – near the end, note that the song is called “Meet The Mets,” and that’s the first line – “East Side, West Side, everybody’s comin’ down… to meet the M-E-T-S Mets of New York town.”
The Mets have had their musical missteps over the years, too. While the 1980s remake of “Meet The Mets” was brilliant and a Shea Stadium anthem for the final quarter century of the park (it name-checks the stadium, they’ve since gone back to using the classic)... there’s a reason that only a select few people remember “Our Team, Our Time.”
It takes a full minute of “We Are Cleveland,” a song that’s unacceptably long for this genre at 3:23, to mention Cleveland, followed by, at last, the word “Guardians,” drawn out over a vocal bridge long enough to span the Cuyahoga River. Maybe when you’re putting out a song with the new name of your baseball team, the name of that team should be emphasized?
We’re right where we belong
Singing Ohio songs
You keep Bootsy Collins, Nine Inch Nails, and Tracy Chapman the hell out of this. And, again, why is this about Ohio? Locations used in a song like this need to start with the team name and maybe get more local. Use a state name only if you’re, like, the Minnesota Twins, whose own song, “Win Twins,” sucks mightily, but is Grammy-worthy compared to this mess.
Maybe the Guardians don’t want people to remember that they now have ‘Guar” instead of “In” in front of “dians” after their lazy-ass, had-to-be-dragged-all-the-way-to-it, even-Daniel-fucking-Snyder-came-around-faster-than-this name change.
We never compromise!
In this town,
Knock us down,
We will always rise!
Oh. If you have a lyric like this, perhaps make sure that you don’t have anything that you really ought to be apologizing for, such as decades of racism, gutting your roster to the point that even competing in the dog’s-ass AL Central is out of the question, or taking seats out of your stadium to lower the capacity because you just can’t draw fans, even though when the team was actually good, you sold the place out 455 straight times
This song does not tell a story. This song does not stir any emotions. This song does not even have the humorous quality of Jeffrey Loria recognizing that his team had one famous fan, and asking that guy to do a song, which then wound up being as galactically bad as anyone but Jeffrey Loria could have imagined it would be.
This song is the result of groupthink and careful demographic research, designed to appeal to everyone, and predictably appealing to no one. It stinks almost as much as the franchise it’s purported to represent, which doesn’t really want to have this name, doesn’t really want to have this song, and doesn’t seem to even really want to be much of a baseball team.