Friday, October 10, 2008

Shea Goodbye, Musically

A few years ago, Nirvana released a box set of unreleased songs and live recordings, after years upon years of legal battles and delays caused by Kurt Cobain's insane widow.

Being a child of the Grunge era who never really grew out of it, I, of course, bought it. On one of the discs was an early demo recording of the song "Milk It," which appears on the In Utero album, and contains a chorus in which Kurt Cobain screams "TEST MEEEEEEEEEAT!" over and over. This demo version, however, contained lyrics vastly different from the finished product, and a chorus in which Cobain screamed over and over, but he was screaming something else. I had to listen to the song a few times before I could figure it out. But when I did, I was even more confused.

Apparently, Kurt Cobain is screaming "SHEA STAAAAAAAAADIUM!"

Being from Seattle, and not being a sports fan, I thought it rather odd that Kurt would be screaming about Shea Stadium. In fact, he's probably not. But as far as I can make out the words, he is.

This anecdote probably further proves my insanity and has little to do with the latest single from Prog-rocker Marnie Stern, "Shea Stadium," which, although you might not be able to tell from listening to it, is actually all about Shea Stadium. It's definitely not the traditional stadium anthem, with a grinding guitar against a frenetic drum beat, with lyrics echoing throughout, but as it was pointed out to me, and I agree, it's a hell of a lot better than "Everybody Clap Your Hands" or "I'm A Believer." Much in the Cobain vein, the lyrics take a few listens to understand, but Stern is trying to convey her message in the music just as much as in the words.

There seems to be a recent vogue towards writing songs about Major League baseball teams. The Mets had two such songs a couple of years ago, one an embarassing rap that quickly vanished, and the similarly annoying Lucas Prata (OK, I admit I thought it was pretty good when the Mets were in the midst of the postseason, but he basically names the entire roster in the song, and after that year was over, it didn't make too much sense anymore). Now, you have that stupid "Can't Stop The Blue" song in LA, the Dropkick Murphys making an entire career around the Red Sox, and even Eddie Vedder writing about the Cubs. There was a Yankee Stadium tribute song by former Springsteen cohort Nils Lofgren floating around.

But where was a Shea song? Nobody wrote one, or so I'd thought. Turns out Marnie Stern's song has been kicking around for about a month or so, but unless you were a fan of hers, or hung around the New York Indie Rock scene, you wouldn't have noticed. But knew enough to pick up on it. So, why was it never played at Shea? Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are over, and with the Mets apparent desire to eradicate any memory of Shea, this song may never see the light of day at a Mets game, and that's a shame. Songs about the Mets are few and far between, and good songs about the Mets are rarer still.

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