Friday, September 11, 2015

Behold The Cheesy Horror Of Sports Team Music Videos

I am a child of the 1980s, a time that feels more and more alien to me with each passing day.  I used to think that the distance between my childhood past and my middle-aged present could best be marked by looking at old TV commercials.  However, I have found a new cultural marker: 80s sports team music videos.  They are almost uniformly godawful, but in ways that are so ridiculous as to make them enjoyable.  Here are some of my favorites.

Chicago Bears, "The Superbowl Shuffle"

This here is the original, the pop cultural sensation that set the ball rolling for all the videos that would follow.  It came before the season, and the 1985 Bears backed up their boasts with one the best seasons by a pro football team ever and a crushing Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.  Sadly, their musical talent was inversely proportional to their football greatness.  Despite that fact, other teams imitated the Bears, and as awful as this song is, it actually might be the best of the lot.  I still get a chuckle at the awkward dancing and godawful rap that flows about as well as a backed up toilet.

New York Giants, "We're The New York Giants"

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the 1986 champion New York Giants had their own electro-funk rap song.  Remember how it goes?  Didn't think so.

New York Mets, "Let's Go Mets"

The 1986 Mets mercifully decided to leave their music-making to the professionals.  You would think this would generate a better song than the "Super Bowl Shuffle," but this is 80s butt rock of the more overwrought variety.  The first words, sung by a guy who sounds like he is trying to parody a parody of Steve Perry, are "We've got the team work/ to make a dream work."  On top of that, it's got Joe Piscopo in a mullet.  This video is peak 80s.

LA Dodgers, "Baseball Boogie"

Not to be outdone, the 1986 Dodgers gave us "Baseball Boogie," which combines bad rapping athletes with satin jackets and generally giving everything a healthy dose of LA glitz.  You really haven't lived until you've seen Orel Hersheiser pelvic thrusting in tight white pants.

Juan Berenguer, "Berenguer Boogie"

I know it's not a team video, but nothing makes me bust a gut like the "Berenguer Boogie."  A middle reliever for the Twins in 1987, he got some of the local Paisley Park guys to write this song, which is bad 80s R&B at its most soulless.  It also seems to forget what sport it's referencing, considering that it starts with a whistle, which isn't used in baseball.  My friend Justin, who hails from the Twin Cities and introduced this to me, has termed it "bad even by 1987 standards" which is about as damning as it gets, since I still believe that the late 80s were America's pop cultural nadir.

English National Soccer Team, "World In Motion"

The team music video apparently went across the pond.  In 1990 the technorock band New Order brought their dance beats to the table for the English national team, making this the most musically adroit of all of these songs.  That said, it still manages to be probably the worst New Order song ever.  The lyrics are completely silly, and when Bernard Sumner lip syncs them he looks embarrassed.  And just when it looked like this song would avoid the trap of having players rap, John Barnes takes the mic.  Yes his skills are superior to William "the Refrigerator" Perry, but that's not saying much.

Calgary Flames, "Red Hot"

Oh, but what of hockey, so full of mullets and goofy Alberta farmboys?  You can bet it's go bad music videos, too.  My friend Jim pointed this one out to me, and I forever in his debt.  It's got 80s hockey players in garish moustaches lip syncing to godawful butt rock while making sincere faces to the most treacly, greeting card statements you could possibly imagine.  This would be the perfect parody of this kind of thing, except that it's playing it completely straight.

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