The NFL and I are going through a rough patch in our relationship. After decades of diehard fandom the league is doing everything in its power to drive me away, and that’s not even counting the Niners-specific issues.
That said, if they haven’t lost you yet, I get it. My Sundays were dedicated exclusively to letting football wash over me for a very long time. So for you: Good news! The preseason is starting! The Hall of Fame Game, an utterly meaningless competition between teams that would rather not be there, has signaled the beginning of football.
To celebrate let’s listen to a time-honored American tradition: Jock jams. You know, those tacky, awful songs you’d never ever listen to if they weren’t blaring over a stadium’s speakers. Not “We Are the Champions,” “We Will Rock You” or “Seven Nation Army.” Those are actually good, but the ones to which you’ve only heard the chorus.
Y’all ready for this?
2 Unlimited — “Get Ready For This”
This song is already stuck in your head because of the last sentence of the intro.
The original, quintessential jock jam, this song has been played before every sport in the world. If they revived Ullamaliztli, the ancient Mesoamerican ballgame with a solid rubber ball, stone hoops and possibly human sacrifice, this is the song they’d play when the teams took the court.
When I’m inevitably elected President, this song will play as I take the stage to be sworn in. [Gokhman note: If Daniel J Willis is ever elected President, be prepared for Metallica’s “One” to be come the new national anthem].
Snap! — “I’ve Got the Power”
A consistent theme of this column is going to be shock at the fact that these songs have lyrics.
Generally you only hear the chorus of these songs, since that’s about as long as the stadium gets to play them between plays. And, generally, that’s the only good part. Because Snap! has a frontman, and he’s named Turbo B, and he is not Tupac.
This is an actual sample of the lyrics: “Quality I possess and say I’m fresh/ When my voice goes through the mesh/ Of the microphone, that I am holding/ Copy written lyrics, so they can’t be stolen.”
C&C Music Factory — “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”
I’m not sure if the (Everybody Dance Now) in the title was original or added so anyone knows what song it is, but yeah, it’s that song. The “Everybody dance now!” song.
Unfortunately this is that time in every column where I relay a depressing story: The person singing the only good or memorable lyrics of the entire song in the video? Not the actual singer. The iconic line was sung by Martha Wash of The Weather Girls who was replaced by a model in the video, was not credited on the song, and was not paid royalties.
She sued and settled for credit and what I hope was a decent sum of money, but still. Low blow. Especially since they credited the guy behind the cringe-worthy rap verse.
Tag Team — “Whoomp! (There It Is)”
This is one of a sub-genre in my mind of jock jams that used to feature at my middle school dances, which mostly contains this and “Tootsee Roll.”
Accordingly, this song evokes a weird confluence of emotions. On the one hand it reminds me of enormous multimillionaires receiving enough concussions to turn them into Terry Bradshaw, but on the other hand it reminds me of the profound awkwardness of being turned down for a dance by a girl in a dress her mom picked out.
Now that I think about it, it’s possible I shouldn’t listen to this song.
Zombie Nation — “Kernkraft 400”
This was going to be Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam” until my friend Holly directed me to this absolute gem of a music video. I couldn’t resist subjecting you all to it.
For the first 30 seconds or so I was pretty sure it was a snuff film. Then they microwave franks and beans and I thought, maybe a meta-commentary? But then the women climb into tanning beds and I realized this is the result of the band being given a budget of $20 and enough drugs to kill a full grown bull moose.
I encourage all of you to watch this video. Even if you’re at work. Especially if you’re at work, as a dominance display for your coworkers. Because nobody would watch this in public unless they were someone not to be messed with.
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis and tweet column ideas to him at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.