By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
Passin' It On: America's Baseball Heritage in Song
I think I've discovered the real reason for last year's baseball strike: Someone leaked this CD to the players and they immediately began considering other careers. Passin' It On A even the title conjures images of viral infections or bad gas A is the wackiest scourge to hit the sport since Roseanne grabbed her crotch and wailed the national anthem. Cashman, who had some minor-league success in the Seventies as one-half of duo Cashman and West, demotes America's pastime to stickball status. This set is so bad and so maudlin that if they played it during the seventh-inning stretch, they'd have to institute a suicide watch for the grandstands.
On "Third Base Coach," it's Hee Haw hoot night as Cashman spews anatomical witticisms such as "look at that coach on the other side/he's touching his cap/he's rubbing his thigh/third base coach is really my kind of guy." (In disbelief, I kept looking for Weird Al Yankovic's name in the songwriting credits.) "Oriole Park" whips the intrepid baseball fan into a frenzy as Cashman croons "Oriole Park at Camden Yards/they play baseball here/they play baseball/and it feels like the good old days," followed by the Jim Jones Day crowd echoing Cashman's "Ohhhhs" as if they're suffering from tainted hot dogs. Ex-Creedence Clearwater Revival front man John Fogerty takes a fastball to the cubes as Cashman does a painful karaoke cover of his "Centerfield," and on "Baseball Ballet," Cashman . . . ah, forget it. I can't go on. This slipped disc closes (21 songs and 76 minutes later, argh!!) with his ode "Give Us Back Our Game." Deal. But only if you promise to quit singing these stupid baseball songs and retire. Now hit the showers.
The Music, The Message
Around since punk's Pleistocene era (well, at least since 1980), 7Seconds explored the hooks-and-harmonies side of hardcore as far back as 1989, a full five years before the sound went mega. And if the defensiveness and defiance expressed in several songs here serve as an indication, then 7Seconds singer-songwriter-guitarist Kevin Seconds took endless reams of you-know-what for that stylistic decision. On "Such & Such," "Get a (Different) Life," and the title cut, he and his bandmates (his bassist brother Steve, drummer Troy Mowat) stick out their tongues at their critics, while on a handful of other songs, notably "I Can Remember" and "Punk Rock Teeth," they bond about the pure punk ethos. It seems as if Kevin suffers from a huge aging-punk identity crisis, trying to convince himself -- and us -- of his credibility. Hey, Kev, I believe you! Of course the band's inch-deep sloganeering and what-will-the-future-bring hand wringing wouldn't matter if virtually everything here weren't aurally interchangeable, but only the smart and dynamic "See You Tomorrow" distinguishes itself from a herd of zippy would-be anthems. Finally, what were these guys thinking when they chose to close this album with a cover of Sham 69's fist-pumping "The Kids Are United"? It merely makes their own stuff sound generic by comparison.