Super Bowl weekend! My New England Patriots won’t be there (not enough weapons for Tom Brady, as I’ve heard and read a countless number of times around here, not enough talented receivers for him to throw to) but I’ll certainly be watching.
So in honor of the event, a football song. There aren’t many football songs; it seems baseball has cornered the market on mythopoetic ruminations on American life set to music. So I apologize this one is a bit overexposed (it’s been featured on the soundtrack of like 10 TV shows) but the fact remains: great song!
Simple, too: a third person narration of a young college quarterback who experiences a moment of grace on the field of play:
He takes a step back
He’s under attack
But he knows that no one can touch him now
He seems so at ease
A strange inner peace
Is all that he’s feeling somehow
He’s got all kinds of time
The song starts with a guitar strum and blooms into an all-out screeching power ballad, which in a funny way is the opposite of the journey the quarterback takes as he retreats from stadium roars to nothing but a still, quiet voice in his head. He even has a moment to think of his family watching him. At the end, just before the power-ballad part kicks in, he finds his open receiver, delivers the pass: “The whole world is his tonight.’
I like the gentle touch the songwriters, Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger, have with metaphor here. They don’t have to belabor that the all kinds of time the quarterback thinks he has on the field he must also feel off the field, they don’t have to make explicit the way this attitude is a function of youth, and they don’t have to tell us that this attitude, this sense of limitless opportunity, won’t stand the test of time. Like a great country song, this song plucks a phrase out of the vernacular and makes it signify in an unexpected way.
So, wait…maybe I can do that too, and in the process fill the football song gap. “He’s got not enough weapons, not enough weapons…” Hmmm. Perhaps I’ll leave the songwriting to the pros.
(Finally, a plug for this entire album, Welcome Interstate Managers, which I think is Fountains of Wayne’s best, a series of vignettes of boy-men contemplating transitions they’d rather talk about than make, wonderfully varied musically and generally not as quick to go for the easy punchline as other stuff of theirs. Give it a spin, and go Broncos!)