Monday, February 20, 2006

Does Pittsburgh need a song?

Pittsburgh’s looking for a song, well at least The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is, and they were kind enough to ask our input. (Sometimes coming up with material for a blog is too easy.) A few people were kind enough to turn their attention away from writing songs just about the Steelers and try writing something about Pittsburgh in general. So based on a thorough listening to the full version of each of the 5 entries, gsully and I offer these humble comments.

Pittsburgh
by Rodney McBride, performed by Sharon Fisher.
Sister Sledge meets The Chamber of Commerce. At first I thought this one was actually written by Tom Murphy. This one makes the cut because of the catchy beat – but forced lines like “Where you can catch a game on the shores of fame” and “you’ve got a friend in PA and in Pittsburgh too” doom this train before it leaves the station.

The Pride of Pittsburgh
by Stephanie Riso, performed by Olga Watkins w/ Mason Embry.
First, let me say that this one is well sung, and I liked the piano. The first eye roller is its generality “We’re a city of of champions, We come from North, South, East and West.” Second, the song slides from pure boosterism into a response to the city’s critic’s (such as columnists that say it is “butt-ugly”: “It’s the pride of Pittsburgh, it’s a cleaned up city no grime or gritty.”

Shot and a Beer Town,
by Rick Malis.
Rick channels Bruce Springsteen. Like many Bruce Springsteen songs this one is best enjoyed with whiskey and sleeping pills. Groaner line (but so true): “Some things never change in a shot and a beer town.”

The Place Where I Come From,
by Dave Kincade and Dave Hanner.
THE WINNER. This one has something the other 3 don’t, a soaring chorus which makes it appropriate for local news promotions. This one is almost as good as the jingle Hanner wrote that American Idol runner-up Bo Bice was going to sing for Eat 'n Park. I am docking it because of this one little section where they seem to imply that somehow everything isn’t hunky dory around here:

“I laid my head on the pillow last night
I saw the future it ws shining bright
And now I know, now I know everything’s gonna be alright"

I Love Pittsburgh,
by Jimmy Sapienza.
Pittsburgh doesn’t seem like a place that can be captured by the Sinatra, Connick supper club vibe, but Jimmy Sapienza gives it a try. If Sapienza were a blogger he would be tagged with gratuitous use of the term Yunz – just ask Mike Madison. I couldn’t go with Jimmy because:

1. At the end of the day he seemed to imply that we had the Steelers, Pirates, Panthers, Penguins, rivers, an airport, pretty girls, and friendly people, and that’s it; and

2. In this era of globalization, Jimmy’s ambition was to best in the USA – come on where’s the comparisons to Dubai, Shanghai, and Paris?

Sapienza does get extra credit for the most honest content at the end of the song when he says "look out for that pot hole."

Nice try guys, but you won’t be replacing the theme to The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh on my iPod anytime soon.

To listen to these songs about Pittsburgh, click here.

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