Earlier today, Billy Frijoles gave us an excellent, in-depth look at the awesome new scoreboard in the O.co Coliseum. But that's not the only new thing at home games, as he mentions at the end of the post, and as Susan Slusser details on the Chronicle's site. The Oakland A's have a new victory song, as well. After using "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang for most of the last 30 years, they tried out something new on Opening Night. Behold, "Theme for Oakland" by the Phenomenauts.
I know that change is difficult, and I'm no exception to that principle. I'm as stubborn as anyone when it comes to routines and traditions, to finding what I like and sticking with it. But this new song is awesome, and here are five reasons why.
1. "Celebration" is a tradition ... for lots of teams
Look, I get it. "Celebration" is a tradition, and it's a classic. But it's also a tradition for three other teams in MLB alone, and probably more in other sports. Check out this list of all 30 MLB teams' 2014 victory songs -- "Celebration" was also the choice of the Astros, Padres, and Angels. You guys, we were celebrating to the same song as the freaking Angels last year. That alone should be enough to make you want to change it. Now I just see a room full of rally monkeys in Angels hats dancing around and celebrating, and probably throwing poop at each other. The song has been sullied.
And worse, notice its ranking on the list. It's tied for 27th, meaning only three songs were ranked worse. Two of those songs were "Happy" by Pharrell and "Timber" by freaking Pitbull. If the best thing you can say about your song is that it's better than Pitbull, then you need to reevaluate.
2. "Celebration" has nothing to do with the A's
It is absolutely not a requirement that your victory song have any relation to your team, but it's cool if it does. Which teams' songs can you name off the top of your head? For me, it's "New York, New York" for the Yankees and "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" for the Giants. Notice what those both have in common? The Indians use the theme to the Drew Carey Show, "Cleveland Rocks." There are bonus points for relevance.
"Celebration" a great song, but it's generic. It could just as easily be played in your office when you have a pizza party to commemorate hitting a sales goal (I have literally no idea what happens in offices). It just doesn't have anything to do with the A's except for being played at A's games a lot. It's a great choice, but not so great that it's blasphemous to move on -- more of a quality place-holder, like Jesse Chavez in the rotation or Sam Fuld in the outfield. If something better comes up, it's worth investigating. And, god it hurts to write this, but it's not like we have a recent famous highlight of the A's celebrating a World Series win (or even an ALCS win) with Kool & the Gang playing in the back, locked in our hearts, such that every time the song comes on you're reminded of our recent championship memories. If "Celebration" is our signature song, then all we did to sign it was write an X on the dotted line instead of our names.
3. "Theme for Oakland" is fun as hell
Well, folks, something better has come up. This song is perfect. I'm pumped just thinking about it playing after our next win. It starts off like a rock version of a college fight song, with that strong percussion, like a march. The opening lyrics are being chanted by a group, as if they were sung by a stadium full of people in unison. The lyrics are practically designed to sing along with, slow and easy. I can already imagine them posted in high-definition on the brand new scoreboard, with a big elephant bobbing up and down across them as it follows along with the song. And they're easy enough that anyone can remember them -- a child could learn these words.
For those who miss "Celebration," one big complaint I've seen is that they miss singing along with the woohoo's in the song. Well, fear not -- "Theme for Oakland" has plenty of hey's to chant with. In fact, it has way more of them.
4. "Theme for Oakland" is relevant to the Oakland A's
OK, this is basically the same as the second reason, except the opposite. If a song gets extra credit for relevance, then this one gets an A++. The song is about Oakland being the freaking capital of Earth:
Humankind calls our home
Planet Earth, this we know
But the greatest place to be
On the planet of our birth
Is Oakland, California,
The capital of Earth
And wherever we may roam
Far and wide, let it be known
That whenever we say home
It's the place we think of first
The capital of Earth
How awesome is that? Sure, maybe Frank Sinatra wants to be a part of New York, and maybe Cleveland rocks (it doesn't). But Oakland is the capital of the entire goshdanged planet. Your move, rest of the world.
Furthermore, the Phenomenauts are a fantastic local band. I actually used to see these guys play at local shows when I was in high school, over 10 years ago, and although I think the lineup has changed since then they were always a lot of fun and still seem to be. This isn't just a few dudes in t-shirts and torn jeans; the Phenomenauts have full costumes, a future/space theme, a backstory, choreography, props for crowd interaction, and a full act in which they stay in character. Check out this video of a live show:
5. A's fans are used to change
Like I said, change is difficult, but it's also inevitable in most areas. We watch the A's roster change constantly, with our favorite players moving faster and faster with each new permutation. The Raiders came back and changed our stadium, and we've tried some different uniforms over the years. We've spent the last decade wondering if the team would move to San Jose, with the other option being a new stadium in Oakland. We've also been on the forefront of changing, you know, the entire strategy of how baseball is played and analyzed. Everything changes, and the victory song shouldn't be immune to this phenomenon. If something better comes up, which it has, then why not? I bet the Angels won't copy it, at least.
That's my argument. What do you think? Do you agree, for these or other reasons? Do you think I'm wildly off-base, and that "Celebration" simply must come back? Let's duke it out in the comments! Also, go vote in the poll on Billy's scoreboard article -- the A's are aware of that poll, and you can also contact them on their official Twitter, @Athletics.
I'll leave you with one more A's song. This might not be a good victory song; it's too much about the team, like wearing the shirt of the band whose concert you're going to. But maybe it would be a good pre-game song, or something for the middle innings. (But keep our "2 Legit 2 Quit" for the eighth inning please!)