Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Ichiro Rock 'n' Roll

Xola, "Ichiro!" (2001).
In the early '90s, when Xola was known as Kid Sensation, he recorded the hiphop tune "The Way I Swing" with guest rapper Ken Griffey Jr. Though Ichiro doesn't rock the mic on "Ichiro!", Xola did get him to license his name to this song, which was played at Safeco Field and sold locally as a CD single during Ichiro's rookie season. The disc was then released in Japan in 2002, featuring four tracks: the original version, a new 2002 version, the "Club Groove Remix" and "Mad Flava Remix" (at least one of the remixes was by Sir Mix-a-Lot). The track again appeared on the 2009 Kid Sensation CD Back Home. According to this, "Ichiro reportedly thinks the song is 'cool.'"

The Ventures, "Let's Go! Ichiro" (2001).
After opening with a promising surf-rock riff, this song is mostly just a mix of guitars, horns, and the song title sung ad nauseum over a dumb dance beat. Kinda sad, Tacoma's legendary surf-guitar gods putting out this half-assed effort. (They were still inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame seven years later, ostensibly for such unassailable classics as "Walk, Don't Run" and "Hawaii Five-O.") This tune comes from the EP Songs for the Baseball Players, which was apparently only released in Japan. Makes sense, since both the Ichiro and the Ventures are huge there.

Terry Cashman, "Ichiro" (2002).
Cashman has milked his dopey 1981 novelty hit "Talkin' Baseball" far beyond its worth, with customized versions for nearly every Major League team (as well as for The Simpsons, which is actually kinda cool). His Ichiro tribute is a generic, mid-tempo rocker, though he rolls the R when he sings "Ichiro," presumably for authenticity. From the EP Talkin' Baseball: Seattle Mariners.

Supersnazz, "Go Go Ichiro" (2004).
Now we're getting somewhere: a two-minute garage-rock blast by the all-girl Japanese band, shouting the title over and over like crazed fans who are genuinely stoked about their subject -- any additional lyrics would just get in the way. This comes from the compilation Seattle ...A Baseball Town, in which Ichiro gets additional shout-outs in "Baseball Hero" (also by Supersnazz) and "2001" by Presidents of the United States of America frontguy Chris Ballew. Here's a video.

Goblin Cock, “Ichiro’s Dilemma” (2005).
A dumb metal song about some character from the Godzilla movies, so don't bother.

Charles Mazarakes, “Ichiro” (2006).
A brief, minor-key instrumental, with flute mingling with the plucking of some Japanese-sounding stringed instrument. There are no other clues as whether this is about our Ichiro or some other Ichiro -- check out the Songs from a Stone CD and decide for yourself.

Phil Coley, "Ichiro" (2007).
Imagine Waylon Jennings singing over a Wesley Willis composition, though with a bit more lyrical ambition than the above numbers. Coley ticks off Ichiro's various career achievements as a sort of folky ballad while tossing in a few oddball lines ("He has the drive, precision and smoothness of a Toyota"). From the CD Baseball Songs: Sports Heroes 2.

The Seattle Sports Band, "Ichiro Suzuki" (2009).
This is even more amateurish than the album cover seen above. Still, Mariners & Seahawks might be worth a spin for its other tunes, including "Matt Hasselbeck," "Don Wakamatsu," and "T.J. Houshmandzadeh."

Projekt A-ko, "Ichiro on Third" (2009).
From the album Yoyodyne, these Scottish lads tackle Ichiro with a sort of Pavement-y sound. The lyrics are neither here nor there.

Carlos De Couto, "Go Ichiro!" (2010).
Mix a '90s Helmet riff with cheering crowd noises, a fake stadium announcer and the song title sung repeatedly, and, well, you get this.

The Baseball Project, "Ichiro Goes to the Moon" (2010).
Okay, these guys are cool, and so is this song. It has yet to be released, but it's definitely the best Ichiro tune I've heard -- they played it live at their show I attended last Friday, as seen on my stolen set list (above). "Don't put him on a pedestal/ Just treat him with respect/ (something something something)/ He earns all that he gets." The verses praise Ichiro's stellar achievements, and the chorus goes, "I won't be surprised at all when Ichiro goes, Ichiro goes to the moon." After playing the song, band co-leader Scott McCaughey mentioned that Ben Gibbard from the Death Cabs for the Cuties is also working on his own Ichiro song, so be on the lookout for that one. Read more about the mighty Baseball Project here.

Dave Ross, “Ichiro: The Opera” (year unknown).
Novelty song sung to the tune of Figaro by a wacky Seattle DJ -- listen here.

Ichiro's Entrance Music
Over his ten seasons at Safeco Field, these are among the tunes that have played as he's stepped up to bat...
"In Da Club" by 50 Cent
"In the Ayer" by Flo Rida
"Jump" by Flo Rida
"Sugar" by Flo Rida
“Identity” by Ringo Shiina
“Yokushitsu” by Ringo Shiina
"Take it to da House" by Trick Daddy
"Yeah!" by Usher

If you know of any other bits of Ichiro Rock 'n' Roll, send 'em in!
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