I waited a full week after the Tribune song contest was over to sit down and finally write this article and tell you what some of you probably already know. Our crowdsourced BCB song "Let's Go Cubs" wasn't picked to be in the "Sweet 16" out of 30 entries. The reason I waited: Any post I would have written over the last few weeks would have been underscored with vitriol and a disappointment I haven't felt since my sisters and I were left out of the eighth-grade talent show. Even though we had brought down the house the previous two years with our choreographed musical theatre numbers, we were told that we had to open up a slot for other kids to have a chance to perform. So I sat seething in the audience, suffering through sixth graders performing an amateur gymnastics routine to "Final Countdown" and second graders pantomiming the "Baby Bumblebee" song. It was an early and valuable lesson in not always getting what you want in show business.
Before I share with you the song that did win the fan favorite that the Tribune voters thought should replace "Go Cubs Go" after a Cubs win, I have to be clear that I don't feel that our song deserved to win the contest necessarily. It is by no means the best song in the world, and certainly not as catchy or sing-a-longable as "Go Cubs Go" or contest winner "Cubs Win", both of which would have easily beaten our BCB song. But what are the ushers going to do? Pass out lyric sheets after a "W" and announce that we're all singing this new song now? Not going to happen. Whether you're a fan of "Go Cubs Go" or not, it's a tradition and ingrained in Cubs culture. I found a recently uploaded video of a father teaching the Goodman classic to his infant daughter. "Go Cubs Go" is not going anywhere.
Yet, even though BCB didn't have the chance to compete in the finals of this contest, I'm proud of our song and video which was uniquely fan-created. BCB readers and a host of the Ivy Envy Podcast sang, played horns, clapped along, chanted and cheered with their families and friends. However, this sort of show of fan force is my speculation as to why we were not picked to participate in the finals. We would have easily run away with the victory considering the wide net we could have cast to get the vote out. Irregardless of our song deserving to win, we would have had an unfair advantage. Either that, or the Trib just thinks our song is bad. In that case, I'm just dining on sour grapes here.
The good news is, the winner of the Tribune contest was "Cubs Win" by Jumpsuit.
"Cubs Win" was one of two songs that made the finals that I had hoped would win. Its rousing party feel is the perfect song to sing after $70 worth of beer. The lyrics are simple and memorable and the lead singer looks more like Ryan Dempster than I do!
The other song I liked was Don Neeson's "Cubs Won Today".
Or I just like Don Neeson. With a little imagination, I can imagine a large group of people singing this song, but I'm also demonstrating the range of finalists in the contest. I honestly do like the melody and lyrics. I would slow the tempo down to be anthemic and militaristic sounding like a triumphant "Cat's in the Cradle." It also works that the song is in a minor key befitting our embattled baseball history. Don, let's work this tune up together! I've got the tools to realize your vision!
There are a few other contest entries that made the finals that I found just OK, and a few that I just can't understand how in the heck we didn't make the finals. I'll let you wade through them here, where you can also see how the contest was whittled down into a winner.
Congratulations to "Jumpsuit" for winning! I dig your tune and I think fans made the right choice. And to all of the musicians who wrote Cubs songs and participated in the contest, I love that we Cubs fans are such a creative bunch!
Also, thanks to you all who helped produce "Let's Go Cubs" -- from those of you who sent in pictures to the singers and instrumentalists. All in all, a few dozen people rock our track! I am certainly proud of that accomplishment. We did it together, folks!
I must say that I think we got shafted and I wrote the Tribune's Mark Caro who ran the contest to ask for an explanation as to why, after extraordinary crowd sourcing effort and a decent enough song, we were left out of the finals, but I did not receive a response. Hey, maybe he just thought the song sucked. I can live with that. I've eaten crow many times and find it delicious.
We're all winners in my book!