Friday, February 05, 2010

I'm In Love With That Song: Frank Catalanotto

"I'm In Love With That Song" is a celebration and examination of the at-bat music of the New York Mets.

Upon researching facts on Frank Catalanotto - a free agent utility man signed by the Mets last week - two pieces of information stood out.

1. Frank Catalanotto's nickname is "Little Cat". Me-yow.

2. Last year, every time Frank Catalanotto would stride from the on-deck circle to the batter's box, "Your Love" by The Outfield would blare over the PA system.

Which is weird.

Usually the songs that baseball players choose to come up to bat to are loud, in your face and possibly misogynistic. But "Your Love" is certainly not in your face. It's an innocuous sounding pop song. An innocuous sounding pop song (in the key of E, the prettiest sounding key) from 1985. An innocuous sounding pop song from 1985 that is actually about an affair.

Josie's on a vacation far away
Come around and talk it over
So many things that I wanna say
You know I like my girls a little bit older
I just wanna use your love tonight
I don't wanna lose your love tonight

The line, "You know I like my girls a little bit older" is the most intriguing. Is the protagonist talking/singing to a prostitute? If you take out this one line the song would obviously be about a close female friend or former lover the protagonist uses as a booty call, for when his current girlfriend/spouse isn't around. This leads me to believe that "You know I like my girls a little bit older" is a line that the singer/songwriter John Spinks says in a teasing manner, because his girlfriend/wife has a few years on the lady in his bed. John Spinks is kind of a jerk, and that's why we love him.

I ain't got many friends left to talk to
No one's around when I'm in trouble
You know I'd do anything for you
Stay the night but keep it undercover
I just wanna use your love tonight
I don't wanna lose your love tonight

Despite the singer's pleading heartfelt tones, I doubt the woman would be pleased with being told her love is being used. But there it is. Take it or leave it.

And then there's the video.

It's brilliant: it tells a poignant tale of Dostoyevskian tragedy with palpability to the casual 80's MTV viewer.

This is John Spinks, the guitar player for The Outfield and writer of the song. He doesn't sing the song however.
That honor went to the vocalist, Tony Lewis. Some people are destined to be mulleted earring-wearing falsetto rock gods.

Our lady of the night is at the studio when the band walks in. Even though John invited her, she seems to take a shine to To-nay.

She paints while The Outfield run-through their song. At times blotches of paint appear on the screen. This woman is the muse to "Your Love". She IS "Your Love".

Tony flirts with her.

                                                                          She blushes.

                           John notices this. When the middle eight starts he walks over to her.

He sees that the painting looks a little like her new crush.  (And ridiculously Picasso influenced.) John says, "Tony's available you know." He walks away and she smiles.

                                    "Why did he say that?" she thinks. "What am I doing here?"

For the next minute the video is exclusively of the band playing. Eventually, the camera pans out to the street, and we see the woman walk away.

For good?

"Your Love" remained on the radio throughout the nineties and the early naughts on adult contemporary stations. With the exception of the punk-ska band Less Than Jake in 2002, no band had bothered to cover the song. Cue Adam Sandler.

Sandler, who features almost exclusively eighties pop songs in the soundtracks to his feature movies, starred in the 2004 comedy 50 First Dates with Drew Barrymore. One of the songs on the soundtrack was a cover of "Your Love" with Wyclef Jean featuring Eve. Combined with this exposure and the mid to late 2000's fondness for anything eighties, "Your Love" became relevant again. The list of bands/musicians that have covered or "remixed" the song in the last few years includes The Decemberists, Coheed and Cambria and Katy Perry. Bon Iver, a well-respected melancholic indie rock crooner, has sung morose versions of "Your Love" in concerts that come off to some people, including myself, as very funny.

So why does Frank Catalanotto, and Eric Byrnes and Gordon Beckham and Kelly Johnson for that matter, use "Your Love" as their at-bat music? Is Catalanotto cheating on his wife and three children? I certainly hope not. Is Catalanotto completely unaware of the subtext? Possible. Does he simply enjoy the fact that the band is called "The Outfield", and that the album that features "Your Love" is called "Play Deep", and that another album in their discography is "Diamond Days", and that two of their compilations were titled "Playing The Field" and "Big Innings: The Best Of The Outfield"? Does he just do everything Eric Byrnes does? Does he just like the way it sounds? We might as well be asking, "Who is Frank Catalanotto?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it fits, rumor is he cheated on his ex girlfriend with his now wife who is younger...funny. I heard they are now business partners