You can forget about putting together a Best Albums of 2014 list right now. Because all recorded music has been a pale imitation since 2005's "Oh, Say Can You Sing" was released. The album, which featured 11 MLB players, including Coco Crisp, Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith lending their voices to pop/rock covers, is the greatest to ever be released.
I mean, why bother with the Beatles, Bach or Beethoven when you can listen to baseball players.
But which track out of all of this truly amazing music is the best? We'll rate each song for you on a scale of 1-5 Frank Violas. After all, Viola was nicknamed "Sweet Music."
Track 1 - "With or Without You" by U2, interpreted by Ben Broussard
The album kicks off with Broussard singing the anthemic classic by U2. Somehow this one wasn't automatically added to your iTunes. Weird.
Broussard was a good choice to start the record. After all, he's released two solo albums, even getting his music picked up by honest-to-gosh TV shows.
Track 2 - "How Do You Like Me Now?" by Toby Keith, interpreted by Sean Casey
An interesting choice from the man commonly known as the most likable player in baseball. As Casey tries to gruffly sing, "How do you like me now?" you can only assume that he knows the answer is: "Very much! You are a very nice man!"
Also of note, Casey claims in the liner notes that Nick Lachey is one of his favorite artists. He may be the only person in recorded history other than a Lachey family member to admit that.
Track 3 - "Plush" by Stone Temple Pilots, interpreted by Jeff Conine
For a player who seems to epitomize the '90s, what with all of those teal pinstripes, Conine chooses a fitting number with this STP jam. Conine even uses the song to poke fun at the rainy, unpredictable southern Florida weather necessitating many a rain delay during his Marlins heyday:
"And I feel, so much depends on the weather
So is it raining in your bedroom?"
In the end, the performance is a little like Conine's career. It is a solid number that gets the job done, but is unfortunately overlooked by some of the stronger numbers on the album. Like the song coming right after...
Track 4 - "We Got That Thing" written by Coco Crisp
The first of two original numbers on the record, Crisp shows off a strong ear for melody and beat-making with a catchy '80s-influenced bassline and simple piano line. And while no one will confuse Crisp with Tupac, he's also a much, much better rapper than every member of the 1986 Mets.
The then-Indians outfielder may have even put himself on Billy Beane's radar by saying, "A sacrifice bunt is like burnt offerings."
The song even has a short interlude in which Broussard, then Crisp's teammate, does a little beatboxing. Though it's a little closer to making raspberry noises into a microphone.
Track 5 - "Dooley" by The Dillards, as interpreted by Matt Ginter
We soon move from the West Coast hip hop scene to the south as Matt Ginter's intricate banjo-picking comes in. Ginter supplies backing vocals while his brother takes lead, though it's the banjo's performance that really stands out in this heartwarming story of a moonshiner no longer with us.
Track 6 - "Letters from Home" by John Michael Montgomery, as interpreted by Aubrey Huff
While Huff may be best remembered for his rally thong (man, what is up the the Giants and their famous underwear?), here the infielder displays an absurdly rich baritone with plenty of emotional subtext.
Huff's voice and restrained accompaniment actually improves a song that can often feel cloying and overly sentimental.
Track 7 - "Wave on Wave" by Pat Green, as interpreted by Scott Linebrink
While Linebrink's voice and guitar playing are solid and serviceable, the song fails to stand out on the record. It's kind of the middle reliever of the tracklist.
Track 8 - "Wish List" Original song written and recorded by Jimmy Rollins
Here we have our second original number of the album, just in time for Christmas. Rollins tells us that, "When I was young, I didn't have a big wish list/ A bat and ball is all I wanted for Christmas."
While Rollins' flow and sense of humor is evident with lines like "In the shoes of a true born winner, taking it to the top with gems on SportsCenter," he unfortunately seems to run out of energy at the end, telling us to "Go stupid" for what seems like ten minutes.
Track 9 - "Cupid" by Sam Cooke, as interpreted by Ozzie Smith
Here we take a soulful detour as melancholy horns enter and we hear Smith's surprising voice. With a comfortable tenor that touches notes an octave higher than everyone else on the record, it turns out that not only can Smith making diving plays and do on-field gymnastics like nobody else, but he's a fine singer, too.
It's not fair for a human being to be good at that many things.
Track 10 - "Broadway" by Goo Goo Dolls, as interpreted by Omar Vizquel
I don't know what Vizquel was thinking. I mean, sure, I guess "Broadway" is okay, but when choosing a Goo Goo Dolls song, how do you pick anything other than "Iris"? It simply boggles the mind.
And while Vizquel sounds a bit like Rey Mysterio (as pointed out online and confirmed by Cut4's wrestling correspondent, Mike Bertha), Vizquel's drumming helps push the music forward.
Better than his song, is the revelation on the bonus disc that Vizquel has his own brand of salsa:
and his own popcorn:
Track 11 - "Hurts So Good" by John Mellencamp, as interpreted by Kelly Wunsch
And finally we come to end of the record. While Wunsch's vocals are smoky enough to believe that he "Hurts so good," the song lacks the necessary oomph to close out the record.
It's like a closer throwing 88 mph -- it just doesn't work for the end-of-album situation.
Sadly, we don't have a follow-up record yet. So for all of those hoping for a Bronson Arroyo, Derek Holland, Jake Peavy album, you'll have to keep listening to it in your dreams.