Don’t Quit Your Day Job: Soccer Edition

It’s hard to tell someone “don’t quit your day job” when that day job often only requires you to work for a few hours a day for a few months out of the year while playing a sport. Perhaps that explains why so many athletes have devoted their copious amounts of downtime to attempting to launch music careers. And while a few have been moderately successful (Bernie Williams, Oscar de la Hoya) most have been crash and burn disasters.

Fortunately, they’ve also given us plenty to laugh at in the form of ill-advised music videos and TV appearances. From time to time, we’ll pit two prime examples of bad music against each other. First off, we look at the music careers of two moderately talented soccer players from the 1990s:

Alexi Lalas:

Richard: This is clearly from Alexi’s time playing in Italy with Padova, but I feel like I’ve stumbled onto an episode of “The Mr. & Former Mrs. Laupin Variety Program Featuring Johnny Blue Jeans” from “The State.” Apparently, the Italian fascination with surrealism extends beyond movies, as this seems to resemble what a variety show would look like if directed by Fellini (or given the horror aspects, Pier Paolo Pasolini). In retrospect, it seems almost impossible to imagine that a midget didn’t come riding through on a tricycle while throwing dead chickens at the audience.

You almost wonder if all the weirdness was done to distract the audience from realizing just how awful Alexi (“from Detroit!”) was. Visually, he looked like every faux hipster grunge douche from the mid-1990s – the dude from Spin Doctors mixed with Dave Mustaine. And he has a little bit of Mustaine’s nasally whine in his vocals, although without any of the Megadeth singer’s…well, whatever people find appealing about Dave Mustaine. Throw in the fact that it’s a cover of one of the most lightweight singles of the era, and it’s a pretty giant fiasco.

Scott: One time after a Wizards game in Kansas City, Alexi Lalas high-fived me and made a smart-ass comment.  I didn’t know if I should be amused or annoyed.  I feel the same way about this performance.  Had I not found his World Cup commentary so whiny and angry, I’d be embarrassed for him.  But this was the 90s!  People did crazy things like buy Spin Doctors albums and break up Yugoslavia.

Vinnie Jones:

Richard: Perhaps you know him from his playing days, where he earned a reputation as a “hard man” (nope, no latent homosexual undertones here) who wasn’t afraid to plow through an opponent or grab him in the onions to win(nope, no latent homosexual undertones here). More likely you’re familiar with his movie work in films such as “Snatch,” “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “Swordfish,” where he’s played “that guy who is Vinnie Jones.”But you probably don’t know him as a singer of soul and blues tracks, do you? And do you want to know why? Because he’s awful! As evidenced by this take on the Jim Croce classic, he makes Seth MacFarlane’s masturbatory cabaret music career look like Mel Torme’s by comparison. Oof.

Scott: I love Vinnie Jones.  He’s got a cool last name.  He’s a bald, soccer playing, acting, tough guy.  I would let him punch me just to have a connection with him.  That said, this is an example of a guy who is rarely told “no”.  Can you blame him?  He’s a jack of many trades and as a famous person, he’s surely surrounded by an entourage of yes-men, so logic dictates “Why not singing too?”  This is why.

The Final Analysis:

Richard: It’s tough to choose a “winner” here, since both tracks will make you question the value of music in their own way. But in the end, the edge for the worst song has to go to Alexi Lalas. Visually, that video is insane – as much for how much of a ringing endorsement it is to not to feel nostalgic for the looks of the “grunge” era than anything that was happening at Bizarro Studios in Rome. Also, I feel somewhat confident that Vinnie Jones knows that he’s not a very good singer, and was just trying to make a quick buck and have some fun; however, I think that Alexi actually feels the music, man, deep down in his soul.

The fact that Alexi Lalas’ band toured as an opening act for Hootie & the Blowfish seals the deal. Vinnie Jones would have head-butted Darius Rucker or the perpetually-stoned looking drummer within two gigs.

Scott: While I’d rather have a drink with Vinnie than Alexi, but this is not a best-dude contest, so  I’m gonna say Vinnie is worse.  I’m irritated at all aspects of that “Top of the Pops” performance: the cheesy band and backup singers, the stage design.  I’m even mad at the CAMERA MAN for that goofy close up of Vinnie’s tapping foot and subsequent camera move up to his face.  I like the Jim Croce song and he made is worse than an off-strip Vegas lounge “tribute” without nudity.  Of course if I ever were to meet Vinnie, I would deny saying any of this.

What do you think? Vote in our poll to vote your opinion. Have a video you’d like to see featured in a future post? Tell us in the comments.

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Filed under Manfredi, Video

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