Last year at the start of the NFL season I went through and gave about eight teams an album that I thought would best represent their 2014 season. We’re renewing that tradition, but this time I’ve done it for all 32 teams. That’s right! Extra Mustard is now the definitive home for comparing sports teams to music. What can we say? We listen to the fans.
Some of these are easier than others. I mean, I made the most obvious joke imaginable for the Patriots, but it also can be kinda hard. There are some really cultureless NFL teams out there. For instance, what album do you give the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Regardless, I did my best and I think you’ll enjoy. These are divided by division, so scroll through, find your team, and get mad at me for comparing them to DJ Khaled. It’s the circle of life.
FKA twigs — LP1
Congratulations Minnesota! After a decade of being immediately passed over by everyone, you’re finally a hot team! Influential people are picking you as a Wild Card contender, a few brave souls are saying you’ll win the NFC North! I haven’t heard conjecture like that since Daunte Culpepper was playing. Go ahead and spin FKA twigs’ debut full-length from last year. She got a ton of buzz with her pre-release singles, and she managed to capitalize that into legitimate fame. You can do it Vikings! Validate us!
This Mortal Coil — It’ll End in Tears
I have a sneaking suspicion that Jay Cutler thinks everyone on his team hates him, and he might be right. This Mortal Coil’s It’ll End in Tears might be the most gothic album ever recorded, but last year Bears fans were lamenting the loss of Josh McCown. Desperate times, desperate measures.
LMFAO — Party Rock
I made this joke last year, but Matthew Stafford looks like his favorite band is LMFAO. There are worse bands to like! I mean, I’m a Chargers fan and Philip Rivers’ favorite band is Rick Santorum. However, until Matthew Stafford stops making this face, you’re going to continue to get LMFAO from me.
Green Bay Packers
Neil Young — Harvest
The funny thing about Neil Young is that while he was born a Canadian country boy, he’s still lived in California for most of his life. I mean, it’s not disingenuous, it’s just reality. He still makes great art even though he’s not holding down fort in a patchy tent somewhere in the Alaskan wilds. The Green Bay Packers are going to be great this year. Nobody would be surprised if Aaron Rodgers took home another Super Bowl. That’s good! That’s good for the community, but guess what? Afterwards Aaron Rodgers will leave the Midwest, like he does every off-season. Aaron Rodgers has a house in Del Mar, Calif. I’ve been to Del Mar. It has a beach and horse races. Sorry Green Bay, you don’t quite cut it.
Drake — Take Care
Okay, this one is obvious, but I’m just so ready for the Drake/Manziel era to begin in Cleveland. I yearn, yearn for the day I wake up and learn that Johnny Football is in the OVO studio with Drake, and they’re “cooking up some stuff.” Please, PLEASE.
Celine Dion — Falling Into You
In 1997 Celine Dion’s Falling Into You won the Grammy for Album of the Year, beating out other nominees like Beck’s Odelay, The Fugees’ The Score, and The Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness.
It was the most random choice imaginable, and years later I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t some sort of weird mistake. In fact, I feel the same way about Falling Into You’s Grammy win as I do about the Ravens’ 2012 Super Bowl victory. How did we, as Americans, let Joe Flacco win a Super Bowl MVP?
Pink Floyd — Dark Side of the Moon
Syd Barrett seems like an interesting guy, but let’s not get it twisted. The dude was an acid-burned psycho who put an irresponsible amount of stress on everyone around him. Eventually Pink Floyd moved on without its most famous member, and transcended all its past success with albums like The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon.
I cannot stress how important it is to get rid of the Syd Barrett’s in your life. They are holding you back. They might seem like nice guys, they might get the job done here and there, but at the end of the day they are erratic and chronically disappointing.
Cincinnati, Andy Dalton is your Syd Barrett, and it’s time to write your Dark Side of the Moon.
Metallica — St. Anger
Once upon a time you were who you said you were. The Pittsburgh Steelers! They run the ball every down and sleep on concrete floors! You knock out your two front teeth for fun! You literally eat footballs for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
But nah, not anymore. You guys literally have the league’s leading receiver on your team. Those days of Jerome Bettis‘s 15 carries for nine yards are long over. You’re just another one of us now. A generic, pass-first offense ready to round off another 9–7 record. Embrace the mediocrity. Let the terrible snare sound on St. Anger serve as a reminder of how much you’ve fallen. You were warriors! Now you complain about Napster.
Big K.R.I.T. — Cadillactica
Big K.R.I.T. has been a rock solid MC for his entire career, but he’s never been talked about on more than a lukewarm basis, because other guys ape his style with a little more pizzazz. He’s rendered obsolete by virtue of his own consistency, which is exactly why Matt Ryan will never be in the Hall of Fame.
New Orleans Saints
Weezer — Make Believe
Here’s the thing with the Saints. They’re bad. They’re going to be bad for a long time. They traded Jimmy Graham and we’re not sure if Drew Brees can play quarterback anymore. However, we’ll still secretly expect them to be good because… well, they’re the Saints! The Saints are good right?
At a certain point you need to realize that all the people you used to love are gone and that Weezer hasn’t put out a good album in like 20 years.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Julian Casablancas — Phrazes For The Young
I’ve never been more terrified for a debut album. On one hand Julian Casablancas is the genius that made The Strokes work; he’s responsible for more perfect rock songs than anyone in his generation. But there’s also that creeping dread that he might actually be a giant jerk. It’s the same situation with Jameis Winston. I’m so excited to see him run, and throw, and be great, but then I remember the crab legs and the very unfunny sexual assault allegations and I get terrified that this will be a disaster in slow motion.
Jidenna — Wondaland Presents: The Eephus
Cream — Disraeli Gears
Eric Clapton was a fantastic guitarist and a decent songwriter. But while Cream are one of the most iconic acts of the British invasion, Clapton will always be known for his solo work in the ‘70s and ‘80s.That’s not necessarily fair, because Disraeli Gears is awesome, but sometimes a true artist needs to spread his wings and move on to bigger and better things. Similarly, I think Marcus Mariota will have a good run in Tennessee, but will probably do his best work somewhere else. Sorry Titans fans.
Tame Impala — Currents
Kevin Parker and Andrew Luck are both young psychopathic auteurs ready for their close-up. They burst onto the scene with an uber-promising psychedelic debut and a surprise playoff trip, respectively. They nurtured that momentum into legit greatness in year two, and now we stand on the precipice of transcendence. Andrew Luck loads up with a flashy crew of new offensive weapons and prepares for a very real Super Bowl opportunity, and Kevin Parker unleashes Currents, which may or may not be the greatest rock album of the last five years. Also, I’m pretty sure these two would have some great conversations about the cosmos.
Big Smo — Bringin’ it Home
Big Smo is a giant white dude from Tennessee who raps over crunchy Skynyrd riffs. It’s shockingly fun, and he’s build enough momentum to get his own show on A&E.
I don’t have a giant connected theory here, I just really think J.J. Watt would get along with Big Smo. In fact, I think J.J. Watt would be a fantastic country rapper. Like, I am so totally ready to watch J.J. Watt share a track with Florida Georgia Line. Let’s make it happen America!
Fat Joe — The Darkside, Vol. 1
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a solo Fat Joe song. He’s an MC we know as the third or fourth name trailing DJ Khaled posse cuts and extraneous remixes. His sole hit, “Lean Back,” was more meme than song, and I kind of wish it was released in the Vine era. The point is, I’ve never really thought about Fat Joe. The album I listed came out in 2010, and as far as I can tell there’s never been a The Darkside Vol. 2,which is very, very fitting. I’ve also never really considered the Jacksonville Jaguars, or the city of Jacksonville. I don’t know who their coach is, I don’t know whether they’ve grown or regressed—frankly, my only clear memory of the Jacksonville Jaguars is David Garrard and that one time I drafted Maurice Jones-Drew. You know what? I feel pretty good in saying that David Garrard is the Fat Joe of quarterbacks.
San Diego Chargers
The Beatles — Let it Be
This is it baby. The chips are down, the fate is sealed. The San Diego Chargers will leave this world not with a hurrah, or a murder, or even much of a sigh. They leave like the sixth-best album of a legacy that’s already peaked. The San Diego Chargers will wrap up the 2015 season, tear down Qualcomm Stadium, and exit gracefully towards Los Angeles, where they can rekindle greatness once again. Let it Be was released long after The Beatles had broken up. Phil Specter was hired to go through the pieces of a failed recording session and condense them into a useable album. Enjoy these last few Philip Rivers floaters while you can, they’re already dead.
The Eagles — Long Road Out of Eden
I’m sure the Oakland Raiders think they’re The Rolling Stones. You know, another old, legacy-rich rock band that hasn’t been great in a long time. But that’s not true. The Giants are the Rolling Stones, they’ve got the multi-generational rings, the media coverage, the stadium, and the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel to prove it. The Raiders have a bad team, bad ownership, a bad stadium, and, yep, a mediocre legacy. No amount of Chris Berman’s “DA RAIDERZ” can save you from our indifference. Like the Chargers, your city has abandoned you. You’ve got Rich Gannon and John Madden. That’s kinda like having “Hotel California” and “Desperado.”
Kansas City Chiefs
The National — High Violet
Technically proficient, powerful, pretty, and permanently boring. The National have maintained the same level of popularity for a decade with album after album of glum indie rock and depressing pontification. Meanwhile, Alex Smith has a career 60-percent completion rate and is someone I’ve never considered critically in my entire life. The Chiefs will probably go, like, 9-7 again this year and fail to inspire us once again.
Nick Drake — Pink Moon
It’s over man. You saw it last year. Your boy Peyton Manning struggling to finish throws in the AFC Divisional round, Andrew Luck’s shooting star rising in the distance. You had three years. This was a three-year plan! You stocked up last year and came up short. That’s okay! It happens to us all. Look at the 49ers.
But here you are, you’re trying it again. We all know it’s not going to work, which is why I’m giving you the darkest album ever recorded. Listen to Nick Drake’s fading suicidal thoughts as Peyton Manning's neck takes its final dive.
San Francisco 49ers
Tyler, The Creator — Cherry Bomb
A few years ago you were the hottest thing on the planet. The sudden, spectacular rise of the San Francisco 49ers boasting the best run defense in the universe and a quarterback that looked like a legit all-timer. Then the hype faded, your friends turned on you, and well, you sorta started to suck. I’ve got hope that someday Tyler, The Creator will turn it around and start making important music again, but like Colin Kaepernick, there’s a chance he’ll be out of the league in a year too. Don’t let it come to that, please. The 2012 season was too much fun!
St. Louis Rams
Van Halen — OU812
You’ve got Van Halen and Michael Thompson! You’ve got Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald! But damn it, you’ve also got Sammy Hagar and Nick Foles. It doesn’t work! It just doesn’t work, and you’re so close too. I mean, I guess it could be worse, you could be working with Gary Cherone or Sam Bradford.
Oasis — What’s The Story (Morning Glory)
All right, guess what Seahawks? You’re still good. You have got a championship banner and came as close as humanly possible to a second one last year. You brought pretty much everyone back, you took care of some contracts, and you enter 2015 with probably the best team in the league.
However, this is the start of the decline, because we all know you’re starting to hate each other. Kam Chancellor is holding out, and you’ve got a bunch of important people to pay. This will not end well. The family will be broken apart, and Noel Gallagher will start taking shots in NME. You’ll soon pine for the salad days of Percy Harvin and Definitely Maybe, but they’ll be forever locked away in the past.
Raekwon — Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2
Raekwon should suck by now. He’s a 45-year old man nurtured on hardheaded New York rap. Most of those guys grow complacent and bitter. But somehow he’s probably the only Wu-Tang member that hasn’t fallen off. In a world where Jay Z is entirely uninterested in making music, that’s pretty impressive!
This year the Arizona Cardinals might make the playoffs if Carson Palmer stays healthy. Let me repeat that. If a 35-year old former Bengals quarterback stays healthy, the Arizona Cardinals could very well make the playoffs. You know who couldn’t do that? The Raiders. It’s insane. Raekwon might be a better quarterback than Carson Palmer at this point. How are the Cardinals still this good! They should be in full rebuild mode and they’re only 45/1 to win the Super Bowl.
Jay Z — The Blueprint
In 2001, Jay Z recorded the greatest diss track of all time. “The Takeover” spun a gaudy Doors sample into three perfect verses, eviscerating all his enemies, but especially Nas, who served as his most consistent nemesis. I’m not saying that Rex Ryan’s blood feud with the Jets will ever reach that level of royalty, but I’m certainly ready to watch him try. Let’s hope we get “The Takeover” of NFL press conferences in 2015.
New England Patriots
Milli Vanilli — All or Nothing
Hahahahahahaha. Okay I’m sorry, I couldn’t think of a better joke.
New York Jets
Tony Bennett — Cheek to Cheek
In the past you could justify the relentless media attention given to the New York Jets because of the personalities involved. You had Rex Ryan, you had Tim Tebow, you had the Mark Sanchez saga. It was still overwrought and stupid, but at least it made sense.
Now all those guys are gone, but we’re still forced to hear about the Jets every day of our lives. It’s infuriating, and the ultimate proof that you don’t need to be interesting to get talked about on ESPN. You get the latest Tony Bennett album, which is something absolutely zero people cared about but still made headlines because Rat Pack privilege is still a thing.
R. Kelly — Write Me Back
Your big acquisition this year was Ndamukong Suh, an outstanding defensive tackle and someone who can singlehandedly reinvent a defense. He also seems like a petulant child who’s willing to kick you in the groin or step on your calf when things aren’t going well. He’s the ultimate example of sports’ ability to forgive questionable people because they help a team win. Dolphins fans, you get an R. Kelly album because R. Kelly is the ultimate “but his music is so good! And hey, he was never convicted…” guy.
Battles — Mirrored
Battles is a band from New York that makes the most mind-bending music you’ll ever hear. It’s algorithmic rock ‘n roll, the guitars sound like washing machines, the drums are in alternate-dimension time signatures. I don’t understand Battles, but I deeply, deeply respect the group. I sorta feel the same way about Chip Kelly. All the weird moves he has made this off-season seem like they could be building to some avant-garde football masterpiece. He’s operating on another level, and I’m excited to see what happens.
New York Giants
The Cure — Disintegration
Jason Pierre-Paul only has nine fingers and Eli Manning is getting paid $80 million over the next four years. It’s not looking good.
Alanis Morissette — Jagged Little Pill
I’m so excited for Robert Griffin III to have his Alanis Morissette moment. Get out of that relationship Robert! They’re not good enough for you! They don’t appreciate you!
Radiohead — In Rainbows
It was a lot of fun to disparage the Cowboys over the last few years. But now they’ve got a really good offensive line, a top-tier weapon in Dez Bryant, a solid defense, and Tony Romo was never nearly as mediocre as people made him out to be. They’re probably going to the playoffs this year, and God help us if they make it to the Super Bowl. Radiohead was sometimes the most annoying band in the world, but at the end of the day you had to respect it because it was so talented. Congratulations Dallas. I’m not happy about it, but you’re back to Radiohead status.