Tone Deaf

Only in Houston

In the campaign to save the Astrodome with next week's Proposition 2 referendum, someone has decided that just the thing to put it over the top is a bad Bruce Springsteen parody. On October 21, an outfit called "Jalapeno Pixels" posted a YouTube video called "My Dome Town," a four-and-a-half-minute tribute to the Harris County Domed Stadium set to the tune of Springsteen's "My Hometown."

The next day the video caught the attention of HardballTalk, the baseball section of NBC Sports' site. Author Craig Calcaterra was less than kind, saying, "It's rusting and obsolete and requires over $200 million to renovate the place back into usability."

Sad to say, that much is true. But the creators of "My Dome Town" do absolutely nothing to advance their cause with their video. First, they've selected the most dour song on Springsteen's Born in the USA, indeed one of the most depressing tunes in a repertoire that also includes the Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad albums. Second, these are some of the new lyrics they came up with:

The first of its kind

Right Stuff redefined

Eighth Wonder it was crowned

In '65, Astrodome arrived.

Houston's famous now

The future is bright

We're making this right

No one can tear us down

We'll soar to new heights

Our beacon of light

Conveniently, "My Dome Town" skips over the part where the Dome was allowed to lapse into neglect for almost a decade after its use as a shelter for Hurricane Katrina refugees. Harris County fathers at long last noticed how squalid the facility had become when the NFL started sniffing around Reliant Park again, ultimately awarding Houston Super Bowl LI in 2017.

No idea where "My Dome Town" came from or if "Jalapeno Pixels" is connected in any way with the various organizations, committees and food trucks now lobbying for Prop 2's approval. But at the very least, its makers have access to some pretty choice photos, Future Dome artist renderings and related film clips. There's bits of Sinatra, Elvis and George Strait to go with behind-the-scenes footage and scattered 'Stros games, Ali fights, bull rides, and a bit of the Bad News Bears film that was shot there. That alone makes the video worth watching, as long as you mute the sound.

But somehow Selena's famous Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo performance, which set the stadium's all-time attendance record in 1995, got left on the cutting-room floor. So did the event that broke it, Wrestlemania X-Seven in 2001. At four and a half minutes, it's long enough that they could have easily squeezed footage of those in. (And where's Brewster McCloud?)

It's not so much that the lyrics of "My Dome Town" are offensive. They're just terrible. It's that using a song by the epitome of all things New Jersey as a rallying cry to save one of Houston's most beloved buildings is more than a little tone-deaf. Springsteen never even played the Astrodome, not even in his peak Born in the USA years.

How hard would it have been to borrow a song by an artist whose connection to the building is a little more tangible, like "Sharp Dressed Man" or "All My Exes Live in Texas"? Or hell, Selena's "Fotos y Recuerdos," whose nostalgic theme should be exactly what Jalapeno Pixels is looking for?

As shoddy as its current condition is, the Dome remains one of Houston's true ­landmarks.

And not surprisingly, there hasn't been much opposition to Prop 2 beyond the usual chorus of people who say that money would be better spent on other projects. From what Rocks Off can tell, it looks like smooth sailing all the way to the ballot box on Tuesday.

Still, if it's not too late, we recommend Mr. or Ms. Pixels pull "My Dome Town" before it goes viral and becomes a reason to vote down the new Dome all by itself. It really is that bad.

Listen Up!

Enough Already
Five artists it's time to stop hating.

Corey Deiterman

Look, I hate some bands as much as any other sane person. We can all agree some bands are just bad, right? But sometimes people's vitriol for certain ones gets to a point where everybody just needs to chill out.

Like a never-ending knock-knock joke, using these bands and musicians as your choice punch line has gotten old, and it's about time we all just learned to live and let die.

5. Yoko Ono

Only on the bottom of the list because she actually does have a pretty loyal fanbase and following, Yoko Ono is a fantastic experimental artist who has made some incredible music in her lifetime. It's raw, it's powerful and it's beautiful. It's not hard to see what John Lennon saw in her.

That is if you're not a frothing-at-the-mouth "she broke up the Beatles and all she does is scream" hater. If you are that guy, consider that the Beatles broke up for far better reasons than John Lennon's relationship with Yoko Ono. It was an inevitability. It was also more than 40 years ago.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray