In the past decade or so, “tanking” has become a popular practice and even more popular talking point in the National Basketball Association. The basic concept is if a team doesn't have a chance to compete, they’ll throw the season in an attempt to get better draft picks in the upcoming year and acquire difference-making talent.
In other words…
Don't be a good team and remain in the middle.
To borrow a line from Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights,
"If you're not first you're last.”
To borrow a line from Red in "Shawshank Redemption,
" Get busy living or get busy dying.”
(click to watch)
Neither really apply.
But the concept of living somewhere in the middle came to mind the other night when we stumbled onto the topic of the Starting Line on this week's show. We'd hoped to do a quick, breezy 40 minutes on the most popular version of their "Best of Me" music video (there are more or less three distinct versions, depending on how far down you scroll on YouTube).
What we ended up getting into, however, was a bit of an impasse on the legacy of the band and the different things that probably hurt their standing as time moves forward.
(One last quick NBA thing before we move on: The Starting Line is probably the Orlando Magic or Memphis Grizzlies of early 2000s pop punk, even though geographically it would have made more sense and been more fun to call them the 76ers. The Sixers, of course, have become tanking pioneers. Because regional pairings are fun, here are a couple more: the White Stripes are probably the Chauncey Billups Pistons and the Strokes are probably the Jason Kidd Nets.)
OK the first thing that hurts the Starting Line is they're not exactly a one-hit wonder. They're just not. "Best of Me" probably is a cult-following if you're giving them the least amount of respect possible, but songs like "Island" and "Bedroom Talk" make it hard to classify them as such.
Sometimes bands just benefit from only having one song in their catalogue anyone can remember. Take Wheatus, for example. "Teenage Dirtbag" is a fricking bop, and the music video proved be the biggest moment in American culture for bucket hats since "Gilligan's Island." Wheatus rocks, and it's mostly because they never have to be anything more or anything less than that tune.
Another thing? They don't really have that memorable front-to-back banger of an album. Anyone putting "Say It Like You Mean It" ahead of "Leaving Through The Window" or "From Under The Cork Tree" is kidding themselves. And that stinks. But its true and it holds them back when people begin to put together even hyper-specific early 2000s Mount Rushmores.
Perhaps it can be as simple as this: The band probably helped make a few Warped Tours that much better and the three or four songs of theirs you have in your library are likely rarely skipped when shuffled upon. Best of Me still hits and is one of the best songs of that decade. If you're an Orlando Magic fan, we can only assume it makes you feel the way 1995 playoff highlights do.
To hear the full episode about The Starting Line’s biggest hit single “Best of Me”
-stream or download the entire episode below-