On the subject of.
To use as few discrete words as possible—Pitch is a series of 90-second pitches on pitches and pitches (and sometimes pitches). Each post is a lexical matrimony, uniting my two favorite subjects with a single word or sound. Homophones and double meanings are my divining rod, the confluence of sports (mostly soccer) and music (mostly rap) my self-sought spring. The thirsty reader, I hope, will find that a given word can have several flavors.
I’ve forgotten to introduce myself. My name is Andrew Mitchell, and long have my interests been at war, fighting for my attention. Pitch is my peace offering—a Switzerland where a love of creative writing, analytical thinking, branding, world football, and Kendrick Lamar’s discography can civilly coexist.
A manner of speaking.
At first listen, Anderson .Paak’s Oxnard finale abandons the send-off principles established in the first two installments of his musical trilogy. Venice and Malibu both conclude with a neatly tied bow, bidding the listener adieu with cinematic songs that (even on the name level) lift upwards to offer a cohesive view of the whole. Left to Right also does what its name suggests but shuns the rest of project, turning away from summary towards something unrecognizable and new. .Paak’s surprising, patois-laced delivery in the song, however, comes as a tweak in execution rather than a shift in approach. This deliberate departure from his smooth, smile-ridden inflection actually imitates Off The Ground and The Dreamer by acting as a springboard to the next project. In order for a trilogy to progress, each story requires a conclusion. The grand finale, however, demands something fresh, a farewell that turns its back on a concluded work to concentrate on the mystery of the future. Now, with his trilogy behind him, Anderson .Paak has our attention.
“Oh! Blocked by James!” If you’re like me, two things just happened. First, the epic voice of Mike Breen just invaded your thoughts for a brief dramatic reading. And second, little bumps appeared up and down your arms (sorry (not sorry in the least) Warriors fans). The Block is forever a multi-sensory experience, two masters of their craft collaborating to erect a statue of a leaping LeBron, inscription and all, into our memory’s museum. It’s also proof that commentators define moments. A muted television, despite all the visual drama of athletics, means a one-dimensional experience. Voices make games immersive, molding the emotions of fans into tangible sound bites. And in a sphere where actions often defy depiction, commentators do what we cannot—put words to the indescribable.
Not only is taking six half steps an inefficient way to get somewhere, it’s also sonically horrifying—in isolation. Sitting between the perfect fourth and the angelic perfect fifth, the tritone imposes a thoroughly tangled frequency ratio of 64:45, a relationship that would befuddle even the metronomic hands of Buddy Rich. These uniquely incompatibie vibrations, however specific and unpleasant, become less poisonous and more dye-like when dropped carefully into a score. Listen to this ecclectic flight of tritone users—“Mo Bamba”, “Black Sabbath”, and Westiside Story’s “Maria”. The inclusion of an atonal chord lends all three a darker hue without dooming them to a uniform, discordant blackness. Each song blends its own coloration with the murkiness of the diminished fifth into a rainbow of discrete, inky feels—thrilling aggression, haunting satanism, and misty listlesness.
When comparing performances and statistics, it’s hard to discern the subject from the mirror. In a simple, elegant game like football, numbers seem a shallow evaluation of reality. Our eyes, however, are disposed to caricature, contorting evaluations to account for the intangible. So is Mohamed Salah worse than he was in 2017? The eye test would suggest that the Egyptian Messi(ah) has lost his spark. Unfortunately, his tallies disagree. Salah has only 1 fewer goal involvement in the Prem through 11 games (5 goals and 4 assists vs. 7 goals and 3 assists). What’s more—Liverpool have improved their points tally by a healthy 8, all while scoring just one fewer goal. This disconnect between numerics and aesthetics aptly brands football as ”the beautiful game”—a competition that values artistry as much as scoring.
A game of lowering the bar.
In many fields, there is a skill gap that arrives from repetition, an advantage that benefits newness and disqualifies pioneers from maintaining a top spot (sorry Mark Spitz). Bun B visited Complex with this in mind, using inflation to neutralize this recency effect in crowning the hip-hop G.O.A.T. In nearly every matchup, Bun’s rationale relies on precedence to inform prowess—an artist’s future influence magnifies (and overshadows) the value of their work and their innate capacity for their craft. Though this adjustment accounts for the shoulders-of-giants effect, it makes earliness, rather than talent, the standard for excellence. To properly honor Biggie as #1 after two decades, influence and ability need to be considered, equally and as independent variables. Without doing so, the Top 5 will always resemble Mount Rushmore—a monument that commemerates founders rather than geniuses.
No man’s land.
Neutrals don’t occupy the moral high ground—especially when it comes to modern football’s infamous barbershop debate. In fact, the Messi vs. Ronaldo discussion has such distinguished hemispheres that diplomats are forced into a lonely orbit. The nonpartisans-turned-extraterrestrials among us fail to understand that their perspective is, by nature, alien—far enough from the surface to see both sides. Where impartiality traditionally bridges distances, refusing to choose between #10 and #7 emphasizes the space between the uninvolved and the passionate. Simply posed, the question is about the existance of a best player. To pick neither is to disagree with the whole world.
To stress the up beat.
V.I.P. by Youngblood Brass Band is The Sixth Sense of jazz music, hiding its off-beat bassline in plain sight by carefully curating the listener’s context. In isolation, the tuba intro supplants a false “one,” offering a backing groove whose percieved downbeat corresponds to the entrance of percussion. At 1:42, a seemingly abrupt cymbal crash shifts the feel an eighth note forward to accompany the melody. YBB’s M. Night Shyamalan reveal revolves around unveiling this discomfort as the result of a mistaken assumption rather than a metronomic alteration. To do so, the song essentially restarts at 4:09, but with new information. Now, the tuba riff starts on the “and” of one while the horns dictate the downbeat. When the transition comes again at 5:00, the chorus begins seamlessly, uncovering the truth to the listener—there is no shift or measure of 7/8. The tuba and drums were syncopated the whole time.
To cut short.
Zidane is football’s patron saint of early exits. This exalted position, like the canonization of many, has come at some cost—namely a throbbing forehead and a shiny silver medal. But at long last, Zizou’s affinity for walking away unexpectedly has paid dividends (or not hurt him, rather). Real Madrid are heading into El Classico with only one win in their last six (and none in their last four domestic outings), the type of form that attracts George-Clooney-Up-in-the-Air types. Whether he foresaw Ronaldo’s turn to Turin or simply felt it was time for a change, Zidane, for perhaps the first time in his career, is not being punished for leaving.