The Story, 2017: Kylie To Korn

Submitted by Brian on August 28th, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Previously: Podcast 9.0A. Podcast 9.0B. Podcast 9.0C. The Story 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008. Preview 2016.



This happened so long ago that I don't remember why this daft idea came into my head. But the thing the daft idea spawned still exists and reminds me every Monday that I need to take the trash out. It has been part of my life probably about as long as my wife has. Longer. We go back, this thing and I.

It is a Kylie Minogue-seeded Pandora station. Kylie Minogue is an Australian pop chanteuse who was massively popular in the UK and Ireland about 15 years ago, about when I spent a summer in Ireland because it seemed like a good idea at the time. (Spoiler: it was a good idea.)

I am trying to get the station to play Korn. Because they both start with K, get it? I call it Kylie To Korn because I am an admirably direct person, or uncreative. I have checked that Pandora will play Korn, because God how disappointing that would be if I found out it wouldn't.

At this point I urge the reader not to get all judgy about the destination. Hearing Korn is not, say, beating Ohio State and then winning the national title. Hearing Korn is a disappointing experience for everyone except a very select and shrinking subset of aging nu-metal enthusiasts. Korn is no longer a band. It is an abstract concept. I mean this literally and figuratively. When you think about Korn think about a quixotic, meaningless quest that has become deeply embedded in your very being by sheer dint of longevity, and how it would feel if you finally reached the promised land. You wouldn't even hear the Korn. You'd hear Handel's Messiah.

I will not make a Hanson To Handel Pandora station.

I will not.

I made promises to people.



you are and then you aren't [Patrick Barron]

Here's Michigan football a year after This Is The Year. Good news! It was pretty much the year, what with Michigan hogwalloping everyone they came across until a very weird, punter-focused night in Iowa City. If Kenny Allen hadn't gone on the fritz against Wisconsin, Michigan would have started the year by cruising to nine straight two-score-plus wins. Everyone got drafted. Multiple outlets have declared their 78-0 whomping of Rutgers one of the worst football games every played. Fancystats loved Michigan, and lo, they should have. 

Even after The Year ended with what can only be described as a wet fart, ludicrously optimistic predictions weren't actually far off. Their losses were by one point, three points (in double overtime), and one point, all more or less on the road, two of them with a severely damaged starting quarterback. Michigan went into Columbus and felt like the better team for 75 of the 60 minutes. Amidst this very cathartic feeling they suffered a cripplingly sad series of maximally-devastating setbacks that allowed OSU to escape their own stadium with a win, thereby obliterating the feeling. A few weeks earlier, Penn State blocked 75 different Ohio State kicks, punts, twitter accounts, cheerleaders, pieces of legislation, and novelty license plate holders to acquire a not-at-all dubious victory, because life is fair and everyone gets what they deserve.



What I'm trying to say here is that despite the brutal end to the season, Michigan was good as hell last year. They weren't good enough to survive their QB melting down or a referee rogering in Columbus or the absence of both Jabrill Peppers and the offensive line, but in a slightly different universe they were. One where Speight's a tiny bit more accurate or Darboh's a tiny bit better at catching passes a tiny bit behind him. And while it sucks so much that This Is The Year was a 10-3 jam—please see previous paragraph—if we can get past the, like, wins, man, we can see a deeper truth. Because wins are a social construction, man.

What's more important than wins, he said, sobbing softly onto his keyboard, is what Michigan looked and felt like once it became a Jim Harbaugh/Don Brown co-production. Harbaugh made the best possible hire at DC—college DC lifer with an insane track record and spread specialization—and followed that up by adding Greg Frey and Pep freakin' Hamilton at the same time he loaded Michigan to the gills with highly touted space cowboys who are not only highly touted recruits but also future astronaut doctors. Astrodocs. Whatever the technical term is.

This is a transition year between The Year and The Year, unless it isn't. They'll have to get lucky on a couple freshmen and one right tackle, but teams have been luckier. Just not Michigan.



the author the first time a Nirvana song was available [Bryan Fuller]

Kylie To Korn is actually great fun. Pandora stations alter themselves when you thumb a song up or down. Down means you never hear it again; up means you hear it more and the song insinuates itself into the DNA of the station, pushing it more towards the thing you just approved. This is how one gets from Kylie to Korn. I made rules: I could not downvote a Kylie song, and once I thumbed something up I couldn't take that back.

The station is thus a map of how I got from Australian pop chanteuse to what is now a near-comprehensive 90s grunge station. "Lovefool" is on there, because at one point anything that sounded vaguely indie was a priority. So is something called "Space Cowboy" by somebody named The Jonzon Crew. I mean. The hats. Hell yes this was a good idea.

The main problem now is that the station is very good at playing stuff somewhere between great and tolerable but now I have to thumb stuff like Staind up as we try to stumble our way to... some Korn song. I literally could not name one. (Again, Korn is a metaphor.)

So here's the 2017 football season. As we work away from the Hoke-era-type substance, desperately thumbing up anything that looks like a functional offensive lineman, we reach a pleasant, if probably unsatisfying, plateau. Michigan has eight games they're going to be double-digit favorites in and four that will determine their year. One of them is going to be Nickelback—the thing does occasionally play Nickelback. We may have to not only endure a Staind song but feel like that song is not just past but prologue.

29484405062_979e1d3529_z (1)

[Eric Upchurch]

Or maybe not. Look at that beautiful terror above. Michigan is still loaded in their front seven; they've got a Returning Harbaugh Quarterback. The roster is packed to the gills with blue chips. A freshman wide receiver might not suck. Capital-Y Years: there are going to be a lot of them coming up. It would be far from the weirdest thing in the history of college football if this was one of them.

Michigan test drives its new program in 2017. Flip on the radio. Every track could be the end of a journey that started with the Horror or a hot Australian lady, and ends with the most satisfying sports thing of your life. Or, yes okay, a Korn song.

It's a metaphor! Jeez!



August 28th, 2017 at 2:48 PM ^



Disclaimer - I think that Brian is a great writer, I appreciate everything they do on this site and love the philosphy. This article didn't pull me in like some of the past ones have - it felt like a pretty big stretch as a metaphor. Also, I missed this key point: 

At this point I urge the reader not to get all judgy about the destination.

I judged the desination - I saw Korn written 50 times and my mind shut down. 


With respect to previous content, it's possible that I'm a bit more eager for the season to begin that I've been in recent years and just more desperate for info, but I've just felt as though we haven't gotten any of the more interesting analysis focused specfically on the team that I've been used to. And when I say that, I am including camp rumors and the like that are often later debunked but are satisfying at the time. Maybe it was an editorial choice on their part ot limit some of that because it's often just crap. 





August 29th, 2017 at 1:42 AM ^

Appreciate the rebuttal.  I thought it a curious entry for the Monday-before-the game main post but I don't think it was too out there.  Right in line with Brian's fun writing.  Content wise, I think there's beem some pretty good information thus far and for sure much more is to come in the Prevew Posts.


August 28th, 2017 at 12:37 PM ^

I don't think head coaching gets any better than Harbaugh.  When he loses an assistant he seems to only upgrade.  The program has held itself to very high standards, the players are likeable, academics are uncompromised, safety is very much on the table and despite all that, I have only minor quibbles about the Xs and Os.  The bag of tricks on offense never seems to run out, and now we have Harbaugh's alter ego on defense.

But gorrammit, Harbaugh and the maize & blue just can't catch a break.  Refs hate him, the B1G and NCAA/SEC go out of their way to screw him, his thinnest units get devastated by injury and random factors grace him when it doesn't matter (Oregon State's suborbital long snap) and crush everyone's efforts when it does (I'm not going to talk about it).  I'm getting tired of sucker punches from Lady Luck and I'm sure I'm not the only one but that's the one thing Harbaugh just can't do anything about.

One way or another it's going to be a joy to watch this team play hard and play smart.  I just hope it pays off for once.

L'Carpetron Do…

August 28th, 2017 at 12:31 PM ^

I'm still kind of confused by this post but I loved it for the bizarre metaphor. As an experiencer and connoiseur of the 90s/early 2000s I have a great appreciation for both Korn and Kylie Minogue.  From 96 to about 98ish, Korn filled me with a weird dread but I eventually got over my biases and learned to appreciate them, whatever the hell they were. Falling Away from Me is a legitimately good metal song, with a creepy, excellent video.

One of my friends at my first job, this amazingly cool black gal, said she loved Korn...and the Backstreet Boys. I don't know what to think about that but I thought it was pretty amazing.

As a man of equally broad tastes, I also dig Kylie Minogue in addition to Korn.  Love at First Sight is a good pop jam and Can't Get You Out of My Head was played at every party on campus in the fall of 2001.

I bet some songs by future U.S. Senator from the State of Michigan Kid Rock (God help us) sneak into that station too.

Mgoblog is so weird but its the best.