By Katie Sanchez, Arts & Entertainment Editor
He played 16 years in Major League Baseball and was an All-Star, Gold Glove winner and World Series Champion. But now, retired Cincinnati Reds Pitcher Bronson Arroyo is focusing on his other passion in life: producing and performing rock music.
Even if you, like me, are an avid baseball fan, the news that the long-legged, flowy-haired Arroyo released a 10-track original rock album last Friday may be a bit puzzling.
As I made an internet deep dive on Arroyo after learning about his album release, I became enchanted with my newfound understanding of this quirky dude. As it turns out, Arroyo and I have a couple things in common (besides gorgeous flowing blond hair). We share two of our greatest passions in life that were inherited from our Cuban fathers: baseball and music.
As a lover of both baseball and the weird things celebrities do when they have the time and money to do whatever they want, I knew I had to give Arroyo’s album, Some Might Say, a listen and learn more about this apparently incredibly complex individual.
Although I’m first and foremost a Chicago Cubs fan, I’m pretty familiar with Arroyo and his long-legged, eccentric pitching style from National League Central matchups over the years. I was not, however, familiar with the fact that he’s played guitar for over a quarter of a century, released a rock cover album (charmingly titled Covering the Bases) in 2005 and has performed live with his band, the ‘04, throughout and after his baseball career.
After retiring from baseball in 2017, Arroyo turned to his second great life passion: writing and recording songs that were once a passive escape from professional baseball, but are now a very real and professional passion. He has explained that Some Might Say is not an effort to start a second career but a true passion project that he has the privilege of pursuing in a professional way.
Some Might Say serves up serious dad band vibes in the best possible way, clearly drawing inspiration from rock legends like Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters in an incredibly nostalgic and endearing way that showcases Arroyo’s real musical talent.
In Some Might Say, Arroyo brings the same relentless drive and optimism he brought to the pitching mound. The album starts strong with the electric “Full Moon Fever.” By the time you hear the second track, “Guerilla Warfare,” a surprisingly thoughtful track inspired by his family’s heritage and the Cuban Revolution, you will find yourself wondering how this musician was also a professional athlete — not the other way around.
The middle third of the album adds a bit of nuance to an otherwise repetitive and energy-heavy setlist with introspective high points “Higher Ground” and “Hard Way.” Although Arroyo has rock star-level vocal talent, his particular skillset is in the loud, high-energy songs, and he struggles to find his ground as a vocalist on these more acoustic and understated songs.
Some Might Say closes out with some of the best tracks on the album, including the obvious album standout, “Nights Alive.” This song, while a bit cheesy, showcases the album’s live potential and encapsulates the entire album, confusing me as to why the middling “Afterlife” was chosen to end the album rather than “Nights Alive,” the penultimate track.
Admittedly, the modern rock styling of Some Might Say is not my preferred genre of music, but I still enjoyed listening to it. The frenetic energy of these songs begs to be enjoyed live, and I would absolutely jump to see Arroyo and the ’04 perform here in Cincinnati. Arroyo’s lyrics may be trite at times and his musical style fails to provide anything not seen before, but the album still has several high points. The technical production is excellent. The ’04, Arroyo’s star-studded band, is consistently amazing and adds needed depth. At its core, Some Might Say is an earnestly crafted, genuinely fun album made not by a bored retired athlete, but by a funky dude who just loves to make music.