Train recently announced information about their upcoming sixth studio album, to be released on April 17th and entitled California 37. “We’ve had a lot of songs on the radio since the beginning of the band but never one that moved so quickly,” singer Pat Monaghan has said of the forthcoming effort. “It’s kind of strange how Triple A and hot AC and pop radio are all embracing ‘Drive By’ with this incredible enthusiasm. We’re not used to that kind of thing.” Right—except when it happened with “Meet Virginia,” “Drops of Jupiter,” “Calling All Angels” and “Hey Soul Sister.” What-everrrrrrrrrr.
Of course, the question arises: Why California 37? The California part is obvious, but the 37 less so. A shoutout to California’s 37th Congressional District? A nod to California Route 37? A vote in favor of California’s Proposition 37 from 2000, about “collect[ing] fees from paint companies to fund a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program”? Nope, we’re pretty sure the answer is the obvious one: It’s in deference to basketball player Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace, who played his first season for the Los Angeles Lakers with the number 37, in tribute to the number of weeks MJ’s Thriller spent at #1. As with fellow kindred spirit Kanye West, consider how much baller and band have in common
- Both love them some West Coast. Train’s affection for their home state is well documented, even titling their previous album Save Me, San Francisco, while Ron Artest took advantage of all the Sunshine State had to offer upon being signed by the Lakers in 2009, appearing on Dancing With the Stars, developing his hip-hop career and even working on a reality show with E! (They Call Me Crazy, still yet to hit air). Neither appear ready to move on anytime soon—to the consternation of some Laker fans, as Artest’s play has failed to live up to his contract this season.
- Both saw their careers peak in the 2009-2010 season. Artest won his first ever NBA championship in his debut season in Los Angeles, while Train had their biggest hit to date with the Grammy winning, five-times platinum “Hey, Soul Sister” (released in late ’09 but hitting its apex in popularity in 2010). Hopefully for Train, their drop afterwards will not be quite as precipitous as Metta’s.
- Both went on hiatuses of sorts from 2006-2008. After Train’s 2005 effort For Me, It’s You failed to go gold or generate a hit single, Train took a couple years off from recording and touring before making their big comeback. Similarly, after experiencing his own career low with the Malice at the Palace in the ’04-’05 season, Artest was traded to Sacramento, where he toiled away in obscurity on the rebuilding Kings for a couple seasons, before returning to relevance, first with the Houston Rockets and then the Lakers. (Fortunately, Train’s hiatus included no peroxide blonding.)
- Both are no strangers to commercials. Artest has appeared in spots for TNT, PETA, the NBA and all sorts of other acronymed organizations. If you went a week without hearing Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” in an ad for something…well, you’re probably one of those people that loves bragging about how they don’t even own a TV, aren’t you?
- Both are avowed fans of fried chicken. No one will ever forget the out-of-nowhere “deep-fried chicken” drop in Train’s “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me),” while Peace confirmed that he felt similarly when he tweeted about his five favorite soul foods. (Metta’s feelings about soy lattes remain unknown to this day.)