Sunday, September 23, 2007

Football Dad Follies, Part II: Pump-Up Music


My son's football team is doing very well so far this season, with 3 wins and no losses. I've previously written about the youth football experience, but today I want to post an addendum about music as a motivator, because I just compiled a CD of "pump-up" music to fire him up before a game.

Lots of athletes use music to get them in the mood for competition. He and I have fallen into the habit of searching around XM radio for what is often termed "Cookie Monster" music, hyper-fast songs with almost unintelligible vocals that sound like Cookie Monster is singing them in a really bad mood. Since it's sometimes difficult to find just the right song on our way to a game I decided to compile a CD to help get him in the mood for a couple of hours of smashmouth football.

I googled "pump up sports music" and found lots of discussion sites of favorite songs athletes use to prepare for competition. I then went to iTunes and listened to dozens of samples, finally culling them to a list that met the criteria I was looking for, including:

1. No wimpy songs. It's amazing what some people play to get pumped up. Pink Floyd?! "Eye of the Tiger?" What is the game about to be played here....checkers? This is FOOTBALL, man. Even "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns and Roses is barely intense enough.

2. No spectator anthems. There are some great crowd-pleasing sports songs which work very well in getting spectators pumped up. Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part Two" (also known as the "Hey" song because of the refrain that audiences yell out) is one popular example, as is Zombie Nation's "Kernkraft 400 (Sport Chant Stadium Remix)", which is played in sports stadiums around the world, as well as lots of other crowd pleasers (remember "Whoomp, There It Is" or "Ya'll Ready For This"?) But those songs are for the spectators in the stands, not the warriors on the field.

3. No hip-hop. I'm not opposed to this genre, and some songs have just the right refrain, such as Bone Crusher's "Never Scared", "Hit 'Em High, Hit 'Em Low" by Scrilla Mac, "Big Things Poppin'" by T.I. or Eminem's "Till I Collapse", to name a few. But in almost every case the lyrics contain numerous references to drinking, drugs, guns, sex and the whole corrupted thug culture, so that's a big negative.

4. No satanism. I was surprised how much hypermanic music exists that glorifies satanic worship. Do you even need to know who these bands are? I guess there's a place for everything, but that place is not in my house or the ears of my children.

5. No excessive cursing. I tried to pick the "clean" rather than "explicit" versions of these songs when possible. I'm fairly tolerant when it comes to language but there's no need to wallow in f-bombs if they're not essential to the core message of the song.
With those exceptions in place, I just compiled a testosterone-soaked collection of sonic adrenaline that makes you want to go beat somebody up. I would not recommend anyone listening to this music in any situation other than imminent physical competition, but in that setting....watch out, because this is a hands-down hard-hitting setlist that absolutely accomplishes what it sets out to do (click any song to go to its location on iTunes):
1. Powerman 5000 - "Bombshell" ("Get up, get up, get up, drop the bombshell!")
2. Unwritten Law - "Fight" ("Fight! fight! Fight!")
3. Hatebreed - "I Will Be Heard" ("Through the worst we prevail!")
4. Sick Of It All - "Built To Last" ("Your will, your way!")
5. Static-X - "Push It" ("Explosive!")
6. Drowning Pool - "Bodies" ("Let the bodies hit the floor.....")
7. No Innocent Victim - "Ready To Fight" ("Advancing! Push them back!")
8. Hatebreed - "Perseverence" ("...against all opposition...")
9. Dope - "Take Your Best Shot" ("Take your best shot! Blow them away!")
10. No Innocent Victim - "Never Face Defeat" ("You will never even the score/I'll never face defeat!")
11. Hatebreed - "Live For This" ("Motivation, undying allegiance!")
As a counter-point of sorts I also included Tomayasu Hotei's "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" even though it is not a thrashcore/screamo song (those are actual genres, in case you didn't know it, grampa). It is sort of a martial arts anthemic piece that would fit well on the soundtrack of Tarantino's "Kill Bill" movies.

Maybe now I need to construct a CD compilation of songs to play after a game to decompress and rejoin the world of kindhearted human beings. Let's see, Barney the dinosaur's "I Love You" song would be a good start.....

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