There is not really much need for an introduction to the glory that is sports video game soundtracks, so I won’t harp on the fact that this list might just be the most beautiful link between one’s childhood, adolescence and early adulthood (eh) assembled in quite some time.
Click on this sick nasty spotify playlist*, and check out some of your favorite songs that you totally forgot about until just now. It’s the oh-so wonderful, “wowwws, I totallllly remember that!!!” factor times infinity:
*Some of the songs on this list are such lethal throwbacks, that they are too cool to be on Spotify.
10. NBA Street Volume 2: They Reminisce Over You, Pete Rock & CL Smooth
While the ethos of overly fancy dribbling moves and frequent goal-tending violations isn’t exactly traditional basketball’s (i.e., NBA warlord David Stern’s) cup of tea, NBA Street works because it’s about a whole lot more than just basketball. It’s about the six-inch gashes big men get from never calling fouls; it’s about the post-game devour-fest at McDonalds; and, of course, it’s about the soundtrack.
Listen to Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s 1993 hit “They Reminisce Over You,” and you could pretty much hear the jingling of that rusty, chain-link net.
9. FIFA World Cup 2006: Big City Life, Mattafix
There exists a firmly established cycle one must go through in order to admit to the world that they actually like a song that they previously claimed that they vehemently hated. Said cycle, applied to video game soundtracks, goes as follows:
1. Why does this game insist on having artists that three people in the world have ever heard before?
2. Shit, this song again? Aren’t there like 20 other similarly below-average songs that they could’ve randomly picked?
3. Let me look at who the artist is, so that I know who this band is. It’s only a matter of time until I start listening to this song on YouTube. I’ll pretend it’s because I have it stuck in my head, but it’s actually because I’m beginning to like it a lot, 5hough nobody can know this because I bashed it so much earlier.
4. Fine song, you win. Can I please stop singing you in the shower now?
Everyone knows this song, and it requires you go through the highs and lows of this glorious cycle. FIFA World Cup 2006’s “Big City Life” was that song for me, but feel free to insert your own “that song” here.
8. Madden 2003: Party Hard, Andrew WK
Few games were as good as Madden was between 2003 and 2005. Few video game soundtracks will feature a song better Andrew WK’s “Party Hard.” All in all, you know a song isn’t messing around when its album cover features a guy bleeding profusely after bashing himself in the face with a brick.
Insane? Maybe. Insanely cool? Absolutely.
7. NHL 94: Theme Song
“NHL 94” has been touted as the franchise’s landmark year, and is likely a big reason why thousands of college bros today spend their weekends neglecting cleaning up half-empty mountains of Natty light cans in favor of playing hours upon hours of NHL.
If anything however, the game should be touted for its ridiculously awesome theme song,which truly sounds like it didn’t realize that the 80s ended. Had this been in, say, a John Hughes movie, there’s no doubt it would be in five different “Family Guy” cutaways by now.
6. FIFA World Cup 2010: Wavin’ Flag, K’NAAN
“Wavin’ Flag” has the uncanny ability to give off an international feel while also being sang in English provided Fake American Soccer Fans (FASFs) an exciting yet convenient, not-too-threatening anthem for the three weeks that they got really into soccer during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Since the FASF likely bought FIFA during the heat of their FASF phase, thousands of Americans have this song on their iPods, yet don’t really ever play it that much anymore.
FASF (n): A person who doesn’t ever care about soccer, but then neglects all normal daily life processes to watch the World Cup and then tell you about how much they watched the World Cup. For the two weeks while the United States is still in the World Cup, the FASF will tend to forget (and in extreme cases, vehemently deny) that they don’t actually care about soccer.
5. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater: Superman, Goldfinger
Hawk had the strange power to get millions of overweight, upper-middle class suburban kids in better shape by inspiring them to spend time at skate parks, wear Vans shoes and worship skating icons like the incomparable Wilfredo Gomez.
Goldfinger’s “Superman” isa ska-heavy, Southern California-ey celebration of living life to the fullest, no matter what may be going on around you. It’s an escape — just like those guardrails, hand-made vert ramps and empty swimming pools of endless summer’s past.
4. Backyard Sports: Pablo Sanchez Theme Music
One of the many reasons why the “Backyard Sports” franchise was probably the coolest video game ever made was the fact that each and every player had theme music. Not only was Pablo Sanchez aka “The Secret Weapon” a truly spectacular athlete, but he also had really awesome theme music. (One: because it was really awesome, and two: because it was always that something really great had just happened.)
Whether it be game winning touchdown, a hat-trick or a walk-off home run (over that annoyingly large center-field scoreboard on Parks Dept. Field No. 2, no less), Sanchez was hands down the cream of the Backyard Kid crop. This is further demonstrated by undying love his Wikipedia page has given him:
“Pablo Ramon "Secret Weapon" Sanchez is not only the best player of the backyard kids, but he is the best person. On top of regularly leading the league in home runs, OPS, walks he always led the league in pep talk. Pablo never shied away from taking the leadership role and offering words of encouragement when necessary.”
A true champion in every way.
3. NHL Hitz 2003: Drop the Bombshell, Powerman 5000
I always confuse Powerman 5000 with Zombie Nation, as evident by the fact that I thought they were the same person until just now. Yet, if Zombie Nation has the sports stadium anthem, Powerman 5000 has definitely got the sports video game anthem.Drop The Bombshell was the theme song to “NHL Hitz 2003,” a wonderful fantasyland where you got to hit people as hard as you could without having to care about concussions.
2. SSX Tricky: It’s Tricky (K-Rec Remix), Run-DMC
When there’s a decent chance the game title was chosen to fit it’s theme song, you’re probably a pretty big deal
The remixed version of Run DMC’s “It’s Tricky,” despite having absolutely nothing to do with snowboarding, manages to perfectly embody the completely fearless, embrace-the-rush extreme sports culture. In what probably is the best video game intro of all time, “SSX Tricky” instantly becomes a lot more than a bunch of ridiculous-looking people doing ridiculous tricks on ridiculous-looking slopes; it becomes a defining childhood meme.
1. Madden 2004: Never Scared (Madden Remix, Bone Crusher
From Blink-182’s “Feeling This” to Bubba Sparxxx’s “Back In The Mudd” to “Gob’s Give Up The Grudge,” the gems on the “Madden 2004” soundtrack were endless. The greatest song on the greatest soundtrack, Bone Crusher’s Madden Remix of “Never Scared” is simply the best of the best.
“Never Scared,”in addition to being the inspiration for hundreds of poorly edited football montages, is one of the few things in life that has attained “Omar from the Wire status.” This monumental achievement of human excellence is a truly rare occurrence, happening only when something becomes so ingrained into the makeup of a larger entity, that it’s impossible to imagine that entity without it. Jack Bauer and “24,” Ronnie and Sammi and Conan O’Brien and red hair are the only other known sightings of this remarkable feat. Congrats, “Never Scared” and “Madden 2004.”