The Songs You’re Guaranteed to Hear (A Lot) This Football Season

*Hey guys, totally understand if this isn’t the type of thing you’re looking for. Just a light idea I threw together and thought I’d post a draft.

Guns N’ Roses-“Welcome to the Jungle”- The season still hasn’t started, so there’s still time. Go to your iPod/stereo/phonograph /what have you and crank “Welcome to the Jungle”. It is a masterpiece. From the iconic opening riff to the closing “It’s gonna bring you down!”, the song grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. It’s complicated, and leaves you in a completely different place than where you started. This song has made me want to switch lives with Axl Rose, and I think we can all agree that this would be a terrible mistake. It’s almost as if Guns ‘n Roses got together and was like “Hey, let’s write a song that will play in every pro sports stadium, at every game, for the remainder of time. OK? OK!” The fact that you will hear this song roughly 23,641 times in the next six months, and will make you want to steal Slash’s hat off his (likely bald) head in broad daylight, should not diminish the fact that this is among the greatest rock songs ever written. You’ll hate it come February, but then it’ll come on at a bar in May and you’ll want to spear someone through a plate glass window. Very rock and roll.

AC/DC- “Thunderstruck”- Much like “Welcome to the Jungle”, the beauty of “Thunderstruck” gets a little bit lost when you start hearing it in your sleep around week 8. If this song doesn’t get your blood pumping, I don’t know what to tell you. Come to think of it AC/DC were arena rock pioneers, it is entirely possibly they wrote this song with the sole intention of playing it in stadiums. Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a better song to play to get a guy jacked up to run 70 yards full speed on a kickoff than this one. That said, would it kill someone to mix it up and throw on “Shoot to Thrill” once in a while? There are Amish communities less resistant to change than the people who play music at football games.

Metallica-“Enter Sandman”- For a band that is commonly (if not accurately) regarded as the greatest metal band of all time, stadium PA operators seem to be incredibly ignorant of their extensive catalog. Nine records to choose from, but no, we get the same 20 seconds of “Enter Sandman” every single time. And unlike “Welcome to the Jungle”, you don’t really have to listen to anything other than the first minute of “Enter Sandman”, it just plays off the opening riff for five and half minutes. Give me “Fuel” (no pun intended) any day of the week. Also, does anyone even like Metallica anymore? Between the Napster thing, a noted decline in metalitude, and Lars Ulrich’s longstanding general douchebaggery, Metallica has to be second only to Nickelback in the “popular bands that no one will admit to actually liking” category. Watch how James Hetfield acts in the Lemmy Kilmister documentary when Lemmy does a walk-on. You will not like Metallica anymore.

AC/DC-“Hells Bells”- It’s pretty obvious why “Hells Bells” gets the play it does. The ominous bell ringing, the equally ominous opening riff, it’s the perfect song to play when your team is looking for a big 3rd down stand. But much like “Enter Sandman”, you hear the same part of the song until you reach the point where you’d be more pumped up by “Party in the USA”. Every year, I wait to hear a bell tolling during a football game and think “maybe this is the year it’ll be ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls”. It is never “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. It’s like the NFL secretly put the kibosh on all other bell-related songs. I demand an investigation.

Rednex- “Cotton Eye Joe”- I’m not exactly sure when the Cotton Eye Joe phenomenon first began, but I remember it being played at Junior High dances, which was great because it was probably the only song a portly tween like myself could dance to free of (open) ridicule. I always picture the titular Cotton Eye Joe as Will Ferrel’s “Old Prospector” character from Saturday Night Live. Grizzled, maybe a little touched in the head, but ultimately harmless. Not so fast, my friend. Much like “Afternoon Delight”, the song’s peppy baseline and fiddles mask some pretty gross lyrics. Turns out, Cotton Eye Joe refers to getting swabbed for an STD, or more generally just having one. See for yourself…

“He brought disaster wherever he went, The hearts of the girls was to hell broken sent. They all ran away so nobody would know, and left only men cause of Cotton-Eye Joe.”

Just think about that when you see kids and moms clapping and jigging in their seats. WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?

The White Stripes-“Seven Nation Army”- We just couldn’t let soccer fans have this one. No, like a jealous toddler, we saw someone else doing something that looked fun and had to try it, completely ignoring the fact that repeatedly chanting the baseline to a song translates horribly into a sport as intermittent as football. People probably miss big plays all the time because they’re too busy focusing on making sure they’re not flat on that last “Oh”. I don’t know Jack White, but I’d be willing to bet he isn’t thrilled about drunken fans screaming seven notes of a song that is nowhere near his best. Although I’d be willing to bet Jack White doesn’t get thrilled about much. People like to speculate about just who makes up this Seven Nation Army. Turns out White just pronounced Salvation Army like that as a kid, which is no fun.

Fallout Boy-“My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” (NBC)- Apparently whoever is in charge of the intro/outro music on Sunday Night Football thinks the kids are still way into Fallout Boy. I’ll admit to being a fan of their early stuff, which makes me feel old. And the song itself is catchy, and would be a perfectly acceptable outro choice if it wasn’t so breathtakingly tone deaf. “Hey guys, it won’t totally undercut the player safety stuff the league is trying to do if we feature a song that repeats the phrase ‘light ‘em up’ over and over again, right? Guys?” Maybe it’s a clever scheme, subliminally programming kids to want lay the kind of skull rattling hits Roger Goodell professes to want to curb. Maybe I read too much into outro music choices. Both are possible.

Inexplicable Bob Seger (NBC)- Another consistent NBC outro choice. Without fail, they’ll cut to commercial in the middle of the 3rd quarter, and “Night Moves” comes on for some reason. I thought I was watching the Packers lay the smackdown on the Vikings, why is NBC trying to remind me of my days as a teenage rapscallion. I firmly believe this is a courtesy choice by the networks, aimed at waking up all the middle-aged dads that have fallen asleep watching Sunday Night Football, gently reminding them it’s time to head up to bed. Everyone loves Bob Seger, but I am convinced this is the only logical explanation for his music being played during a football game.

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