Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:
What would you pick as your theme song?
Rules are simple: what’s your jam? At this year’s NFL Draft, they let the first round picks pick out the song that would play when they went on stage. The results are ridiculous. It got us thinking: what’s your personal theme song? What’s your at-bat music? More sports references! But really, if you’re not gonna go with No Doubt, what’s your theme song? I just assume everyone’s first choice is No Doubt… right?
Musical tastes have a way of changing every few years. I don’t really listen to as much Ben Folds Five as I did in college, but “Best Imitation of Myself” is still hard to ignore as a candidate here. I think it might be sacrilege for me to not go with a song from my favorite band of my all time, though, so I have to go with “Ox Baker Triumphant” by The Mountain Goats. It’s a song about how you get through some shit and come back to defeat the people who started it all. I think we all have revenge fantasies, even those of us that don’t have revenge to enact. You can listen to John Darnielle explain why he wrote a song about a wrestler who wore a shirt that said “I Like to Hurt People” here, and I highly, highly suggest that you do.
My theme song is constantly changing. I’m one of those people who listens to one song over and over again until it transcends its original pop intentions and becomes more like musique concrete, which I attribute to years of listening to experimental music and Björk. Currently, however, my song de jour is definitely “Baby’s On Fire” by Die Antwoord (June 2012). Those two crazy South Africans sure know how to make some sick dance music and hilarious videos. After all this time in America, it’s hilarious to me that I’ve become stuck on two Afrikaners and their irreverent, ballsy style of rap. In the particular song mentioned, I don’t actually much care for the chorus, which is comprised of Ninja shouting the same few lines over and over; what draws me in (and has kept me there for a bit now) is Yo-Landi’s infectious verses and voice. She works that little girl insouciance to perverse effect, rapping about her wild child interior and sexual antics. While lacking almost any higher moral value, the song definitely holds up its dance-y proposition.
“Better Son/Daughter” by Rilo Kiley.
“Cheese and Dope” by Project Pat. It’s not really my theme song (not about that life) as much as a song I listen to all the time. It is one of the greats. DJ Paul and Juicy J are two of the greatest producers that have ever been in the game, and it is obvious here. Multiple interwoven, complex beats throughout the song, beat switches, and that sweet Memphis tappity-tap with Project Pat’s smooth smooth flow riding over everything combine to make instant listening transcendence. Listen. Listen.
I worked in a job where we had to do entrance dances and go through an interview process for students who were coming for week-long camps. I was quickly tagged as the guy who liked every woman (a playboy) so my song was Hyuna & Jang Hyun Seung – “Trouble Maker MV“. This lasted for two years and fit the whole time.
I had trouble picking this because I was skating back and forth over the line: do I want my song to be cool like Pixies or TV on the Radio (because I’m so cool, duh) or do I want to be ironic and funny by choosing a song that shaped my formative years, which, sadly, happened to include Creed’s Human Clay. But, no, I’m going to try to honestly choose a song that represents me now. Today. So, I am choosing for my theme song: “Almost Ready” by Dinosaur Jr. First of all, it kicks ass. The guitars scream, the drums thunder, the bass chugs; juxtapose those with J Mascis’s warm drawl and boy, oh, boy. Additionally, the lyrics speak to where I am in life: mid-20s, in a job I like but wonder if, in the larger scheme of things, I’m making a dent. The song’s about that point, about being on the cusp of demanding something more of life, but hesitating, and about the recursive, messy way we all go about finding what the hell we’re doing with our lives, etc. and then, you know, guitar solos.