Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Hype List

Sports.  Whether playing or watching they're meant to get your blood pumping, your mind racing, and your adrenaline flowing.  In the moment or the build up, the feeling of sport is hard to replace.  How people get to "sport" differs from person to person.  For me it's a Hype List.  A Hype List is a series of tracks I'll listen to on the way to the park, in the dressing room, or just before the game to get me ready to run through a wall.  After the break a peak at my hype list (some lyrics may be not safe for work).

Penguins Hyped
(Kathy Willens/AP)

Before I take the ice, while I run or before settling in to watch the latest Pens game there are ten trusty tracks that are a must listen to get my mind right, my focus sharp and my drive going.  Below is that list, in no particular order.

Imagine Dragons- Radioactive

The first of two songs on this list to later be used by the Penguins in their ad campaigns, "Radioactive" has a deceptively slow start that rises into a dark, mournful yet empowering beat.  Further into the song the beat really hits as the chorus sounds causing a hit to the system that will push you that extra length.

The Hours- Ali in the Jungle

A song for the perpetual underdog, a song with uplifting lyrics from the start, a song that lets you know it's okay to fail... as long as you get up.  It challenges you to do better, to push farther, to accept failure on the condition that you don't give a damn and get back on that horse.  A song that pushes and pushes.  A song that inspires.

The Heilo Sequence- Keep Your Eyes Ahead

A simplistic track, a simplistic band, a deep song.  Hypnotically rhythmic drums and guitar guide you through a song about not looking back and learning from the past.  Defeat, disappointment, despair.  Don't go back, don't look back, keep going.  A touching track with a beat to run to.  It picks you up and keeps you going.

Saul Williams- List of Demands (Reparations)

Anger.  Pure, unadulterated anger.  Repression and the desire to rise up.  It's what leads this track from Saul Williams, featured in an old Nike commercial.  The need to overcome and be better than what holds you back and keeps you down.  That's the drive between this 

Gorillaz (ft. Mos Def and Bobby Womack) - Stylo

As synth heavy track with a fast, hard beat and a soulful aside from Bobby Womack, "Stylo" is a song which builds up steam and gets the motor running.  The soft and flowing vocals of the lead singer of Gorillaz, "Murdoc Niccals", is a sharp contrast to the jarring and deep words of Womack.  A mixed track that keeps you guessing and going.

Kanye West- Power

Even without lyrics this song makes the list.  A beat that would make you want to run through a wall, heartfelt lyrics from a broken soul and excellent musician make Kanye's ode to being too big and too important make you think that the world revolves around you and the time is yours to take.  Plus that beat?  My God.

Awolnation- Sail

Subtle and soft chords with a tearing synth sound added to a layer of lyrics that feel screamed from deep within by lead singer Aaron Bruno creates a laid back song that finds itself as equally tense.  The confusion of the lyrics, tone and sound make your body sway and your fists clench.  

Explosions in the Sky- Your Hand in Mine

Eight minutes.  That's how long "Your Hand in Mine" takes to stream through your ears and enter your soul.  Bringing you the feeling of finding love, feeling love, and losing love within that time.  It takes you and it breaks you.  It gives you something to fight for.  It is poetry in song with no words.

Young the Giant- My Body

More, more more.  Never is there ever enough.  Keep going, keep pushing, keep pumping.  Can't stop, won't stop.  The message of the song is as clear as the chorus and "My Body" is a song that keeps you going despite your legs, arms, lungs crying "Uncle!"  Because you want more.

M83- Midnight City

A track which starts sounding like a heart beat.  An irregular heartbeat but a heartbeat.  A "chorus" that's as infectious as it is rhythmic.  Lyrics that are haunting and gentle.  A flowing and deep sax filled ending.  It calms you and builds you up.  It prepares you and settles you.  It makes you want more.  To hear more and to do more.

Those are the ten songs that I use to get my going before every game, watched or played.  Everyone has their hype list, their songs that get them going.  What are yours?  I want to know!  E-mail me at or let me know some of yours on Twitter.
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