It Goes To Eleven: Badass Songs
Music can conjure up some pretty strong emotions when done properly. Some songs can relax you, get you riled up, make you happy, or make you sad. Then there are songs that, given the proper context, can make you feel like a total badass. There’s just something so satisfying about listening to a badass song in the car, walking, or even mowing the lawn that just seems to turn your day up to eleven.
So let’s start at the top.
#11: Primavera – Ludovico Einaudi – It’s a pretty slow, drifting song that at first can sound like something from one of those kitschy new-age CDs they sold on TV in the 90’s. As it progresses, however, the song takes on so many of those traits that make it badass.
Best usage: You and your love interest have just driven all night, fleeing for your lives from the mob boss/police/her ex-boyfriend and the sun’s coming up over that hill in front of you. Just as you crest the hill and can see for miles in front of you, you see it. That roadblock that’s obviously set up for you two. As you crawl to a stop, you look at her fear drenched face and smile reassuringly. It’s your last stand. And you gun the engine.
#10: Wannamama – Pop Levi – It’s driving. It’s up-beat. It’s badass. Try plugging in those earbuds and walking anywhere. Automatic badass. Even if no one else can hear it, you can and you’re the one who knows just how awesome you are.
Best usage: Females. Seriously. Sit at a park bench and wait for an attractive woman to appear. Flip this gem on and just watch. Even try to slow her walking down to slow motion for the best effect. It’s really the one thing this song is good for outside of being pretty awesome itself.
#9: Paper Planes – M.I.A. – You saw the trailer for Pineapple Express. You’ve heard this song on the radio, I guarantee it. It’s got a sick beat that includes cash registers and gunshots. How much more badass could you possibly want?
Best usage: You and your buddy are driving home after an absolutely INSANE night. Not in a fun way, in a dangerous way. Clothes ripped, you’re beat up, and probably have blood coming from somewhere. The sun’s coming up and all you want to do is collapse into a mattress. Or Pineapple Express.
#8: Trooper with an Attitude – 38 Special – Yup. That’s the song from Super Troopers, all right. It’s also the seventh on a list of badass songs. That you’re reading. You know it’s badass. Everyone knows it’s badass. It’s about that total asshole cop we’ve all been pulled over by.
Best usage: Remember that cop? Now imagine you’re him.
#7: Woke Up This Morning – Alabama 3 – The theme song from The Sopranos, one of the most badass TV shows ever thought up. The whisper quiet lyrics are something anyone can either learn or mutter to themselves, it doesn’t matter, really, because you shouldn’t be singing this song.
Best usage: You should be driving. Slow, fast, it doesn’t matter, just drive. Have dark sunglasses on and one hand on the wheel. And a cigar. And be in New Jersey.
#6: Reset – MuteMath – It’s another instrumental, but it’s phenomenal. Do something. Now do something else. If you were listening to this song, then there’s no way that you didn’t feel badass either time. You could be mowing the lawn, emptying trash, it doesn’t matter, because this song makes it seem like you’re part of some kind of high-tech diamond heist or something.
Best usage: A high-tech diamond heist or something. Seriously. Even sitting here typing this up, listening to the song, I feel like I’m hacking into some high-security mainframe. It makes any task that much more fun to do, especially when you’re on a computer when it hits about 2:25. That weird drum stuff just reeks of tech crimes. Even if you’re just writing your History of Paper essay at 3:00 AM.
#5: Ain’t We Famous – Young Beautiful in a Hurry – Do I really need to explain this one? You should be listening to it already.
Best usage: A bar. Preferably one with pool tables. Put this on and then hustle everyone for free drinks or their lunch money.
#4: Little Green Bag – George Baker Selection – First off, two words: Reservoir Dogs. If you haven’t seen it, go get it and watch it. It’s an amazing film about a diamond heist (already points for badass plot), and you get to see Michael Madsen cut a dude’s ear off.
If the opening bass line and drums don’t do it for you, give it time for the vocals to come in and convince you otherwise.
Best usage: I really can’t do better that Reservoir Dogs, but if I had to try, I’d say go back to the 70’s and get yourself a plain black suit. Then get a black Dodge Charger. Drive anywhere, then get out and walk away as your sheer awesome causes explosions behind you, including your car. You don’t even look back because frankly, you’re too badass to give a half a shit.
#3: Misirlou – Dick Dale and the Del-Tones – Yeah, another Tarantino movie, but seriously, tell me this shouldn’t be on here. You can’t because this may be the birth of badass songs. With or without the intro from Pulp Fiction, this song makes the cut so high because it’s sheer awesome.
Best usage: You just got back from a vacation in Europe and you and your buddy, Jules, have to recover some stolen property for your boss. Or you have to chase after someone. With guns. And possibly cars.
#2: Down for Whatever – Ice Cube – You’re working at a horrible company that under appreciates you. You decide to put a virus in their system to slowly skim a little something for yourself off the top. It’s like Superman III. And you were born with the name Michael Bolton. It’s Ice Cube. Do you need any more information?
Best usage: Anything. Literally, ANYTHING.
#1: The Game Has Changed – Daft Punk – From the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, which is altogether amazing in and of itself. This particular song gets you feeling like something bad just happened and you’re about to face all the demons that want your head on a stake.
Best usage: It’s the final battle. You need to win. This is what makes you a man after all that. And you’re going to TAKE. THOSE. MOTHERFUCKERS. DOWN.