If you're looking for a soundtrack to get pumped before a game, we've got you covered.
Hollywood uses a myriad of musical arrangements to enhance drama in movies. For example, film producers strategically placed Newsboys' smash hit "God's Not Dead" at the end of the movie of the same name. Why? The protagonists proved that God is indeed alive and winning victories for his children-- definitely an inspiring story to Christians living in a fallen world.
The song amplified that inspiration in movie-goers. In fact, the closing scene had a message on the screen: text all your friends and tell them that God's not dead. Did I do that? You bet. Two or more of my friends responded to my text: "What is this? Why did you do that?" Because the Newsboys-- and the movie, of course-- inspired me to do so. Music sets the mood, which is why Hollywood releases soundtracks.
Music is used in sports to achieve the same goal. Sports anthems are often played before games to encourage fans to cheer for their favorite team. Sports leagues also use anthems to pump athletes full of adrenaline when facing opponents head on. Athletes use sports anthems during training sessions and workouts as well.
What makes an effective sports anthem? With the help of the rest of the NewReleaseToday team, I took some time to count down the ten greatest sports anthems, songs that pump you up physically and fill you up spiritually.
10. "We Are the Brave" by VERIDIA
Let's say that the Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to break a losing streak; I can imagine game organizers blaring VERIDIA's "We Are the Brave" over the loud speaker as the Leafs suddenly turn the tide with only three minutes left in the hockey game. VERIDIA's lead singer Deena Jakoub defiantly sings "We are the brave / We'll never break / Whatever it takes / We're gonna make it together / We're chasing out fear." The rock hit can be found on VERIDIA's 2014 Inseparable EP. Do the Leafs win that hockey game? Well, I believe the answer is beyond the scope of this article.
9. "Impossible" by Manafest (feat. Trevor McNevan)
The Maple Leafs haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1967. Can Toronto's hockey team win the cup in the future? Many disgruntled Leaf fans call this feat impossible. Manafest, along with Thousand Foot Krutch's Trevor McNevan, sings against this form of catastrophic thinking and encourages naysayers to press on in "Impossible," a successful rock anthem from Manafest's 2006 album Glory. "It seems impossible for me to let this go / Feel like an animal / I'm ready to lose control / Take everything you need, take every part of me / Take every part of me, give me some room to breathe / I got to get away / Got a break away."
8. "Strike Back" by We As Human
The very talented We As Human disbanded in early 2016 after lead singer Justin Cordle announced his exit. Thankfully, the band left behind a legacy in "Strike Back," a rock anthem from their 2013 eponymous album that any sports team can use to overcome overwhelming odds. Countries currently competing for the 2016 UEFA European Championship might find this anthem particularly useful to build team morale. "Hit me, I hit you harder / When my back's against the wall / I strike back."
7. "Unbreakable" by Fireflight
NBC used Fireflight's rock hit "Unbreakable" from the album with the same name to promote its Bionic Woman television series in 2008. This song could have also been used at Super Bowl 50 as a victory anthem when the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10. Dawn Michele, Fireflight's lead vocalist, sings triumphantly: "Take me where I've never been / I want to go there / This time I'm not scared / Now I am unbreakable, it's unmistakable / No one can touch me / Nothing can stop me."
6. "Man Up Anthem" by 116 Clique
The 116 Clique, a supergroup comprised of Sho Baraka, Derek Minor, Andy Mineo, Lecrae, KB, Trip Lee and Tedashii, released an anthem suitable for any sport. The riveting sound and passionate vocals can push any football team to steamroll over their competition. However, the message in this song cannot be ignored. The convicting lyrics are a message to all men to do away with peer pressure, step up and adhere to God's calling for their lives. When I hear this song, I think of sports celebrities who get lost in fame and fortune, instead of focusing on the game. "If you read it you'll see that Eve was deceived / But Adam's the one who let her eat / Instead of leading / No, we ain't leading / We bump that / Basically, little boys with muscles and our mustache / To femininity we need a remedy / The God-Man 100 percent masculinity."
5. "Alive" by Julianna Zobrist
Pop music artist Julianna Zobrist released "Alive" as a teaser for her full-length album, Shatterproof. The singer is married to baseball major leaguer Ben Zobrist, a player for the Chicago Cubs, so it is only fitting that Julianna Zobrist has a song that can be used as a sports anthem. "Alive" is about living life without fear: "For the first time, I'm not afraid to live / For the first time, I'm not afraid to give / I'm not afraid to cry / I'm not afraid to die."
4. "Dark Horses" by Switchfoot
There are countless sports movies about underdogs who overcome the odds to become champions. Switchfoot's "Dark Horses," the lead single from their 2011 album Vice Verses, is about taking a stand against the darkness-- despite the overwhelming odds. "Hey, you can't count us out / We've been running up against the crowd / Yeah, we are the dark horses."
3. "Ignition" by TobyMac TobyMac's adrenaline-fueled "Ignition" from the 2008 album Portable Sounds reminds me of pep talks coaches give their teams before big games: "So don't blink if you wanna come cross the border / Take a look around or come test the water." The guitar riffs, aggressive vocals and catchy hip hop makes this anthem a great addition to any workout playlist. This song reminds me of dc Talk's legendary ground-breaking hit "Jesus Freak."
2. "Feel Invincible" by Skillet Skillet has a number of aggressive anthems suitable for sports: "Hero," "Whispers in the Dark," "Rise" and "Not Gonna Die," among others. "Feel Invincible," the first single from the Grammy-nominated band's upcoming album Unleashed, was recently selected as the theme song for TBS' E-League, a live competitive video gaming tournament. Read the lyrics to the song and you'll see why: "You make me feel invincible / Earthquake, powerful / Just like a tidal wave / You make me brave" and "Here we go again / I will not give in / I've got a reason to fight."
1. "Sweep the Leg" by Family Force 5
"Sweep the leg" is one of the many famous quotes from the '80s film classic The Karate Kid. I chose this song as the list topper for a number of reasons. For myself, the gritty guitar riffs, the rap with attitude and the screeching vocals pump me full of adrenaline during intense workouts. I can imagine athletes blasting this song during training sessions, leaving the locker room, during a game and when celebrating the big win. Sports aside, just listening to the song is enough to pump up your energy levels: "No fear, no mercy / Gloves off, try and hurt me / You can't hurt me."
For more anthems to help you get your game on, listen to our Spotify playlist below.
Phill Feltham is a Canadian journalist with over eight years of experience writing and editing content for print and digital media. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, travel, and the power grid. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus. Highlights of Phill's work can be found on his portfolio site PhillFeltham.com and his official blog, The theweeklywanderer.com. Phill lives out his faith with his wife, Jodi, in the Greater Toronto Area.
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