First off, I’m right.
Secondly, you’re welcome. I’ve found the next Atlanta United anthem. Well, maybe not, but at the very least I’ve gathered most of the ideas in one place.
We at Dirty South Soccer talk often about what’s wrong with a club in Atlanta United that has done everything that could be asked of them — and more — perfectly. Because we’re terrible people.
A common refrain when discussing the inadequacies of a club that has set multiple records and looks to be on track be in contention for the Supporters Shield in its second season is: “Bros (see, I told you, terrible people) we need a song.”
Now when we say “anthem” we’re thinking in the same vein of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at Liverpool and “Wonderwall” at Minnesota United which they somehow been able to turn from a meme to...kinda cool? Essentially, it’s a sing along to have the crowd, you know, sing along to. A song to sing before and after games that unites and conquers us, in, like, an emotional way. We need it because lookit how awesome this is:
And to a lesser extent this:
On the surface, large crowds singing together is cool to listen to and watch but there’s actually a scientific reason we enjoy it. Especially when we’re one of the voices.
“Group singing not only helps forge social bonds, it also does so particularly quickly, acting as an excellent icebreaker. We’ve also shown that community singing is effective for bonding large groups, making it an ideal behavior to improve our broader social networks.”
Anyway, science be damned, it’s obviously just a weird point in the timeline of Atlanta United’s history if we have literally anything to be jealous of Minnesota United for so we really need to correct that. Let’s do it now.
First off, I asked y’all for your suggestions. Pretty much all of the suggestions you gave are here in some way or another. I’m sure everyone has their own favorites, but if you missed the Twitter thread, you missed out on the article. It’s your fault for not following me (@J_SamJones if you were wondering. If you weren’t, don’t tell me.). We also had our own suggestions from the DSS staff since we talk about this like once a month.
Secondly, I came up with some criteria.
1. The song has to be good.
2. It has to be clean
We have to be able to convince the team to play it. On a related note, all y’all that suggested “Love in Your Mouth” by Kilo Ali need Jesus.
3. It has to be an anthem, not a chant.
There’s a difference. “We Ready” doesn’t make the cut here because it has four words and the same melody over and over. Great chant. It’s not an anthem. End of discussion.
We can’t just sing the chorus from a song. We should absolutely sing the chorus to “ATLiens” during games but a chorus to a song by itself is a chant, not an anthem.
We’re also not changing any lyrics around. We’re singing along to a song, not cosplaying as Weird Al. Throw all your Atlanta United themed “Mrs. Jackson” rewrites into the chant pile too (and set most of them on fire, please).
4. It has to be sing alongable.
Not everyone can keep up with Big Boi on “Ain’t No Thang”. Sorry y’all.
5. It has to have emotional resonance. Or at the very least be fun as hell.
The lyrics about hope and the orchestral swells in YNWA make you feel things. “Wonderwall” is cheesy but you can see how it works well when the cheesiness is embraced. They make you feel like the game you just watched or are about to watch is so much bigger than a game. If we aren’t going the “cry and hold a stranger” route though, we’re at least going to make it a party.
If it’s by someone from Atlanta/Georgia or talks about Atlanta/Georgia.
Now that we have our criteria, we’ll start mercilessly judging your suggestions. If you’ve got Spotify you can listen to most of the songs on the page. If you don’t have Spotify ohmygod it’s 2018 what are you even doing?
Tier one: Songs that didn’t even make it past the first piece of criteria. Because they’re trash.
I’m not embedding or commenting on these because I care about y’all as people. We’ll just list them.
With Arms Wide Open - Creed
Look What You Made Me Do - Taylor Swift
My Own Worst Enemy - Lit
Don’t Speak - No Doubt
All I Do Is Win - I don’t care who it’s by and neither do you
The Pretender - Foo Fighters
Party Like A Rockstar - Shop Boyz
Ok, breaking my own rule here to point out that this comes from us from our very own Tiotal Football, whom I used to respect. Anyway, here’s a video of the dufuses from Lit performing in front of like ten people that will bury this idea so far below this surface it will never come up for air again. I’m sorry you have to see this but it has to be done.
Getting Jiggy With It - Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff
Creep - Radiohead (Ohmygod pleeassseee @me about Radiohead)
Summer Romance - Incubus
United by Judas Priest
I’m breaking my rule again to point out that the club is somewhat trying to push this as an anthem. No one sings along. Because the song is bad. It says the word “United” a lot which is...great? I guess. It doesn’t matter though because the song is bad. And no one wants to sing a bad song. Because it’s not good.
Tier Two: Songs that don’t meet criteria #2. This is a family club, y’all.
Welcome To Atlanta - Jermaine Dupree
“Make my own rules, ***** call me the mayor/ Monday night, Gentlemen’s Club/ Tuesday night, I'm up in the velvet room, getting ****** up/ Wednesday, I'm at Strokers on lean”
Georgia - Ludacris
“The children on the corn dirtier than Bob Marley’s pee pee”
Roses - OutKast
“Go, on the raw sex, my AIDS test is flawless”
(also, you know, the chorus.)
Sex and Candy - Marcy’s Playground
Walk it Out - Unk
“Now hit the danceflo’, and bend ya back low / She do it with no hands, now stop pop and rollI’m / smokin bubble ***, yeah dey in trouble ***/ I like the way she move, an undercover ***”
Plenty Money - Plies
“I ain’t ******’ wit that *** ‘cause she a **** hacker / Wanna know who I’m *******’, my money, I just married her”
Motivation - T.I.
“But back to reality G, *** D still carryin’ me, ***** I run this / Spread yo rumors, kick all yo lil’ dumb ****”
There were more but y’all get gist.
Tier Three: Songs that are clean or have clean versions that don’t ruin the song so that they still meet criteria #1 and #2, but fail to meet criteria #4 or #5 or both*
*There is a lot of OutKast here. This is in no way meant to disparage the greatest rap group of all-time. However, there are very few OutKast songs that meet our anthem requirements. Let’s get all of your non-anthem suggestions out of the way.
SpottieOttieDopaliscious - OutKast
This was suggested a lot but, y’all...how the hell are we supposed to sing along to this? Or do...anything at all with this. It’s an incredible song but can you imagine the crowd mumbling “But the people at the post office didn’t call you back cause you had cloudy pissssss” in unison as they try to get hyped up after a win to a seven-minute song with gentle trumpets and spoken word about accidental pro-creation?
Wheelz of Steel - Outkast
I love this song. But if we’re going to pick a song with verses that are borderline impossible to keep up with even if you’re looking at the lyrics, you need a great, shoutable chorus. Andre and Antwan keep it mellow here. Wheelz doesn’t make the cut unfortunately.
Skew It on the Bar-B - OutKast
God, I love this song too. Just a reminder that Aquemini is the best OutKast album. This one has the energy level but the chorus isn’t exactly a singalong. The clean version messes with timing of it as well. It just simply doesn’t work on the large-scale anthem level we need it to. The chorus would be a stellar chant though with some tweaks.
So Fresh, So Clean - OutKast
Great song. Turn the chorus into a chant please. This one, like most of these, fits firmly into criteria #3.
Rosa Parks - OutKast
Don’t Stop Me Now! - Queen
We’re not going to get anywhere trying to sing along with Freddie Mercury. Thems the facts. We don’t have the range.
Oh, Atlanta - Alison Kraus
It’s a good song but it made me feel like I was listening to NPR rather than cheering on a soccer team.
The One I Love - R.E.M.
This suggestion meets criteria 1-4 and even gets bonus points for being freaking R.E.M. but it’s not exactly happy or uplifting. It did make me think of a crowd of 72,000 trying to sing in unison with “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” though and that made me laugh. So, thanks for that.
Midnight Train to Georgia - Gladys Knight and The Pips
Like “The One I Love”, this one has the distinction of fitting nearly every criteria including the bonus points, but fails to meet criteria #5. It’s a fine song, the words are relatively simple and easy, there’s no difficulty in picking up in the melody, but it doesn’t exactly make you feel things, nor does Gladys Knight turn things into a party. Great suggestion, but it misses out on being a contender.
Big Boi - All Night
Chant or Anthem? Borderline. But it’s fun and has just enough energy throughout the song to carry it into possible anthem territory.
Singalongable? I have actually not stopped singing the chorus for the last hour.
Atlanta? Not in the typical way, but it’s Big Boi so it gets a pass.
Emotional or Party-inducing? The latter. It’s pure sugar. It’s not my first choice for an “anthem” though. I can see a crowd singing along and enjoying themselves doing it but All Night just misses out on being a contender.
Same as a song like “B.O.B” though, it should absolutely be played at the end of games for kicks.
Tier Four: Contenders from not the South
These contenders are songs that meet all of our pre-established requirements but fail to get those coveted bonus points for geographic relevancy. That’s not to say these songs can’t work — neither Noel or Liam Gallagher are from Duluth, Minnesota last time I checked — they just don’t have that sweet, sweet cultural connection many of us love about Atlanta United fandom.
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Around 2005 there was a lot of music from vaguely British sounding bands that ended up becoming arena indie-pop-rock staples. If...umm...if that makes sense. The most well known of them, and maybe the most well known “rock” song of the past decade-ish or so, may be Mr. Brightside. It’s become so ingrained that Vice went as far as to call it “The Millenial ‘Stairway to Heaven’”.
There criteria was this:
1. Almost always a rock song, typically a ballad
2. Recognizable within the first few seconds
3. Already emotional from the jump, but eventually reaches a point that has all living things weeping openly
Sounds a lot like what we’re going for here, huh? And if you’re questioning whether the song works on a larger scale:
That’s not in 2005, that’s in the year of our lord 2017. People get into the song in a big way for whatever reason. It’s not a perfect choice but it could work.
Don’t Look Back in Anger - Oasis
This is one is also proven to work on a large scale pretty much everywhere in the world. And it would be fun to one up Minnesota by picking the much better Oasis song.
Tier Five: Contenders that not only meet all criteria but get bonus points
Atlanta June - Pablo Cruise
Sam Franco of Mouths of the South has been pushing this one for a while, and for good reason. It fits all our criteria and works real, real nice y’all. I could see it lacking a little bit in singalongability (again, we don’t got the range and it can get wordy) but it could still be great if everyone bought in.
Georgia on My Mind - Ray Charles
The odds-on favorite. This song came up the most and is the most obvious choice for an anthem. It fits all our criteria in a big way, although there are some problems with the ability to sing along to it. The song runs a little slow and there can be long gaps in between lyrics. Not exactly a perfect anthem quality when you’re trying to get tens of thousands of people to sing together. Still, it’s the obvious choice for a reason. If we began to hear it before and after every game no one would complain.
Everybody Needs Love - Drive By Truckers
My personal pick. You may be saying “Sam, it seems like you manipulated the criteria so that your own personal choice would fit perfectly.” Well, you saying that doesn’t change how right I am.
Is it good? It’s good! And just cheesy enough without being over the top.
Is it family friendly? You bet your ass.
Can you sing along to it? Easily.
Does it make you feel things? Like you believe in altruism and working toward a common good for humanity. Like your watching a sunset with every friend you’ve ever had. Like you’ve looked your best friend in the eye and recognized the love that exists in friendship.
Is it local? Drive-by-Truckers are based out of Athens and have roots in Alabama. Uniting and conquering the south, y’all. It’s perfect and if you’ll take a second to imagine 72,000 people singing it in unison after we’ve thrashed Orlando like 8-0, you’ll know how right I am.
I expect to hear it played after we thrash Kansas City.
Tier Six: The Champion
In the midst of this process, I began to learn a lot about myself. I began to think about my impact on my friends. My family. Strangers. How the small things we do tie us together in ways we’ll never really understand. And as I looked deeper to discover the truth I knew was stored within myself I hit a wall. I knew the wall could be opened I I could just find the key that would unlock the door within the wall. As I was searching I came upon a song. I listened. I learned. I began to understand things about myself I had never realized I misunderstood. I felt joy. I felt hope. I felt all the beautiful things I’ve begun to associate with our soccer team. I hope you do the same and I hope when it’s playing in the Benz one summer Saturday you’ll all be able to feel those same things together. You’ll look at your fellow man and — for some of us finally — feel love.
THE WINNER IS: