Welcome to the Second Round of the Deadspin Arena Anthem Death Match! Plenty of upsets, plenty of non-surprises and plenty of hurt feelings in Round One, to be sure. What will get now with our 32 combatants, all of whom have already proven their mettle in vanquishing a worthy opponent. The races should tighten up a bit overall now, and the matchups really start to peg personal favorites against each other. Just like a good bracket should. So let’s get started. Here are some musings on the Round of 32 ...
1. Seven Nation Army, The White Stripes 82% ✅ / 16. Kernkraft 400, Zombie Nation 18% (1,588 total votes)
Welp. The Army, Seven Nation, is STRONG. And pissed that I tried to pull a fast one on them. Nacion de Zombie is EQUALLY pissed at me for ruining their chances at a run! No regrets from me, but the people have spoken, and I now don’t see a legit threat to SNA until a few rounds from now.
8. Everybody Dance Now, C+C Music Factory 55% ✅ / 9. Good Vibrations, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch 45% (1,533 total votes)
A not-surprisingly very close battle of two ’90s high school dance and club staples. I will say NOT the way I saw it going, though. Donnie’s brother gon’ have a MUUUUCH tougher battle this time around tho. Shirtless, slick moves and all, I remain … not hopeful.
5. Song 2, Blur 71% ✅ / 12. Dynamite, Taio Cruz 29% (1,410 total votes)
Blur’s is one of those songs that easily could have been a 2-, 3- or 4 -seed had I not carved out caveats for those, so not a shock to see it roll here. Taio Cruz just threw his “hands up in the air” early in this one and played the scrubs.
4. Bodak Yellow, Cardi B 15% / 13. Whoomp! There It Is, Tag Team 85% ✅ (1,476 total votes)
An absolute massacre in five-part harmony. One thing was CRYSTAL clear in Round One: Most of y’all do NOT want newer, fresher beats at games, thank you very much. The ensuing 4-5 matchup here between “Whoomp!” and “Woo-Hoo!” songs was not an accident, y’all. Gimme SOME credit for foresight, would ya? Geeeeeez!
6. The Final Countdown, Europe 85% ✅ / 11. Twilight Zone, 2 Unlimited 15% (1,505 total votes)
I know how popular TFC is in the world of sports, believe me. I’ve heard it a billion times across every arena and stadium in the land. It holds a special place in my heart. But this bludgeoning of a jock jam staple was surprising. 2 Unlimited got annihilated twice in this bracket: definitely our biggest losers.
3. Lose Yourself, Eminem 79% ✅ / 14. Bang The Drum All Day, Todd Rundgren 21% (1,871 total votes)
Didn’t think ol’ Todd had it in him here. But I gotta say, given the strength of Europe’s Round One victory, I think they may knock off a strong three seed (but not necessarily a stereotypical arena anthem) in Em’s masterpiece.
7. Eye of the Tiger, Survivor 72% ✅ / 10. Machinehead, Bush 28% (2,660 total votes)
I really think I hear Machinehead more these days at games, but from the voting it’s obviously not how many times ya get spun, but what you mean to folks when you hear it. You want your Survivor and you want it forever. Case closed.
2. Sabotage, Beastie Boys 51% ✅ / 15. Jump Around, House of Pain 49% (1,987 total votes)
One of our closest first-round battles and nearly a gigantic upset … by seed. But again, HOP’s inclusion on the 15 line was unique to me, and y’all weren’t having it. And it nearly sent home a song I still think COULD win the whole thing. It will be SUPER interesting (to me, because I am a geek about this stuff) to see how Sabotage shakes off the scare and responds to another monster hit. I’m not convinced yet it will ...
1. Welcome To The Jungle, Guns N’ Roses 89% ✅ / 16. Who Let The Dogs Out, Baha Men 11% (1,401 total votes)
Never in doubt. Nor should it have been. I think we can now safely say that 11% of Deadspin poll-takers are just flexin’ their troll muscles. Ok, fine, 10% and 1% of you just legit like barking noises.
8. It Takes Two, Rob Base/DJ EZ Rock 69% (Nice!) ✅ / 9. Hells Bells, AC/DC 31% (1,307 total votes)
Really expected more out of a 24k gold, iconic ’80s smash hit. But AC/DC was built for the arena anthem postseason. Hence, we now get a “Saturday, Saturday, Saturday!” steel-cage match brawl between two rock ‘n’ roll legends. This should be fun, though I don’t see the top seed going anywhere.
5. Lose Control, Missy Elliot 33% / 12. Pump Up The Jam, Technotronic 67% ✅ (1,206 total votes)
Technotronic is over here LAUGHING at 2 Unlimited, like, “Y’all, this is how you take care of business as a jock jam staple, c’mon.” Missy’s is one of my most underrated arena tunes, but she found out how hard she had to work it in THIS one and was not up to the task. I will still rock out whenever I hear it.
4. Bad and Boujee, Migos 46% / 13. Timber, Pitbull/Ke$ha 54% ✅ (1,327 total votes)
EVERY bracket should lead to a 12/13 Cinderella matchup and we have ours here. Good job, good effort, Migos, but Pitbull & Ke$ha earn the right to, I think, be the next 2000s track to be humbled by the 1990s.
6. Crazy Train, Ozzy Osbourne 85% ✅ / 11. Show Me What You Got, Jay Z 15% (1,255 total votes)
Well Ozzy really bit the head off Jay-Z in this one! No surprise here, though I have a soft spot in my heart for “Show Me” because I had my wedding party walk in to it at my reception. We all showed what we had on the dance floor that night with a playlist personally curated by me, cocktail hour thru last song — I KNOW, YOU’RE SHOCKED, RIGHT?!
3. Truth Hurts, Lizzo 29% / 14. Let’s Get It Started, Black Eyed Peas 71% ✅ (1,149 total votes)
Wow, this truth hurt for me. Not many of you saw the arena anthem potential of Lizzo’s Grammy-nominated hit. And The Peas now get a date with Ozzy. Umm, good luck … and watch your heads.
7. Turn Down for What, DJ Snake & Lil Jon 51% ✅ / 10. Start Me Up, The Rolling Stones 49% (833 total votes)
Classic rock purists were furious at the seeding here, but it played it much like a 7/10 often does. I honestly thought this might go the other way, especially given the overall strength of rock songs in Round One, but apparently a lot of you like screaming! Me too. Everyone needs a good scream now and then. And a thumbing of one’s nose at authority.
2. Sandstorm, Darude 79% ✅ / 15. Cha Cha Slide, DJ Casper 21% (918 total votes)
Darude got to rest their starters here and I expect are gearing up for a STRONG run given some of the comments on this one. That makes me happy. This song makes me happy. And frenetic. Sometimes borderline dizzy.
1. Thunderstruck, AC/DC 86% ✅ / 16. Cotton Eye Joe, Rednex 14% (1,203 total votes)
More roadkill on AC/DC’s path to possible glory. Let this please be enough to send Rednex to the sin bin of arena anthems. It also sets up a helluva round two.
8. Victory/Going The Distance, Diddy, et. al., Bill Conti 29% / 9. Sirius, The Alan Parsons Project 71% ✅ (1,005 total votes)
While I will always continue to hear the bells of Victory in my head at big moments, you all really prefer the mesmerizing tones of Alan Parsons’ classic. I have to wonder if the recent popularity of, and nostalgia-popper that was, “The Last Dance” at all padded the final numbers here.
5. Let Me Clear My Throat, DJ Kool 74% ✅ / 12. Ready To Go, Republica 26% (990 total votes)
Here we go, here we go, here we go! DJ Kool ran roughshod over Republica (who openly admitted they were “ready to go” … and, well, went). It sets up a rare ’70s/’90s hip hop battle royale.
4. This Is America, Childish Gambino 43% / 13. Apache, The Sugarhill Gang 57% ✅ (1,080 total votes)
Childish Gambino kept it respectable here against a giant. I can appreciate that. I thought the non-instant-recognition of Apache’s title would ding it a little here. But enough of you knew it or checked out the Spotify playlist and said, “Oh, yes … that one, please.” Sugarhill vs. DJ Kool now. That matchup brings a smile to my face.
6. Black Betty, Ram Jam 81% ✅ / 11. Believer, Imagine Dragons 19% (1,809 total votes)
Another case where I thought the name might not be well-known enough. But wowzers, did you know it, and overwhelmingly choose it to take its guitar shredding on to the next round. Fun fact: Ram Jam was only active in 1977-78 and yet produced two albums. This was their only hit. But what a hit.
3. All I Do Is Win, DJ Khaled 57% ✅ / 14. Right Now, Van Halen 43% (1,208 total votes)
An overall sports-centric banger knocks off a big-moment go-to. Not terribly surprising. VH kept it close enough to not hang their heads. DJ Khaled gets a date with Ram Jam and probably the most dichotomous matchup of our second round. Should be a fun test of strength.
7. All Star, Smash Mouth 46% / 10. Party Rock Anthem, LMFAO 54% ✅ (865 total votes)
Shrek’s personal theme song goes down to the song used in the trailer for Madea’s Big Happy Family. Wikipedia is amazing. That’s why I keep donating monthly to the Wikimedia Foundation. (Come on: you use it every day, be honest; cough up a few bucks if you can.)
2. Get Ready For This, 2 Unlimited 36% / 15. Rock and Roll All Nite, KISS. 64% ✅ (967 total votes)
I still just … can’t with KISS. And I’m NOT sorry this time! I fear how far this monster can go now, and I will take a flamethrower to this whole thing if it beats Black Betty down the line. Why oh why did I put the power in your hands? Gonna be a long plane ride home for poor 2 Unlimited, who just graduated all their seniors to boot.
1. We Will Rock You, Queen 90% ✅ / 16. YMCA, The Village People 10% (813 total votes)
Who will stop Queen in this thing? Anyone?! That’s really the million dollar question of the whole bracket. The title is theirs to lose, lest someone step up, a la NC State ’83 or Villanova ’85 (or, you know, take your pick) and snatch it.
8. Hip Hop Hooray, Naughty by Nature 53% ✅ / 9. Bring ’Em Out, TI 47% (822 total votes)
More like “Take ’Em Out,” amirite?! Come on, I’ve made it to the final region before cracking a Dad Joke, cut me some slack. Naughty by Nature becomes the next challenger to the champ. I’m … not optimistic.
5. Paradise City, Guns N’ Roses 86% ✅ / 12. Cupid Shuffle, Cupid 14% (806 total votes)
GNR joins AC/DC as the only band with two songs in the second round, and only one has the chance to emerge with two in round three since they face each other in the South. Here it was never in doubt. Cupid gets … no don’t, Rich … gets an … ugh … ARROW TO THE HEART ok I’ll see myself out bye.
4. Physical, Dua Lipa 23% / 13. Right Here, Right Now, Fatboy Slim 77% ✅ (813 total votes)
Another noob who never stood a chance. This could be the closest second round battle we get, because I think Fatboy has a puncher’s chance against GNR. At least in my book. Prolly not yours. Never mind. Stupid prediction. Moving on ...
6. C’mon Ride It (The Train), Quad City DJs 56% ✅ / 11. What I Like About You, The Romantics 44% (806 total votes)
Choo-choo’s are more popular than I thought. I am genuinely shocked at this result. I imagined a sea of support for our 11-seed here. Shout out to the St. Rose women’s basketball squad, who used this in warm-ups and were a helluva squad. They embarrassed my alma mater C.W. Post in the NYCAC playoffs of my senior year (with yours truly on the mic on WCWP!), that’s how I know.
3. Bad Blood, Taylor Swift w/ Kendrick Lamar 52% ✅ / 14. Let’s Get Loud, J-Lo 48% (770 total votes)
Another nail-biter here, but the pop queen of the 2000/2010s ousts a trailblazing icon of the 1990s and 2000s. Sets up a weird, and I don’t think very favorable, matchup with Quad City. But who knows? Glad I picked this Tay Tay song and not Tim McGraw like I was going to. That was a joke. Keep up.
7. Blitzkrieg Bop, The Ramones 67% ✅ / 10. Chelsea Dagger, The Fratellis 33% (1,505 total votes)
One of our higher vote tallies in this region, and I have to attribute that to its popularity in Chicago. Nonetheless, not popular enough to oust the kids from Queens, the best county in America: FIGHT ME! And I fully admit, The Ramones are a live 7-seed.
2. Kickstart My Heart, Motley Crüe 55% ✅ / 15. Shout!, Parts 1 & 2, The Isley Bros. 45% (1,212 total votes)
Cannot believe how close this was. Is Shout! really that beloved as a sports song? I s’pose so. And it makes me fear the road ahead for the song I chose as my personal champion in this tournament. Yep, this is the song that most fires me up at a game. Can’t wait to find out which one does that for the majority of our voters. 16 more songs get bounced from contention … starting at noon today over on the Tweeties … Enjoy!