It’s Thursday – so close to the weekend that you deserve a music break.
And as the offseason slowly wanes, with roster moves still trickling in, what would be a theme song for each club’s moves since last year? Let's all argue and pass some time debating some picks.
Below I’ve suggested one or two for each club, by artists from that city. What would you add? Click through on the links to enjoy – though earbuds are a good idea if you’re at work as there may or may not be some loud bangers suggested below.
LISTEN: Migos – "Culture"; Jermaine Dupri ft. Ludacris – "Welcome to Atlanta"
Here are two truths: Atlanta have absolutely killed it in the offseason; they snagged their third DP while I was formatting this post. Also, it’s really hard to think of anything musical in Atlanta beyond Migos right now. (Why aren’t you listening to their new album, Culture, BTW? Basically all of the Atlanta Falcons are right now – except for the one guy listening to Mumford and Sons).
As far as a specific selection from the new Migos album, let’s go with the title track. After all, it features DJ Khaled – who’s all about winning, almost ad nauseum – and pretty much forms one long boast about, uh, succeeding in the face of doubts.
A more obvious and old-school choice might be “Welcome to Atlanta,” since it features Ludacris, already an avowed Atlanta United FC Supporter. (I already shot my shot on a Waka Flocka joke, but whatever.)
LISTEN: Chance the Rapper – "All We Got"
Chicago’s offseason has featured a number of smart moves and stunning-in-our-circles trades. (Dax McCarty from New York, anyone?). They’re poised for a come-up. But the team and fans have to lean on each other for now ahead of a big year during which they hope to break a four-year streak of missing the playoffs. So let’s go to one of the city’s most currently relevant rappers right now, Chance [the Rapper], for “All We Got.”
LISTEN: The Lumineers – "Holdin' Out"
Over the offseason, the Rapids lost both Jermaine Jones and Marco Pappa, but for the most part kept together the team that gave them a stellar unbeaten run at home in 2016. They’ll likely keep that fortress strong, too.
The Lumineers are probably the most famous band going out of Denver right now, and their 2016 track “Holdin’ Out” kind of refers to what the 'Pids manage to do on the backline, conceding a league-low 32 goals last year.
Columbus Crew SC
LISTEN: Phil Ochs – "Changes"
After last year’s less-than-ideal follow-up to 2015, Crew SC spent their time off picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and making some changes that stung a little (like bidding goodbye to the likes of Steve Clark and Michael Parkhurst). But there’s some new fresh blood in the mix, including promising Ghanaian defender Jonathan Mensah.
So the appropriate theme song here? Something hopeful, about slow but steady change. Let’s go to Columbus’ great troubadour Phil Ochs; "Changes" seems like a good choice.
(Sure, probably the most famous group going that’s currently from Columbus is Twenty One Pilots, but, nah.)
LISTEN: Bad Brains – "Sailin' On"; Minor Threat – "Look Back and Laugh"
D.C. made an impressive run towards the end of the last season, and the offseason saw a mighty legacy team start to rebuild. There’s special promise in some new young blood (Ian Harkes). Let me please just make a Bad Brains reference here and suggest “Sailin’ On,” which is what DCU will continue to do if all goes well. A personal favorite runner-up to propose is Minor Threat’s “Look Back and Laugh,” ‘cause DCU fans might well be doing that after last year's early playoff exit.
LISTEN: Pantera – "Walk"
Last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners continued the winning into the offseason, signing a mix of wise picks from abroad, Homegrowns and talented vets. We keep saying this, but this really could be Dallas’ year for MLS Cup. Pantera’s “Walk” pretty much does the job here when it comes to demanding the championship respect they earned last year. (Dallas’ music scene is so historically rich, though, there are obviously way more suggestions to make here.)
LISTEN: Beyonce – "Upgrade U"
The Dynamo look poised to hedge their bets on experience this season, based on their offseason moves. They’ll see Cubo Torres return, they got AJ DeLaGarza from the Galaxy, they might re-sign DaMarcus Beasley and they did sign veteran striker Vicente Sanchez. Will the wise and experienced show the rest of the squad the way? Will they be able to “Upgrade U”? (Okay, that’s a tortured way of trying to make a Beyonce reference.)
LISTEN: Tears for Fears – "Change"
The Galaxy’s offseason has equaled, in a word, tumult. We already all know about the drastic changes in staff and team (newest DP Romain Alessandrini) – but still, some fan favorites and top-notch players are headed back to the club, after all. So can the Galaxy fight back to become a championship-winning team once again? Surely, they’re hungry for it. Let’s go with “Change” by Tears for Fears, then, since bandleader Curt Smith is an avowed fan and season ticket-holder. Also, it’s always a good time for some good 1980s-styled synth-tastic emoting.
Minnesota United FC
LISTEN: Prince – "Let's Go Crazy"; the Replacements – "Color Me Impressed"
As they got ready to enter MLS this season, Minnesota United started out with a much quieter approach than, say, Atlanta. But then came the fireworks around their trade for Orlando’s Kevin Molino, a record-setting move in the league. What other surprises might Minnesota have in store? Talking about Twin Cities music pretty much requires a mention of the late, great Prince, so how about “Let’s Go Crazy” (with trades and TAM?). Here’s a runner-up, just because I want to mention the Replacements: their song “Color Me Impressed.”
LISTEN: Leonard Cohen – "Hallelujah"
Montreal rode out the off-season impressively – they lost a titan in Didier Drogba, but they held onto Homegrown and veteran staples (see Bernier, Ciman, etc.), as well as star Ignacio Piatti. Nice. We could suggest the late, legendary Montreal man Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as a theme song of relief? (Yes, the song is pretty much over-used everywhere, but come on, it’s a classic.)
New England Revolution
LISTEN: The Cars – "Just What I Needed"
Revs fans waited for so long for some offseason news, any offseason news. Finally, they got some in a pair of international center backs. It’s something, right? How about Boston legends The Cars’ “Just What I Needed” here?
New York City FC
LISTEN: Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz – "Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)"
New York City played it cool this offseason, wisely keeping fan favorites like Tommy Mac and RJ Allen, trading away goalkeeper Josh Saunders and picking up a few interesting names from abroad. There haven’t been too many dramatic changes, though, so perhaps head coach Patrick Vieira is continuing to build on an increasingly firm foundation that took them to the playoffs last year. In other words, a bit of “Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)” – please say you remember that classic by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz.
New York Red Bulls
LISTEN: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – "Zero"
It’s hard to look at RBNY’s offseason without talking about that one, big wound – the departure of Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire. But there are a few bright spots, like that acquisition from Rainbow FC (Hassan Ndam), plus a few other moves. And after all, Red Bulls fans need only to whisper one thing to themselves for comfort during dark times: “7-0.” Think about that zero as you listen to great New Yorkers, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, sing their 2009 dance jam named, well, "Zero."
Orlando City SC
LISTEN: The Doors – "Break On Through (To the Other Side)"
One hallmark of Orlando’s offseason is that the club has fully molted the remaining line-up from their old USL days. Between that, and a promising new signing in Jonathan Spector, it could be the dawn of a bigger improvement this year for the club. Also, legend Kaká will return, and Josh Saunders has been reunited with head coach Jason Kreis. There’s a lot going on, and a lot of it points towards hope.
When we go to pick a theme song by a major artist from Orlando, though, things get a little … tough. How about we go with something by the Doors, since Jim Morrison was born in nearby Melbourne – the home of Orlando City B? Perhaps the Lions will be able to “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” and into the playoffs this year (rimshot).
LISTEN: The Roots – "The Next Movement"
The highlights of the Union’s offseason are, arguably, the return of top US names – both a legend returning (Oguchi Onyewu), and, possibly, a promising youngster (Fafa Picault). Maybe it’s time for the Roots’ classic “The Next Movement?”
LISTEN: Nu Shooz – "I Can't Wait"
A few highlights of the Timbers’ rebuilding offseason? The signing of DP winger Sebastian Blanco, promising youngsters from Timbers 2, and, well, the fact that a one-time wunderkind (yes, Freddy Adu!) is on trial currently, too. The kids are alright, maybe? How will this play out? Maybe an appropriate theme song for everybody’s feelings is Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait” – yup, the 1980s hit-makers hailed from Portland. (I wanted to be a morose human and name-check my boy Elliott Smith in here, but I more or less believe that offseason commentary should look for the promising.)
Real Salt Lake
LISTEN: Neon Trees – "Animal"
RSL’s offseason provided the drama relatively early, when they announced that longtime club stalwart Javier Morales would be departing. Still, fans should be cheered that RSL in turn beat out Euro squads to sign 22-year-old Albert Rusnak, they scooped up MLS stalwarts Chad Barrett and David Horst, and they're bringing back folks like Joao Plata and Luis Silva, too. There’s room to keep building after a playoff run late last season.
Real Salt Lake already have an actual theme song more or less – “Believe” – written by Rancid drummer Branden Steineckert. But for the sake of this post conceit, let’s pick a different one for the offseason – how about some upbeat indie-pop, courtesy of Neon Trees? Maybe RSL’s shrewd signings will make the team an “Animal” on the field this year?
San Jose Earthquakes
LISTEN: E-40 – "Tell Me When To Go"
Twitter would show Quakes fans as being, perhaps, some of the most embattled in the league, but they probably shouldn’t despair. They have ultimately added to their attack, and there might still be more coming. Meanwhile, other club staple players have re-signed – so things might turn out okay after all. We should probably pick a theme song here from legendary Bay Area rapper E-40. Um, he really did write an Earthquakes anthem some years ago, but “Tell Me When To Go” was a a better mainstream hype song and a banger that should have been appreciated more on the east coast.
Also, hey, Smash Mouth, what happened to this promise?
Seattle Sounders FC
LISTEN: Jimi Hendrix – "Fire"
Look, the Sounders are still riding high on the glory of their first MLS Cup. Although a couple of guys have left during the offseason, after the purge of December 2016, most of the winning core remains. They’ve brought up some relative kids, too, from both their USL team and their academy. In other words, they should still prove a force with which to be reckoned. Narrowing down the musical field, meanwhile, from Seattle is super tough, so for pure force and energy, let’s throw it all the way back to Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire,” which works quite well as a hype anthem.
Sporting Kansas City
LISTEN: Tech N9ne – "Worldwide Choppers"
SKC came through with a number of interesting signings in the offseason, opting for an international mix of slightly under-the-radar and good-value names – including a DP! That assortment of global flavors melds with most of fans’ favorites from last year, for a serious squad that should enjoy rock-solid (and frightening-to-opponents) support as usual. Perhaps an apt theme song for this? Well, we’ve gotta go with Kansas-City-to-the-core artist Tech N9ne, who even served as a capo of sorts back in August 2016. Something like the posse cut “Worldwide Choppers” might serve as a reminder of SKC’s coming formidable teamwork.
LISTEN: Drake – "Best I Ever Had"
Toronto came so close to Cup glory – really, it could have been theirs with a butterfly-wing’s-flapping of a difference in life. So they’re smart to have basically hung on to their successful squad so far, with Benoit Cheyrou and Tosaint Ricketts re-signing, and Sebastian Giovinco reportedly very happy where he is.
It all pretty much seems copacetic – and really it’s impossible to think of a more famous Torontonian musician currently than Giovinco’s favorite, Drake. The Atomic Ant would maybe be happy with Drizzy’s classic “Best I Ever Had,” commemorating TFC’s probably best-ever squad, as an offseason theme song.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
LISTEN: Grimes – "Oblivion"
Things have been relatively quiet on the Vancouver front, even though they have some areas to fix – especially if rumors Giles Barnes is headed out indeed come to pass. Still, they’ve signed at least one promising name from Red Bull Salzburg (Yordy Reyna), and things pretty much have to go up from here. A nice soundtrack to all of this might be Vancouver’s own Grimes’ classic, “Oblivion” – as a reminder not to actually wind up there, all set to upbeat, chirping beats.