Enough talk of ticket scandals (it's sold out, the secondary market is where it's at), formation analysis (time for that later this week) and the whole emerging-rivalry stuff (did it last week, it'll be back again I'm sure).
The Kansas City Star
It's time for the important stuff: Which team has the best hype song?
Sporting Kansas City: "Loud (Re-mix)"
Real Salt Lake: "Believe"
I've examined both songs under only the strictest of journalistic parameters because this is the hard-hitting journalism you come to The Full 90 to read. Here's how they stack up:
Sporting called in Kansas City's Tech N9ne, one of the most successful independent rappers in the game to hype up the crowd for the biggest game of the year.
The Salt Lake anthem was written and performed by Branden Steineckert, the drummer for seminal punk band Rancid (and formerly of The Used). Steineckert is an RSL season-ticket holder and this is team's official anthem.
While Steineckert gets points for being an avid soccer nut, it's hard to argue with the success of Tech N9ne and his label Strange Music. While Rancid was a massive band, at the height of their popularity, Steineckert wasn't the drummer.
When you're going for hype, promotion and atmosphere, there's really only one genre to go to. And it's not ska-based DIY punk.
Note: I also want to give the Kansas City song as many bonus points as possible for "awkward white people dancing," but couldn't convince myself to make it a full category. There are a lot of great moments in that video. Though, perhaps the crowd was too cold to really give a club-worthy performance.
Which song is going to get stuck in your head for good or for bad?
Like the great philosopher/pop poet Gloria Estefan postulated, "the rhythm is gonna get you." When you get down to it, chants are rhythmically designed to turn into earworms.
The "Loud" re-mix is still fresh in our minds, having debuted in the second-leg of the Eastern Conference Finals. In the moment, it was an amazing spectacle. With a little more time, it could be a pre-game ritual. But it's not there yet.
"Believe," has been around for a little bit longer and the fans have latched on to it. Earlier this year in a game against Portland, it was sung by the crowd before kickoff through the whole stadium. That's pretty awesome.
There's no question that both franchises will push both songs as part of the in-stadium soundtrack for many, many matches to come.
Like Sporting KC's slick third kit is meant to be worn to the game or to the club, which of these songs is best designed to be played outside of the stadium? Tech N9ne is like wearing your finest threads for a night on the town; "Believe" is like wearing a comfortable hoodie to a sports bar. Both are surely OK. Only one is cool.
A slightly different category than the previous one. If you're not an avid fan of either team, which song would you be more tempted to listen too? One has a dig-able beat and a drop. The other is a Salt Lake-specific soccer anthem.
"Loud:" Get up out your seats, Turn up in this piece / Sporting KC straight beast.
"Believe:" If you believe then just stand up on your feet and shout it loud 'real.'
You're really going to argue with "straight beast" as a description for a team known throughout the league for its imposing brand of soccer? It's advocating "beast" mode. The other is advocating you just stand on your seat and shout "real" loud. No contest.
"Believe" is less than 30 words long and features the kinda-hacky "battle hymn's begun." In "Loud," Tech tosses the word "bang" more than 15 times. He rhymes it once with "thang."
Neither are exactly award worthy.
Since I'm writing this blog from a desk in Kansas City, you obviously are going to assume there is a bit of a home-town bias to this post. Not so. The number of Rancid songs in my iTunes library outnumbers the Tech N9ne tracks by a 51-13 margin.
I'm more of a "Roots Radical" kinda guy:
But, you know what, "Straight Out of the Gate" is pretty rad. (Audio NSFW!)
But, still. Rancid.
More Believable Attachment to the Team
While I'm sure that Tech isn't a stranger to Sporting KC, it took him a few years to get on board. He wasn't even the first KC rapper to write the hip-hop anthem for SKC. Steineckert is an avid fan doing this project (probably) because of his love of the game.
Like the MLS Cup probably will be this Saturday, this was a very tight match-up, with both sides putting up a strong case. While both songs in their own right are good and certainly up the hype game in MLS, in the end, Tech N9ne is where it's at.
Let it bang Kansas City, your team's hype video has got it going on.