Hooligan Top Ten Playlist

Monday, September 15, 2008 at 3:22 pm

COMBAT OUTPOST ZORMAT, Afghanistan – A friend emailed me to say that all my journalism is for naught if I don’t report what 1st Platoon Hooligans are listening to these days. While I don’t concede the point, I did put the question to the platoon as they waited — in vain, it turned out — for an Afghan National Army company to join them on a trip off the base.

There was much argument and disputation as to what officially constitutes a Hooligan song.The basic consensus, in the words of one Hooligan, was that the company listens to “everything except Mariachi, and Diaz listens to that.” Others told me that the only way I’d capture the platoon’s musical taste is if I went by the gym at 2 or 3 a.m., and I have no intention of doing that.

With those caveats out of the way, here’s a reasonable approximation of a Hooligan Top Ten. The methodology was simple: I wrote down what they shouted out, pending that at least one other person seconded the choice and no one immediately shouted/laughed it down. Add the following to your iTunes library:

1. Van Morrison, “Domino.” Why? “Because it’s an awesome song,” said Staff Sgt. Rannalt Bahr, the only person I’ve ever met who recognized a tattoo I have on my back as being a quote from a Refused song — and who has his own Refused tattoo. (Bahr: “Every day I listen to ‘Rock And Roll’ by the Velvet Underground.”)

2. Ram Jam, “Black Betty.” You know that one? It’s like an oldie. If I sang it to you, you’d recognize it. You’ve heard it a million times, I promise. I had no idea whose song it was.

3. Killswitch Engage, “My Curse.” There was broad agreement about Killswitch, but this was only one of several songs proposed.

4. The Doors, “The End.” Despite the unfortunate Vietnam overtones.

5. Toby Keith, “The Taliban Song.” I hate Toby Keith and yet this song is indisputably awesome. Apparently Toby played a show over here not long ago and did performed “The Taliban Song” with special soldier-lyrics.

6. Core Blund, “I Wanna Be In The Cavalry.” No idea who this is.

7. Journey, “Worlds Apart.” No comment.

8. “The Sweeney Todd Song That The Mom Sings To The Kid,” Sweeney Todd official motion picture soundtrack. No one could figure out what this song is actually titled, and that’s probably for the best.

9. “Most Things On The Rock Band Soundtrack,” Rock Band official soundtrack. And may I say: Good choice. The Rock Band song selection features many top-notch 90s-era jams. I personally rediscovered Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” thanks to the popular video game.

10. “The Debbie Does Dallas Soundtrack,” Debbie Does Dallas official motion picture soundtrack. By popular consensus, at least one Hooligan was conceived while this played.

Amazingly, the Smiths’ “Sweet And Tender Hooligan” has been unfairly neglected.

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Others told me that the only way I’d capture the platoon’s musical taste is if I went by the gym at 2 or 3 a.m., and I have no intention of doing that.

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