One of the best episodes of How I Met Your Mother has the gang carousing about town in a limousine, attempting to enjoy as many New Year’s Eve celebrations as possible. The best gag occurs as the gang repeatedly re-enters the limo – Barney’s finger goes up, pushes play and Bon Jovi enthusiastically shouts…
“SHOT THRU’ THE HEART!!!”
Welcome to Barney Stinson’s “Get Psyched” mix.
Here’s a clip of Barney explaining: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86YQ4dv1HNQ
The key line is “People often think a good mix should rise AND fall. But people are wrong. It should be all rise baby!”
The recurring punchline had me (SHOT THRU’ THE HEART!!!) laughing every time. So I decided to make my own mix. The trick for a guy like me – a person severely amped-up by music in general – is the dogged task of isolating only enough songs to fit one disc and not plunge into creating The Get Psyched Anthology, volumes 1-17 (I may have already done that for my 4-hour rides home from college).
So… rules – all rise – we got that. Energy music, "a journey into the white-hot center of adrenaline," whatever that may be for you. But there are other concerns. Is there a proper ratio of older to newer tunes? Of hits to rarities? Of musical numbers to a-cappella tracks?
Certainly one true task of the mix is to psyche up not only yourself, but your crew, your bowling team, the local Boy Scout troop, whoever you happen to be travelling with. If screaming death metal psyches you up – as it does many a fine lad – your mix may have those kids’ parents wondering exactly what the hell you're psyching the hell out of their children for.
Something to consider.
Another thing: judging from the running gag in the episode – the first song is going to be the most important song in the mix. Not only that, but the first LINE of the first song is going to be critical. The physical act of getting psyched lives or dies right there.
The opening has to scream at you, rock the world, stir people's souls, then smash them to pieces. It did not take very long to determine the only song that would work for me: The Beastie Boys’ “Paul Revere.” Crank this one up and you are immediately plunged into AdRock’s nasal “NOOOOOOOW…. !”
I’m going to stop mulling all this around in our heads. Fact is, we never hear the rest of Barney Stinson’s Get Psyched mix, so we don’t know how the songs should go. . .
I’ll just make up a few rules and give you my list.
RULES for getting psyched via mix-album form:
#1) Opening song – opening LINE: crucial.
#2) And from there: “all rise, baby!”
#3) Firmly-established songs (but not necessarily number-one hits) – of any genre, any era – take preference over deep-cuts and brand new songs that may not stand the test of time. It is important, though, that the album not slide into a lazy classic-rock radio feel.
#4) Musical numbers better be damn good.
#5) Using an artist more than once better be fantastic.
#6) There is no limit to the number of songs – it can be 106 half-minute hoedowns if that’s what you’re into – just limit the task to one physical CD.
#7) Breaking rules should get you even more psyched!
This is pretty tough. Though I am apt to include every musician I like, it’s not a favorites list – it’s just the most energetic damn songs I can think of to get myself and a tentative group of my peers energized for a night of carousing.
Here is my Get Psyched! album mix for New Year’s Eve 2011. . .
Beastie Boys, “Paul Revere”
Violent Femmes, “Add it Up”
Dandy Warhols, “Bohemian Like You”
OkGo, “Here it Goes Again” (Chicago band!)
Givers, “Up Up Up”
Michael Franti and Spearhead, “Yell Fire”
Black Sabbath, “Paranoid”
311, “Freak Out”
Rolling Stones, “Jumpin Jack Flash”
Blink 182, “Dammit”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Date With the Night”
Vampire Weekend, “Cousins”
Incubus, “You Will Be A Hot Dancer”
Fatboy Slim, “Brimful of Asha”
LCD Soundsystem, “Drunk Girls”
Ben Kweller, “Rules”
Sublime, “We’re Only Gonna Die for our Arrogance”
Gogol Bordello, “Wanderlust King”
The Doors, “L.A. Woman”
Nineteen songs of around five minutes each puts me at just under 100 minutes of getting psyched. I did actually listen to them all in a row. It prevented me from going to bed at a decent hour, so we'll call that a victory.
One thing I noticed is that a lot of “get psyched” type songs boast huge opening lines or riffs. The first three songs (at least) on this mix could have opened. If “Paul Revere” wasn’t a song I actually used to karaoke, this would have made that decision much harder.
The mix boasts a solid classic-rock presence, a punk break in the middle, Chi-town representation, gypsies and Fatboy Slim. Excellent.
With that, I wish you a happy 2012. Be safe, enjoy your own mixed tapes and drinks and, as always…