Because it's not Nashville unless you're sipping a $4.25 Bud Light bottle and listening to a cover band butcher this man's famous songs.
There's not much to say about the Kentucky loss that hasn't already been said. What needs to be done now is a strong showing at home against Mississippi State - the kind of performance where the team rockets out of the gate and rides the Memorial Magic to a blowout win. Unfortunately, this team has started off slowly at home in SEC play this year, only to come back strong in the second half. Clearly there is only one reason for this: weak motivation caused by poor pre-game song choice.
What I'm about to suggest may be controversial, but Zombie Nation, the team's current pre-tip song, is played out. You hear it everywhere - Penn State, South Carolina, Florida, and Clemson come to mind - and while it's a recognizable song for the crowd, there's nothing about it unique to Vanderbilt. For the 3+ minutes the song is playing, you could be in any college arena. This connection is what really generates that fan (and player) buy-in. Can you say that Zombie Nation gets you more excited for a home basketball game vs. Florida than this video? I can't. And that's because the Memorial Magic video has a direct connection to Vandy tradition - something you won't see anywhere else. Memorial Gym is a completely unique place to play - shouldn't every aspect of Vanderbilt basketball reflect that?
So let Penn State have Zombie Nation. Let's get something else for the Commodores - something that will pump fans up, but you'll only hear at Memorial Gym. Wisconsin has their 3rd quarter Jump Around (which is awesome), Liverpool FC has You'll Never Walk Alone, the Red Sox have Neil Diamond, and the Seattle Seahawks have Verve's Bittersweet Symphony (they can't all be winners). Vandy fans need something to call their own, that will get them pumped up at games and reverberate from the court all the way up to section 3F.
So what can Vanderbilt adopt as their pre-tip song? It's got to be either high-energy, or something that fans can sing along with, regardless of how drunk they are. It would help if it was something recent, or if it had a connection to Vanderbilt or Nashville. However, connections are optional (example: a European techno song being adopted in central Pennsylvania). Most of all, it has to be a song that you're only going to hear at a sporting event if it's at Vanderbilt. With that said, I have a few suggestions - feel free to weigh in and present alternatives in the comments.
Option 1: Muse - Hysteria
While Uprising is the Muse song of the moment, there's no denying that Hysteria gets you pumped up...
That rising bass line, the build-up, and then moment the guitar drops in all set the stage for a battle. The song keeps up this intensity for all four minutes, and with a chorus of "I want it now...I'm not breaking down/I'm breaking out/Last chance to lose control" it would set the template for a rowdy crowd.
Option 2: KRS-One - Rapture's Delight
Maybe this is cheating, since former UFC champion Rashad Evans has been using this as his walk-out music for his past few fights, but Rapture's Delight is another song that gets a crowd's blood pumping. It's a song that most people are familiar with, yet couldn't name specifically. Still, when that beat kicks in, they'll be bobbing their heads and jumping in time.
Option 3: Beastie Boys - Sabotage
Maybe a little cliche, but it's a song everyone knows, and will get a crowd worked up. Bonus points if they could put the video up on the scoreboard. However, I'd be surprised if no other colleges used this as warm-up music.
Option 4: Oasis - Wonderwall
A tame submission, but think of it this way: Oasis + large group of semi-drunk white people = dynamite. In nearly all my experiences, putting on Wonderwall or Don't Look Back in Anger in a drinking setting filled with college-age middle/upper class kids, and you're getting a sing along. You could also make a case for a Weezer song here, particularly a Blue Album selection such as My Name is Jonas. This would fall under the "You'll Never Walk Alone" type of musical tradition.
In the same vein, F**King in the Bushes would be an even better choice, due to its energy and inclusion in the penultimate scene in an outstanding movie, but would likely get the veto from VU administration.
Option 5: David Allan Coe/Hank Williams Jr./Alabama - You Never Even Called Me By My Name/Family Tradition/Dixieland Delight
An easy call for any of these songs. Any night in Nashville where you end up on Broadway or 2nd you know you'll hear all of these songs at least once. My graduate school application at Vandy had a section that asked me to recite the third lyric of David Allan Coe's opus. These songs aren't high energy, but connect directly into Nashville and the drinking patterns of our student body. The lyrics are downright country, and have multiple opportunities for sing alongs akin to Sweet Caroline. It seems like overplayed country music and the Commodores would be an easy match - hell, they do it after Predators games after every goal.
Option 6: Heart - Alone
Well, this is one we could completely own. And it would be original. And opposing teams might be too busy admiring Ann Wilson's rock solid songwriting to play hard. Note: Ann Wilson's song writing may not actually be rock solid, nor is this a reasonable option.
So there are a few ideas on how to build a solid pre-game frenzy before the tip. Vanderbilt's got some great traditions, but nothing you can play at the bar that'll bring you back to Memorial and bring the 'Dores fans out of the woodwork. Maybe there's too much of a difference between a pre-tip and 3rd quarter/7th inning song, but in either case Vandy needs something to call its own (Sweet Caroline at baseball games doesn't count). Of course, this is just my limited list of suggestions - feel free to add more below, or simply use the comments to refute my anti-Heart agenda.
What should the be pre-tipoff song for men's basketball home games?
Vandy should keep Zombie Nation (11 votes)
Muse - Hysteria (24 votes)
KRS-One - Rapture's Delight (8 votes)
Beastie Boys - Sabotage (18 votes)
Oasis - Wonderwall/Don't Look Back (3 votes)
David Allan Coe/Hank Williams Jr./Alabama (19 votes)
Heart - Alone (10 votes)
Other (Please specify in the comments) (14 votes)
107 total votes