Tony Hawk dropped a birthday surprise with the announcement that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 were both getting a remaster and rerelease for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
One of the most legendary sports video game series, the more recent releases have had trouble recapturing the magic of the original few games. One of the keys to those original games was the simplicity and the ability to pick up and play with friends after some practice runs.
While you’re stringing together combos, you were listening to an absolutely killer soundtrack. THPS 2 was one of the first games I got on the Sega Dreamcast. At 8 years old, I hadn’t done much growing in a musical sense. I just knew I liked skateboarding and that Tony Hawk had nailed the 900. So once that disk fired up and a sword flew threw the Neversoft eyeball, it became clear I was getting into something different.
Soon the music became just as important as the tricks. Some songs worked to cruise through the maps on, to string together grinds and street combos. Others were meant for getting big air and trying to hold onto that Japan Air 540 just a bit longer. No matter what, you probably spent a lot of hours jamming and slamming down tricks in the hanger and likely remember a few songs that really resonated with you.
So, let’s take those 15 songs and rank them! How do you make a list out of childhood memories and personal favorites? By listening to the whole soundtrack to death and hoping you don’t get fried on Twitter later. Let’s go.
#15- Heavy Metal Winner by Consumed (1998)
A quick note to start off, there really isn’t a bad song on the entire playlist. What gets Heavy Metal Winner its 15th spot is that it just kinda sounds like every other sort of punk that came out in the late ’90s. Not a shock to find out this is the band’s most-streamed song on Spotify. What sets this one apart from the others is that the lead singer sounds British, and the accent mixed with someone playing the hell out of the drums and a fun riff makes this a pretty enjoyable song to throw down some ledge grabs too.
#14 May 16 by Lagwagon
This song didn’t finish in the cellar for one reason. It sounds like a song that was written for the Foo Fighters, who rejected it, and then it was immediately given to a band who someone said “oh they kinda sound like them” about. In a way though, when they talk about wasting another Saturday, it hits home.
#13- Subculture by Styles of Beyond
If you’re thinking, wait aren’t these the guys that were on that entire album with the guy from Linkin Park (Mike Shinoda) in was rapping with Fort Minor in 2005? Yup, you’re right. Tak, DJ Cheapshot, and Ryu are on the rhymes with Vin Skully doing the producing on this extremely late 90’s rap track. It’s a pretty decent song once it gets going, but this one just starts to slow to get into. It’s one of those ones that fade to the background while you’re picking a map. Also worth noting is that the remix to this song is actually awesome. Maybe it’ll find its way into the game.
#12- Cyclone by Dub Pistols
When this song starts you have no idea what’s going on. An old movie quote is followed by a saxophone and then the man starts rapping. I’m running in a cy-co-lone (that’s how they say it) trying to figure out what’s happening, but it’s catchy as all hell.
#11- No Cigar by Millencolin
You can hear the angst in this track. I can also hear my character skating into a trash can or a rail because I forgot to ollie it. Tony Hawk actually has said this is his favorite song on the soundtrack. Surprising nobody, this is their most popular song, No Cigar feels like the life force of a teenager turned into sound. If this song was playing your player probably took a few extra foot pumps for speed, or went downhill. Cause you’re dangerous and don’t care.
#10- B-Boy Document ’99 by The High and Mighty, Mos Def, & Mad Skillz
The good in this song is 1. Mos Def, 2. That there is a Mace Windu reference, 3. It makes me smile to know Mad Skillz was an actual rap name. Other than that this song is a forgettable and strange slice of the era, but Mos Def is so good it gets to 11. This one also didn’t make the remastered soundtrack.
#9- Out With the Old by AlleyLife featuring Black Planet
This song also is rumored not to be coming back. That is a massive bummer since this was a prime example of when fusing rap and rock can go very well. This had angry written all over it but had a beat that let you find a creative outlet for it rather than just screaming and smashing your controller. When this song comes on you don’t just ollie into grinds, you hit a fakie No Comply into a backside 50/50.
#8- Blood Brothers by Papa Roach
This song really encapsulates what the whole Papa Roach experience for me was. The opening guitar riff might be the best on the soundtrack, but the lyrics and singing just fall flat of how awesome this sound sounded like it was going to be. As they say, its in our nature to destroy ourselves, so really Papa Roach warned us. If you want to get big air off a ramp and try to manual through it, this is the song for you.
#7- When Worlds Collide by Powerman 5000
This is one of the more iconic tracks from the entire soundtrack. Powerman 5000 owns a little piece of space in everyone’s mind just because this song hit so hard through the TV speakers as you tried to hit your highest peak and nail that 900. It was slightly evil, a bit shouty, and had a chorus that you can yell with your friends till this day. It might be a perfect video game soundtrack song, but in terms of ranking them, this is very middle of the road.
#6- Five Lessons Learned by Swingin’ Utters
Swingin’ Utters went to the school of always leave them wanting more. Powerful guitar riffs and popping vocals provide high energy and a killer sound on this track. The problem? Clocking in at a BRISK 1:56 you can be playing and not even realize the song is playing. By the time you blink after hitting that difficult line the song is ending. If you’re lucky enough to catch the start though you’re in for a treat.
#5- Pin the Tail On the Donkey by Naughty by Nature
This song is agonizing to rank. It’s it could be the best song of the collection and Naughty by Nature is a legendary group. The real issue is that unless you were a literal god at the game, or had so mastered a line you could do it blindfolded and asleep there was no way your gameplay could keep up with the song itself.
#4- You by Bad Religion
The punk rock peak of the soundtrack, Bad Religion carves this gem deep into your brain, with the most beautiful f*%kin place in the world has candy canes. It’s easy to master every lyric, fits the pace of the game, and is the perfect length for a timed run. If you can imagine hearing this song in an alley chase seen in a movie about a rough teenage gang, then it’s probably perfect for a Tony Hawk game.
#3- Evil Eye by Fu Manchu
The had a guy skating a pool on the album cover. This song was made to pair with a skateboard video game. The guitar rocks in a rock punk style jam that gets your head nodding. For whatever reason when this song plays it sounds like you’re skating at a competition as these guys perform from a stage near the vert ramp you’re shredding. It just works. Also the Fu Manchu is the peak of all mustache variations.
#2- Guerilla Radio by Rage Against The Machine
RATM was on the list for every kid with an issue, and probably always will be. The song hits on every beat, the baseline is sick and you can sing along every word. You’re up and jumping around while playing when this song is on. It’s probably the most hype you get while playing. You want to tear down capitalism and watch Fight Club for the 500th time. Get raging.
#1- Bring The Noise- Public Enemy & Anthrax
We’re finally here. The only logical conclusion was this song. Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and Anthrax all made cultural and musical impacts on their own. Together they made one of the top collaboration tracks of all time. They took the base that Run-DMC and Aerosmith laid and threw it on ground and curb stompped it. It’s a great rap song and an awesome metal song. It’s the best song on this game, and possibly in any Tony Hawk game. So far the word is it won’t be back on the remastered version. Hopefully that changes.