The first time I ever punched someone, I was about eight years old. It was recess and my one friend – a boy named Duke – convinced me to play tag with him and the other kids, none of whom liked me very much. I was tubby, a slow runner, and absolutely terrified of any remotely sportive activity, so I agreed on the following condition: that he would never, ever, under ANY circumstances, tag me “it.”
Fifteen minutes into the game, the rat bastard did it anyway – failing as a friend, as a person, and especially as a man in my eyes in one easy swoop. I was livid. When I confronted him about it, he simply ignored me and began to walk off. So, in the first of many impulsive and rage-aholic decisions of my life, I grabbed him by the collar of his weird, multicolored long-sleeved polo shirt, tugged him back towards me, and promptly clocked him on the nose.
He bled and cried. I towered over him like a mini Incredible Hulk, suddenly a whole new woman.
My next few physical altercations after that happened during the Dark Ages, where a combat-booted me enjoyed such things as locker-burning, bull-rushing, and a sort of jump-and-headlock move (because I am a dwarf but my height’s never stopped me). Needless to say, I’m known far and wide for having had pretty much the worst temper and most reactive attitude in the history of teen angst (once, during an argument, I pushed a guy, who recovered his balance then said, “I’m not going to push you back because you’re a girl;” offended, I delivered a crisp uppercut straight to his jaw – cuz ain’t no one gonna ever think they’re doing me any favors). But I will say this – I did a damn fine job of standing up for myself.
I’ve since dealt with my rage and my other demons, and have learned to control my temper and violent impulses, but there’s an extent to which my Dark Ages never really left me. I’m still loud, still out-spoken, and still unapologetically myself, even (and especially) when it displeases everyone else. I’m still quick to defend myself and others, quick with my reflexes (with the humiliating exception of the infamous mouse incident, which I’m pretty sure I will never live down for the rest of my life), and quick to involve myself in hijinks that manage to reach new levels of stupidity. And you know what? I’m glad. Glad especially of the fact that I can smell when I’m about to be wronged from a mile away, and I’m always prepared with a metaphorical spray-bottle of Febreeze in each hand for when it happens. We shouldn’t ever let anyone get away with treating us poorly.
On this vein, consider the following songs a rampant, righteous, and raucous celebration of defense – of yourself and of others. May they inspire in you a just and fighting spirit, and a fearless determination to NEVER. TAKE. ANYONE’S. SHIT.
1. “Iron Man” – Black Sabbath
This was the first “fight song” I ever had – the one that would play in my head consistently right before I crumpled a fist or set things aflame. Every time I hear the beginning, I immediately conjure up an image on me kicking down the doors of some saloon (because shit always goes down in the Wild West and apparently this is where we are now), ready to right some wrongs! (Also, check out how it’s used in Detroit Rock City. Brilliant.)
2. “A Warrior’s Call” – Volbeat
Second only to pretty much everything by Amon Amarth, this song is what I imagine Vikings listened to as they strapped on their helmets and set out to pillage the shit out of some unsuspecting village. Also, the combination of rock, metal, and rockabilly is bad-ass, and singer Michael Poulsen’s got the croonery vocals of a Danish, tattooed Elvis Presley.
3. “Giants” – Anciients
You’re already thinking it, so I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: yes, one of the reasons why I love this song so much is because the title compensates for what I lack in height. BUT it’s also got one of the most commanding, “Look out – the cavalry has arrived!” intros I’ve ever heard.
4. “L’Enfant Sauvage” – Gojira
With a title that means, “The Wild Child” and a strange but beautiful technical death metal beat that you can actually strut down the mean streets to, how could you possibly go wrong?
5. “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” – AC/DC
Nothing says, “If you’re gonna keep pushing me, you deserve exactly what you get,” better than this song. Forget the Empire Records scene for a second (even though T and I will never ever forget it) and picture something a bit more foreboding – like you and and your best friend in a car, fueling each other’s rage as you head towards a stand-off with a gaggle of Silverback Apes. (Not that we did that or anything…)
6. “Gonna Raise Hell” – Cheap Trick
As fate would have it, the second year T and I went on our annual writing retreat, we added this song to our road trip playlist – and it came on just as we were pulling off the road and into the small town we claim as our own for two whole weeks of non-stop bromancing. We drove into that town like TITANS, I TELL YOU! TITANS! All because this song was doing wonders to our bravado.
7. “Machine” – Lions
Ever since I heard this song on the first episode of Sons of Anarchy and watched a bunch of bikers ride out in perfect formation towards a fire fight or some shit (“THERE WAS A FIREFIIIIIIIIGHT!”) while it played in the background, it’s been on my list of “instant bad-assity” fixes (even if this bad-ass is literally just sitting here on her ass, eating fish sticks and tater tots).
8. “Iron Horse/Born to Lose” – Motorhead
Just to be clear, I mean the 1977 version. Bold, heroic, and gallant in a “ride off into the darkness and face the great unknown” kind of way, Motorhead knows how motivate you and prepare you for a premature death at the same time: “On iron horse he flies! / On iron horse he gladly dies!” No sugarcoating over here, man. Proceed with caution.
9. “Passive” – A Perfect Circle
Really, it all boils down to one line that Maynard James Keenan screams so well: “You fucking disappoint me!” Fuckin’ a.
10. “The Ride of the Valkyries” – Richard Wagner
The ORIGINAL fight song. Obvsies.
Did I miss something? Have a suggestion for a future Mixtape Friday topic? Drop us a line, leave us a comment, or tweet @theladybromance and let me know!
Till next Friday,
Turn it up to 11!