The Florida Panthers currently have one of the NHL’s best goal songs in Jimmy Eat Wrld’s Sweetness. While I don’t think management has any plans to replace the song, it has been around for around four years, which the Panthers seem to rotate goal songs on a near half-decade basis. I hope that they don’t decide to replace Sweetness, but if Panthers management doesn’t feel like “spinning free with a little sweet and simple numbing me” anymore, then here are three songs I think they should consider to replace Sweetness:
Kickstart My Heart (Mötley Crüe)
I found it surprising that not one NHL team has their primary goal song be from one of the most intense bands of all time, Mötley Crüe. Before making this list, I knew that I had to include at least one Crue song (I’m sick of using the diaresis) on this list. Thinking about it, I thought of three songs from Motley Crue that could make this list, but for the sake of originality, I’ve decided to narrow it down to one entry per artist/group. The three finalists from Motley Crue were Wild Side, Kickstart my Heart and Dr. Feelgood. I immediately ruled out Wild Side due to some of its controversial lyrics (even though said controversial lyrics are only in like 10 seconds of the song).
Initially, I wanted to go with Dr. Feelgood, inspired by the scene from the Season 4 finale of Bones (great show by the way, watch it on prime), but after thinking about it, I thought the intensity of Kickstart my Heart was more suitable for a hockey atmosphere. You can take any part of this intense heart-romping jam that’s probably shaved five pounds off of me this summer to play as the goal song, whether it be the motorcycle rev opening and the intense first verse or the heart-pumping chorus.
Pros: Kickstart my Heart seems like the perfect song for an intense atmosphere of a hockey game, and it is one of those songs that can get anyone into the game. It has that advantage over Sweetness, where with Sweetness, you kinda gotta embrace it or it really only applies to major Panther fans, but Kickstart my Heart is a far more universal song that can apply to every fan in the building. This song is guaranteed to make all fans in the building to “kickstart my heart, give it a start”.
Cons: Kickstart my Heart, despite its name is one of those songs where if you get too much into it and don’t have the best health, it can literally have the antithetical intent and literally stop a heart. We don’t want to be stopping games to have to have an ambulance take out an over excited person suffering a heart attack. Motley Crue also doesn’t have the best reputation, I mean literally look at the opening scene of their Netflix biopic (Not gonna describe it here because it’s not PG). Also there is the religious conspiracy that the Crue are demonic or something, which is what they said about every rock band back then.
Summary: If you are gonna replace Sweetness, I’d likely go with this song. To the critics of using mainstream songs, Calgary literally uses TNT by AC/DC as their goal song. Personally this is my favorite on the list.
Free Bird (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Despite being nine minutes long, the best part of this flagship Lynyrd Skynyrd song is it’s epic guitar solo. The lyrics are interesting, but many find them forgettable compared to the guitar sequence. If this was to be used, it would likely be at Ronnie Van Zant’s “Lord help me, I can’t change. Lord I can’t change. Won’t you fly high, free bird, yeah.” lyric followed by Allen Collins’s iconic four-minute solo (of course the whole solo won’t play, I think most goal songs only play like 40 seconds of the song).
The guitar solo in Free Bird is an incredible adrenaline rush that rivals Kickstart my Heart, and as this meme goes:
Pros: Free Bird is a pretty iconic song, and Lynyrd Skynyrd is originally a Florida band (despite the misconception they are from Alabama due to [can’t make that joke] Sweet Home Alabama), so it would pay homage to a state band. The song is pretty well known, so I think most fans would adopt it relatively quickly.
Cons: Once again you got the mainstream complaint, but also the fact that the song is nearly fifty years old. Many younger fans (with awful music tastes) probably wouldn’t recognize the song, and a lack of lyrics may not get them out of their seats cheering.
Summary: Personally, I don’t think it would work that well. Goal songs thrive more off of lyrics, whereas Free Bird gets all of its energy from its guitar solo.
Don’t Stop Me Now (Queen)
One of the most popular bands of all time (and full disclosure my favorite band ever), Queen is already a favorite in many sports arenas. At any game you attend, it is almost a certainty you will hear the Brian May written We Will Rock You at some point or another (The Panthers usually play it after the first stoppage in play in the game). However it is the party-inspired, fast-paced, “two hundred degrees… traveling at the speed of light” Don’t Stop Me Now, written by Freddie Mercury that would be a better fit. Panthers co-owner Doug Cifu is a big fan of Queen, and I don’t think he’d mind if “the happiest song on earth” was used as the team’s celebratory goal song.
You can pick many songs from Queen’s impressive repertoire to use as a goal song, but I think Don’t Stop Me Now applies best. Bohemian Rhapsody (my favorite song ever) is six minutes long, and while it has it’s hard rock moments, I don’t think it has enough to be a goal song. Plus Rhapsody, like We Will Rock You, is far better suited to be a crowd warmer upper, not for goals. We Are the Champions seems way too tongue in cheek, especially if you score late in a game down 6-1 at home. Another One Bites the Dust was considered, but it just doesn’t feel right.
Pros: It is an incredibly happy uplifting song, more like Sweetness where you more or less want to dance to it, rather than a testosterone fueling blast like Kickstart or Free Bird. Don’t Stop Me Now also has the rock chops to go with it. Queen is popular enough that I think the younger part of the fanbase would know the song, which is what dragged down Free Bird a bit.
Cons: I think Queen is pretty picky with how their music is used, especially since Freddie Mercury’s untimely death. They aren’t as bad as the Eagles, but the band has a reputation for being very protective of their craft (they denied Rocky III from using Another One Bites the Dust, which basically catapulted Eye of the Tiger to mainstream fame). Also the song is literally about a drug trip from a party fueled frenzy.
Summary: I think Don’t Stop Me Now is a solid pick, but I’d probably go with Kickstart over it.
This probably won’t be the last time I make a list like this, because I’m sure I’ll do follow ups, but I wanted to open this one up for more public discussion before I go ahead and do that. Let me know what you think of the list, and the three songs. Should the Panthers replace Sweetness? If so, should they go with one of these songs or another one?