Turns out we're getting a new installment of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater video game franchise for our shiny new game consoles later this year. Activision recently announced the first edition in 13 years and leaked some gameplay screenshots. According to Polygon, we can expect Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 to feature modern skateboarders like Nyjah Huston, Riley Hawk (!), Aaron "Jaws" Homoki, Ishod Wair, Andrew Reynolds, Lizzie Armanto and others.
As everyone who's anyone well knows, a huge part of the Pro Skater series has been the impeccably curated in-game soundtracks. The original THPS was highlighted by Goldfinger's "Superman," Suicidal Tendencies' "Cyco Vision," and a handful of other songs that, for some people, immediately bring to mind imagery of trying to jump far enough to grab the hidden tape on the "School" level.
Pro Skater 2 followed suit with the likes of Rage Against The Machine, Bad Religion, Lagwagon and Millencolin. Basically, the THPS series has always been great at putting together skate-punk soundtracks that jive extremely well with the act of trying to pull off a 1080 on a virtual halfpipe.
It's a no-brainer that Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 will need a great soundtrack, but plenty has changed in punk rock since THPS4 graced gaming consoles in 2002. So to help out the game-makers, we've decided to compile a soundtrack for them!
Fat Wreck Chords, the record label started by NOFX's Fat Mike, has been a major player in the world of skate punk for 25 years now. Their compilations were extremely influential, and they released music by Good Riddance, Descendents, Propagandhi, Less Than Jake, Against Me! and plenty other iconic bands.
We kick off our proposed Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 soundtrack with the opening track from the Flatliners' Dead Language, which Fat Wreck released in 2013. The song takes a minute to get going, but once it does, it's an all-out barrage of well-written punk.
This game's going to require a song that is generally just insane, and letlive. is going to provide that for us. The Los Angeles post-hardcore act's intense live show is really well reflected on its latest album, The Blackest Beautiful, and "The Dope Beat" is a good example of the band's ability to mix a bunch of different genres while remaining straightforwardly aggressive.
PUP was one of the best surprises of 2014. The Canadian band released their self-titled LP through SideOneDummy Records last spring, and it became one of the more critically acclaimed punk records of the entire year. The lead single from that record was "Reservoir," a noisy, raucous song that manages to be unfairly catchy at the same time.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues was last year's most celebrated punk album for more than a few reasons, so Against Me! fits right in along our soundtrack with a banger in the form of "Fuckmylife666." The album's title track would also be a great choice, and leaving the Gainesville natives out of the mix would just feel wrong.
Less Than Jake were a mild fixture on video game soundtracks throughout the mid-2000s, as ska-punk was having its moment. They were featured on NHL 2004, which is one of the greatest soundtracks ever, and it feels appropriate to inject THPS5 with some ska.
"Jump" comes from LTJ's most recent LP, See The Light, which incidentally was also released by Fat Wreck Chords. We'd also accept an earlier Less Than Jake track like Losing Streak's "Automatic," Hello Rockview's "Help Save the Youth of America From Exploding" or Anthem's "Plastic Cup Politics."
The Minneapolis alt-hip hop collective Doomtree is well known for blending genres at will—and with a half-dozen or more extremely talented rappers, producers and DJs on their team, it's easy to see how so many different influences can seep through.
Punk and hardcore are included amongst those influences, and you can get a taste of that in "My Own Nation" from their most recent LP All Hands. The track rarely takes a second to breathe, and seems to fit into the mix perfectly; group member P.O.S. has more than a few acceptable songs on his solo efforts as well.
Fastball was very much a band that existed in the '90s and, while they released an album in 2009, should probably just stay confined to the '90s. "Sooner Or Later" isn't a great song, but it's an honorary addition to this soundtrack due to its important appearance in the Disney Channel original movie Brink!, which will be acknowledged and appreciated by people in their early- to mid-20s.
Four Year Strong's most recent release, a five-track EP titled Go Down In History, pretty much identifies the best parts of the "easycore" subset of pop-punk. What that means, in short, is that it's perfect for the Warped Tour, it's perfect for banging your head to, and it's a no-brainer for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5.
The eventual (real) version of this soundtrack will have to incorporate older tracks as well, so we figured it makes sense to end on a pop-punk classic. It woulda been easy to choose "Come Out and Play" from Smash, but "The Kids Aren't Alright" just feels right for the THPS franchise.
Got a great song that you think should be represented on the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 soundtrack? Let us know.