I got my first real Playstation. Bought it at the five-and-dime. Played it 'till my fingers bled. It was the summer of '99.
What a time to be alive. Limp Bizkit swept the nation with their breakout hit, "Nookie," Slick Willy Clinton was wrapping up his wild and crazy decade as president, and skateboarding legend Anthony "Tony" Hawk released his digital shredding sim, which allowed lazy kids to hit the half-pipe from the comfort of their couches while listening to what is perhaps the most epic video game soundtrack ever.
Here, we've definitively ranked those classic tunes for your sentimental rail-kissing enjoyment.
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10. "Vilified" — Even Rude
This "song" sucks. Plain and simple. In an era where rap-rock inexplicably ruled, this song by Even Rude somehow knocked the whole genre down a few pegs. When this came on, I'd just hit mute, and continue collecting video tapes in Chicago in stone cold silence.
9. "(Screamer) Nothing To Me" — Speedealer
For all intents and purposes, this should be the perfect THPS song: it's fast, loud, the guy who is singing it is probably sweaty, and it makes no fucking sense at all. But this is one of those songs that just compounded all the frustrating parts of the game into one sonic sandwich. I remember one moment, while trying to land an elusive 900 in the warehouse, this song came on and shot my nerves. I've hated it ever since.
8. "Euro-Barge" — The Vandals
Musically, this song doesn't have much going for it. But upon a closer inspection (which tended to happen when you hear the song 40,000 times) you realize the lyrics are about the singer telling people from Europe that they smell, and to stay away from him. For an 11-year-old, this moment of xenophobia was groundbreaking. I've hated smelly foreigners ever since.
7. "Here And Now" — The Ernies
This song had a very promising opening riff. The kind of riff that makes you think, "Okay, I can definitely collect all these letters and spell S-K-A-T-E in no time." But like most things in life, it ends up letting you down. You end up face first on the floor of Roswell, missing a "T," and with this stupid song by the stupid Ernies blaring over your head.
6. "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" — Primus
Initially, whenever this joint came on, I'd restart my run. But it grew on me, like many great songs do. Objectively, this is probably one of the best songs on the list, but I have to deduct some points because it gets really fucking annoying when you're a little kid trying to (unsuccessfully) land a 540 switch method with a digital Chad Muska.
5. "Cyco Vision" — Suicidal Tendencies
This song rocked hard. So hard. Maybe too hard, actually. This is the point in the game where you put on a grimace, turn it up to 11, and nose-grind the shit out of every rail in sight while screaming "CYCO VISIONNNNNN," parents be damned! Until they pull the plug on your system and enroll you in therapy. Which, um, definitely didn't happen to me.
4. "New Girl" — Suicide Machines
"Well I can't wait to tell you all about..." from the opening salvo, you know you are about to have a good run. Like, a nollie 360 impossible OVER THE RAMP with your eyes closed good. It's quick. It's fun. It's bouncy. It's everything THPS is, and your girlfriend is not.
3. "Police Truck" — The Dead Kennedys
I know. It's the Dead Kennedys. And this should be higher. It's a really great song, but isn't it kind of going against the anti-authoritarian message DK stood for their entire career? Can you imagine the pierced faces of the band's diehard fans in the '80s if they knew one day their beloved anti-heroes would be featured in a video game played primarily by pre-teens? Maybe I'm a little cynical. It's not as bad as Guitar Hero...I guess.
2. "Committed" — Unsane
When this song blared through the crackling speakers of my '90s "basement TV," my head started bobbing, my shoulders started rocking, and overall, I was ready to tear up the school, collect S-K-A-T-E, and kickflip-to-manual-to-varial-to-nose-manual my way to middle school immortality. I honestly wasn't going to put Committed this high on the list, but after a quick re-listen, I fell back in love with Unsane, which is just a fancy way of saying insane, which is how this song still makes me feel.
1. "Superman" — Goldfinger
"So here I am doing everything I can, holding on to what I am, pretending I'm a superman..." Admit it. You can still sing every single word. When looking back on THPS, no song ollied into our consciousness harder than this gem by Goldfinger. Is it just a piece of shitty '90s ska tune? Sure. But it was our shitty '90s ska tune. And it kept us playing well into the night. Way past our bedtime, and straight into manhood.
We salute you Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, for introducing us to good music, and making us juuuust a little bit more aggressive in the process.
Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Supercompressor. Writing this story made him cry. Follow him @WilFulton.
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