Jay Baruchel, Canada’s most famous skinny white guy, grew up in an ice hockey family. “I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Montrealer, so the Montreal Canadiens are as close to a religion as I get,” he explains. After making a career playing adenoidal sidekicks in movies like Million Dollar Baby, Knocked Up, and Tropic Thunder, this month marks Baruchel’s debut as a screenwriter with Goon, a brutal comedy about an ice hockey enforcer, played by Seann William Scott. “The film is my love letter to a deeply misunderstood profession” says Baruchel. It also serves as a love letter to ice hockey fighting, the deeply misunderstood nexus of hot blood, cold ice, and steely nerves. Like any good love letter, this one comes accompanied by song. “A lot of the music I picked or wrote into the script,” says Baruchel. We asked him for the playlist that turns Baruchel into a brute, a killer, and an enforcer.
“CAN’T GET THE BEST OF ME” by Cypress Hill
In 2000, Cypress Hill released a two-disc concept album, Skull & Bones. Skull was hip hop; Bones was metal. “Can’t Get the Best of Me” is on Bones. It is just sort of an anthem to not being fucked with. It’s muscular, with a badass beat and a bass line that’s mean as balls. It stirs the blood in a huge way.
Operative Lyric: “My rhyme style make ‘em turn dropper / My concepts come sick like Dennis Hopper”
“YOUR FUCKIN’ HEAD SPLIT” by Necro
Necro is an amazing New York rapper. He’s been one of my favorite artists for over a decade, and I just wrote my favorite music into the script. Judging by the name, you can fill in the blanks. If “Can’t Get The Best of Me” is an anthem for not being fucked with, this is a love letter to fucking with people.
Operative Lyric: “If you’re inhibited I’ll piss in your syphilis. Incubus.”
“MARCH OF CAMBREADTH” by Heather Alexander
Let’s switch gears to traditional Celtic music. There is ten days worth of Celtic music on my computer. It’s impossible to hear this music and not want to fight a war. This one is by a transsexual named Heather Alexander. Now she performs as Alexander James Adams. It’s incredibly simple and has just amazing words. When I march out to my doom and death, this is what I want playing.
Operative Lyric: “Axes flash, broadsword swing / Shining armour’s piercing ring / Horses run with polished shield / Fight those bastards till they yield”
“IMMIGRANT SONG” by Led Zeppelin
This is one of the most badass rock ‘n’ roll songs ever recorded in the history of recording anything. Led Zep found a way of condensing all of the hammer of the gods into a two-and-a half-minute rock song. I’d put it toe- to-toe with anything anybody’s ever done. Honestly, this song has more heart and balls and filth to it than anything anybody’s recording now. I love it.
Operative Lyric: “We come from the land of the ice and snow / From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow”
“WE WILL ROCK YOU” by Queen (Live In Montreal)
This song has two distinct versions: the chant, which you hear at stadia, and the fast one, which is more rare. But the fast version— and the best version is from their Live in Montreal album—is a precursor to speed metal. It’s just theatrical, muscular, and operatic as any of their other shit, but with this crazy purity of intention.
Operative Lyric: “You got blood on your face / You big disgrace / Waving your banner all over the place”
“BRING YOUR WHOLE CREW” by DMX
No getting-pumped music would be complete without at least one song by DMX. All I’ll say about this one is that it starts with the immortal words, “I’ve got blood on my hands and there’s no remorse. I’ve got blood on my dick ‘cause I fucked a corpse.” The first time I heard that I thought, “Holy fuck. That is a real point of view.”
Operative Lyric: See above.
“DESTROY 2000 YEARS OF CULTURE” by Atari Teenage Riot
When I was 15 and heavily into video games, I could not have possibly found a more fun hook to mouth the words to on the bus than this song by ATR. It is just so much meaner than anything on the radio or on television right now.
Operative Lyric: “Your freedom to speak is a freedom to lie / Whatever it takes to change…I’m up for it!”
“MORE HUMAN THAN HUMAN” by White Zombie
This song combines synth with the sound of a porn star moaning. One thinks of these as part and parcel of industrial music, but Zombie started all that. Also, the name: “More Human Than Human.” What the fuck does that even mean? It makes me feel faceless hatred with no name. I love it.
Operative Lyric: “One more life, fucker / I ain’t done, yeah”
“ULTRA” by KMFDM
There’s a theory that KMFDM stands for Kill Mother Fuckin’ Depeche Mode. The group was industrial when industrial was the new hipster music. I first heard this song as musical accompaniment to a trailer for Ghost in the Shell. You take KMFDM and put it to anime, and it’s just dork semen.
Operative Lyric: “Keep it away from the fire unless you want it to burn/It burns, wildfire / Give to me.”
“ENGEL” by Rammstein
Whistling is hard to do in a badass song, but this chorus by German industrial band Rammstein manages to use a whistle without sounding pussy. It embodies everything Rammstein is: grandiose, epic, ridiculous, and just badass as fuck.
Operative Lyric: “Erst wenn die Wolken schlafengehn / Kann man uns am Himmel sehn”
“SET FIRE TO THE FACE ON FIRE” by The Blood Brothers
The Blood Brothers sound like children’s television characters on speed. This song starts with a battle cry of “Fire, fire, fire” in a very high falsetto. They have no business being as heavy as this for being hipster indie rock kids, but they are.
Operative Lyric: “I’m drinking cement like it’s going out of style, style, style/Those cold hooks, cemetery claws / Raking out the infant’s jaws”
“MACHINE HEAD” by Bush
I’m going to end on a really lame sort of mid-nineties white boy note with this one. But I guarantee you there are a bunch old dudes right now who play guitar for a living and the first song they learned was this one. I’m not entirely sure what he’s singing about, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t imagine myriad sure what he’s singing about, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t imagine myriad scenarios where I was marching into the Octagon to the sound of this song. scenarios where I was marching into the Octagon to the sound of this song.
Operative Lyric: “Deaf dumb and thirty / Starting to deserve this / Leaning on my conscience wall”
Photo by Brian Bowen Smith
Illustrated by Benjamin Stumpf