Some things aren’t meant to last forever – summer included. Every August, we trade the shore and tan lines for college towns and yard lines.
It’s a bittersweet deal, really.
Yet the roar of a parking lot or field on a gameday morning – college or professional – fosters a buzz like perhaps nothing else. The tailgate is a delicate craft. It requires preparation, the right company and timeliness. But executed correctly, it can be the time of your life.
Here is the latest and final “Powerful Playlist” of 2022, curated to get tailgaters from the early morning wakeups to the pregame toast.
Curator Note: The playlist blends from pop to country to rock.
1. “good day” – mike.
Waking up early on the weekend mostly sucks. However, when it’s gameday, it’s a “good day.” Mike.’s feel-good new single is a great track to kick off the day as you take in your morning brew or dart out on the deck.
2. “country anywhere” – mike. & Skeez
We have back-to-back mike. songs here to begin the playlist. In part, it’s simply because of how good of a song this is – down to the cover art. Skeez lends some vocals to this wavy hip-hop-country-infused piece.
It’s just about making the most of wherever you are, and that’s really what tailgating is all about.
3. “I Hate Alabama” – Conner Smith
Made for college gamedays, Conner Smith’s “I Hate Alabama” is the ideal song to jam en route to your tailgate. At its core, it’s a country breakup song pointed toward college football’s perennial powerhouse.
Smith’s single is chill enough for an early morning commute but blends into an upbeat chorus, putting you in the right mood to enjoy the day.
4. “Crushin It’” – Brad Paisley
West Virginia’s pride Brad Paisley has often been overlooked due to the mass success similar country artists Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith had simultaneously. However, his slept-on 2015 song, “Crushin It,” is the perfect party-starter.
Paisley’s record swiftly reminds us that “every weekend has a weekend.”However, the clever lyrics in the song’s bridge make it a unique listen fit for a tailgate.
5. “Should’ve Known Better Days” – Cooper Alan
Cooper Alan is an upcoming singer/songwriter with arguably the best voice of any young country artist. Alan’s 2020 song reflects on his wild times at the University of North Carolina. He explains how his “Should’ve Known Better Days” – like when he got arrested for a fake I.D. or got in a fight with a bouncer – made him better.
It’s a deep cut that probably not many will know at your pregame, but it’s sure to keep the party going with its live-performance feel.
6. “Whiskey Glasses” – Morgan Wallen
For every deep cut, you have to throw out an absolute banger that’ll get everybody sing along. That’s exactly what Morgan Wallen’s hit “Whiskey Glasses” is.
The now-iconic 2018 song jump-started Wallen’s career, and it can do the same as game time approaches.
7. “When It Rains, It Pours” – Luke Combs
Here’s another crowd-pleaser of a song. What made Luke Combs’ 2016 “When It Rains, It Pours” triple-platinum certified is the same thing that still makes it beloved today; it’s fun. It’s about a guy whose down on his luck until one good thing happens, leading to another.
Brilliant storytelling, approachable lyrics and some lyrics that make you laugh – this track truly has it all and will keep vibes high.
8. “Teenage Dirtbag” – Wheatus
If there is only one song you take away from this playlist, let it be Wheatus’ 2001 “Teenage Dirtbag.” It’s a bit eccentric but truly tells a unique and easy-to-follow story. It’s capped with an absolutely electric chorus that just makes people happy.
9. “Thunderstruck” – AC/DC
I’ve always tried to avoid cliché selections in my playlists. But AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” is practically a tailgate requirement. If you’re of age, you can play the drinking game along with it or use it as a final toast before kickoff.
Remember to take it in if you’re tailgating America’s game this fall. The marching band rolling in, the flags waiving high and the company you keep are all worth cherishing. Make the music you listen to the same by selecting your own final track for this playlist.