AUDIO FANFICTION: LIFE A QUARTER MILE AT A TIME

The Fambly is back with the ninth film in the main franchise and the 11th film that takes place in the Fast universe. In honor of the release of F9: The Fast Saga, today’s mixtape features 11 tracks inspired by the series. While some are from the soundtracks, others simply encapsulate the series’ themes. Each was chosen with specific reasons in mind; from great electronic ditties to hip-hop bangers to a classic punk gem about family, the mix accelerates from genre to genre from track to track, sometimes as fast as Dom passing his opponent on the final straightaway. While the songs don’t all directly correlate with one specific film, they all represent what it means to live life one quarter mile at a time. 

“5 Year Plan” by H2O 

We kick it off with a central theme of the franchise: “My friends look out for me like family.” This classic hardcore punk anthem is a surefire fave of the crew. Once you’re part of Dom’s family, you’re family for life. 

“The Fun Lovin’ Criminal” by Fun Lovin’ Criminals

Like the first song, this one doesn’t appear on any of the films’ soundtracks, but encapsulates the outlaw crew and their attitude in many ways. Not to mention, it’s just a fantastically fun track from my adolescence that far too many folks either don’t remember or don’t know about. Stick ’em up, punk.

“Breathe” by The Prodigy (featuring RZA)

This Rene LaVice retooling of an already great Prodigy track features RZA spitting bars over great electronic beats. On the soundtrack for the new film, I’m assured by Cinapse’s Jay Tyler that it is simply THE song for F9. Even without seeing the film yet, I can already feel how well it would work in a Fast film. And aside from all of that, it is honestly just a pretty great track.

“Tokyo Drift” by Teriyaki Boyz

This iconic beat is an essential part of the 3rd installment in the franchise, also named Tokyo Drift. The Asian influence in this one works really well to incorporate the importance of Han in this franchise and the rest of the cast of Better Luck Tomorrow (a film that takes place in the Fast universe, serving somewhat as an origin story for Han). Also… Justice for Han!

“Nobody Speak” by DJ Shadow (featuring Run the Jewels)

While not part of the films’ soundtracks, the irreverent attitude of Run the Jewels, coupled with Shadow’s awesome beat, is perfect for the Fast films. Shadow has several other tracks on the soundtrack, but this one is simply one of my absolute favorite DJ Shadow songs of all time. This track feels like a big middle finger to all of the people that think they can get over on Dom and his family.

“Omen” by The Prodigy

Choosing a second Prodigy song to appear on this list was inevitable, but deciding which one was difficult. There are several on the soundtracks and many that aren’t but still really feel appropriate. This one is in the latter category but could easily have been on any of the films’ soundtracks. The thumping beat is a perfect backdrop to score a racing scene, a chase, or any of the numerous action-packed scenes throughout the series.

“Six Days – Remix” by DJ Shadow (featuring Mos Def)

A second Prodigy song? Yup. A second Shadow song? Also, yup. These artists simply write music that fits what’s going on in this series. This song also appears on the Tokyo Drift soundtrack and is played during a truly great scene. The hip-hop sensibilities of the series call for any Fast mixtape to include multiple unique hip-hop tracks and this one is perfect.

“We Own It” by 2 Chainz with Wiz Khalifa

The first Khalifa track on the mix is here to keep that hip-hop feel going for a bit longer before the mix takes a little turn. The verses on this one are strong and the beat has a nice heavy feel with a groovy flow – in other words, it’s a banger. “I ride or die for mine.”

“Open Road Song” by Eve 6

Any mix that I’ve made that has anything to do with driving since I was a teenager seems to include this ’90s alternative jam. Eve 6 is underappreciated, in my opinion… but, especially this song. Everyone has their driving songs and this is one of my faves. For a franchise known for its driving scenes, it felt important to include this one.

“See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa (featuring Charlie Puth)

Wiz’s second track is a feel-good hit with some bittersweetness attached for Fast fans. The song is played in Furious 7 while the final scenes featuring Paul Walker are rolling. In the film, Brian is still alive but is fully retired from the family business as a promise to his wife and kids. Sadly, this writing decision is fueled by the real-life loss of Paul Walker, which still stings for a lot of fans of the franchise. The song here is an uplifting one, though, and a great way to begin wrapping up the mixtape.

“Can You Get to That” by Funkadelic

For me, this song just feels like one that Dom, Letty, and the entire crew would be listening to while grilling and drinking Coronas at the family picnic. I feel like the record Maggot Brain and this particular era of Funkadelic would be a family favorite for events like that. I don’t why, it just feels like their kind of music to chill to. And it’s a perfect closer for this edition of Audio Fanfiction: the Fast and Furious mixtape, entitled “Life: A Quarter Mile at a Time.”

★★★

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