If you’ve not seen it, Never Back Down is a 2008 martial arts film starring Sean Faris, Amber Heard, Cam Gigandet, and Djimon Hounsou. It was a major flop at the box office, drawing $41.6 million against a budget of $20 million. It didn’t fare any better critically, and currently holds a dismal 23 percent approval rating on Rotton Tomatoes. Still, if you’re a fan of fight movies and cliches, it’s worth a watch. It’s also got a soundtrack that will transport you straight back to the days when emo ruled the airwaves and Kanye West was still making decent music. Here’s how we rank all the songs from the Never Back Down soundtrack in order of greatness.
19. Anthem for the Underdog – 12 Stones
Anthem for the Underdog is the titular track from 12 Stones’ third album. Released as the album’s second single in 2008, it reached number 26 on the US Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.
18. Above and Below – The Bravery
The Bravery’s second album. The Sun and the Moon, might not have drawn the same positive reviews as the band’s debut, but it’s not without its moments. This moody rocker is one of the finest.
17. False Pretense – The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
It might have split the critics, but The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ debut album, Don’t You Fake It, is packed with big beats and emo hooks, with Face Down ranking among its most compelling tunes.
16. Wolf Like Me – TV on the Radio
Wolf Like Me became TV on the Radio’s most successful single in the US when it was released as the lead single to the album Return to Cookie Mountain, taking the band to number 37 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.
15. …To Be Loved – Papa Roach
..To Be Loved was released as the first single from Papa Roach’s fourth album, The Paramour Sessions. There’s a lot of screaming, a lot of rapping, and a lot of sounds you’d never hear this side of the 2010s, but if you still have a guilty passion for emo rock, consider it essential listening.
14. Time Won’t Let Me Go – The Bravery
The Bravery’s second contribution to the Never Back Down soundtrack is Time Won’t Let Me Go. Released as a single from the album The Sun and the Moon in March 2007, it failed to make the charts in the UK but managed to climb to number 10 on the US Billboard Hot Modern Rock Track chart.
13. Someday – Flipsyde
Someday didn’t do much in the charts on its release in 2005, but it earned huge exposure when it was later chosen by NBC as the theme song for their coverage of the 2006 Winter Olympics.
12. Face the Pain – Stemm
Stemm originally wrote Face The Pain for UFC 40 after UFC asked them to come up with a new theme song. After premiering at UFC 40 Vendetta: Tito Ortiz Vs Ken Shamrock in 2002, it eventually worked its way onto the Never Back Down soundtrack.
11. Headstrong – Trapt
Rated by Billboard as the most successful modern rock song of the 2000s, this hard-rocking number took Trapt to number one on both the Billboard Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock Tracks charts in 2003.
10. The Slam – TobyMac
The Never Back Down producers weren’t the only ones who thought TobyMac’s The Slam had merit. Since its release in 2004, it’s featured on a bevy of movies, commercials, and TV shows, including ads for Transporter 2, Aeon Flux, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Ohio Valley Wrestling star Matt Cappotelli even choose it as his entrance theme.
9. Crank That (Travis Barker Rock Remix) – Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em and Travis Barker
If you’ve ever been curious about the song behind one of the biggest dance crazes since the Macarena, check out this irresistibly catchy number from Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em’s debut studio album, souljaboytellem.com.
8. Lights Out – Breaking Benjamin
Dear Agony, Breaking Benjamin’s fourth studio album, was a major hit, reaching number 4 on the Billboard 200 and eventually certifying gold. Lights Out, the album’s second single, reached number 6 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart.
7. Orange Marmalade – Mellowdrone
Mellowdrone became something of a favorite with TV and movie producers in the early 2000s, with their songs featuring on everything from Project Runway to the horror movie Prom Night. Orange Marmalade from their album Box was the one that made the grade when it came to the Never Back Down soundtrack.
6. Rock Star – Chamillionaire & Lil Wayne
The film may have been a critical flop, but at least the soundtrack to Never Back Down gave us little gems like this beauty from Chamillionaire’s second studio album Ultimate Victory, which gave the raper a top ten hit in 2007.
5. Be Safe – The Cribs
Since featuring on The Cribs’ third studio album, Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, Be Safe has become a huge favorite with fans. Its success came as a surprise to the band, with bassist Gary Jarman telling NME, “It was a weird one. We were trying to be a bit more leftfield, but rather than it being this anonymous thing we can’t leave it out of the set.”
4. You Are Mine – Mutemath
Mutemath’s self-titled debut LP is an experimental box of treasures, crammed with fascinating stylistic flourishes and genre-hopping intrigue. You Are Mine ranks among its many memorable moments.
3. Teenagers – My Chemical Romance
Teenagers, the fourth and final single from My Chemical Romance’s third studio album, The Black Parade, drew rave reviews on its release in 2007. It only managed to reach number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100, but did better on the other side of the pond, reaching number 9 on the UK Singles Chart.
2. Under the Knife – Rise Against
Rise Against’s fourth studio album, The Sufferer & the Witness, drew rave reviews on its release in July 2006. Considering the strength of deep cuts like Under the Knife, it’s not hard to see why.
1. Stronger – Kanye West feat Daft Punk
Before he turned into tabloid fodder, Kanye West was one of the biggest and best talents in hip hop, as evidenced by this mighty collaboration with everyone’s favorite French electronic duo, Daft Punk.