Photo: Courtesy of Luke Todd
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Panda is not just a game but an institution. The parties go all day, but there is something magical about the pre-game shindigs — they exist within a liminal space, a place of pure expectancy. The exhilaration of a win is not yet upon us, but neither is the disappointment of a loss. 

As such, the pre-game party can be anything. And like any party, it needs a killer soundtrack. Included below is one humble Arts and Culture Editor’s opinion of some nice music. Please don’t fight me. 

“Truth Hurts” by Lizzo

“Truth Hurts” will grace your ears on several occasions and you will be happy every time you hear it. The only banger that truly matters, this song will be received with as much enthusiasm as the Gee-Gees’ first touchdown. 

“Panda” by Desiigner

The reasons for this are obvious. 

“Circles” by Post Malone

Post Malone is an icon. “Circles” combines a dominating bassline with Malone’s signature sad-boy rap to create a tune both danceable and just forlorn enough to remind you that the good times won’t last — midterms, my friends, are upon us. Just lose yourself in that bass and live a life that Malone would approve of.

“Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus

This song, like the yeehaw lifestyle, will last forever. 

“High Horse” by Kacey Musgraves

Country music, despite the city-slicker’s opinion of it, is ubiquitous and, in my opinion, quite decent (hate emails can be sent to However, because anyone who pines for the country life knows never to bring it up at a party, the brave individual who just wants to feel at home will wisely choose to play “High Horse” because it is country in theme but retro-pop in sound. In this way it fulfills a similar cultural role to “Old Town Road” and will be received without much questioning. 

“Doin’ Time” by Lana Del Rey

Somebody at the block party is going to try to be cooler than everyone else but, like our country friend, also recognize that this is a bangers-only zone, and so will play “Doin’ Time” by Lana Del Rey. It’s a great song and a small milieu of people will have respect for whoever risked their frat-boy cool points by putting it on. 

“Don’t Call Me Angel” by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey

This song shouldn’t work, but does, somehow. The trinity of Grande, Cyrus and Del Rey seems both the ultimate expression of 2019 and something vaguely unholy. Despite the fact that the song feels like it’s tearing itself apart at the seams, it works. It works quite well, actually. 

“Highest in the Room” by Travis Scott

A banger by all measurements, but also chill. The song just has just enough chill-vibes to be palatable for that pre-8 a.m. drinking and makes an excellent song to get the day started. Transition to harder stuff as the day progresses. 

“Mr. Brightside” by The Killers

The Killer’s first single has never left the charts, at least in the United Kingdom. The megahit should be played at any gathering of two or more people. The tune is not only a great sing-along song — and singing definitely hypes up the crowd — but it is gentle preparation in the highly-unlikely zero percent chance that the Gee-Gees do not take home the Panda this year. 

“Back to Back” by Drake

We’re taking it home this year. Back to back wins mate.