League of Legends (LoL) and American rapper Lil Nas X released the music video for the 2022 LoL World Championship anthem, Star Walkin’, on Friday (23 September) and it’s already receiving mixed reactions from the LoL community.
Frankly, I don’t blame them.
The chorus is quite catchy and can give you last song syndrome, but then, as soon as you expect that hype beat to drop — you’re hit with a slower, almost ballad-like verse.
The song also lacks a climax and that powerful punch afterwards, along with a beat or a line in the lyrics that makes most LoL players (pro and casual alike) feel like warriors on the Summoner’s Rift.
Don’t get me wrong, the entire song was nice to listen to.
It’s modern and upbeat, with a chorus that’s easy to follow and remember. It feels like a song you’d like to listen to while going out for a long drive, going to the gym, or even going clubbing.
I’d even go on a limb and say it’s a pretty good chill song you can hear anywhere.
But that’s exactly what the problem is.
The song caters to a wider audience, but fails to connect with the people it’s meant for: the LoL community.
The verses barely make any reference to LoL except for one mention of the word Legends, instead talking about someone who has experienced a lot of hate and prejudice and is brushing off all the negativity to prove them wrong.
Except for the “proving them wrong” part, nothing else connects to the LoL climb.
Some words from the lyrics even had to be censored, with certain words like the 'n-word' and 'condom' presenting a problem to LoL’s supposedly PG audience.
And why would a Worlds song need to have a line related to someone’s dad not wearing a condom anyway?
The chorus, however, seems to fit the competition, with the line “Don’t ever say it’s over if I’m breathin’” being a common theme to many teams ready to show what they’re made of and eventually fighting tooth-and-nail to climb all the way to the top.
Interestingly enough, this is the first Worlds song that LoL developer Riot Games didn’t have as much input in, with its producers being Cirkut, Omer Fendi, and Lil Nas X.
And perhaps that’s something that the collab could have greatly benefited from.
Another blow to the song was the music video.
Riot’s been known for animations that are on point, but the lyrics and beat seemed quite disjointed from the song's theme.
When I think of the title “Star Walkin',” I was expecting to see stars and galaxy-themed animation (Aurelion Sol, anyone?).
It would have been cool to see the animated versions of our favourite LoL pros face off for a bit while headed for the stars or something.
Instead, we’re met with very few and very slow Gundam-esque fight scenes featuring pretty cool Mecha skins for Thresh and Rell.
The music also barely paid homage to the previous winners (except perhaps bits for Tian "Meiko" Ye of EDward Gaming and a fan wearing a Faker jersey), and just showed tons of spectators wearing jerseys for different popular players.
Maybe if the animation was more in sync with the song and dropped a lot of LoL easter eggs, the reception of the song as a Worlds Anthem would have been better.
Mixed reactions from the LoL community
Twitter exploded with mixed reactions from LoL fans and personalities, with some loving the new theme and others not feeling the song’s hype.
Former Team Liquid star player, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, admitted that he was a Lil Nas X fan and said that he really liked the song.
LoL Championship Korea caster Maurits “Chronicler” Meesun said in a tweet that he believed that the song was “going to outscale a fair amount of the other ones”, even expecting the live version of Star Walkin’ "to absolutely slap".
LoL Championship Series (LCS) caster Julian “Pastrytime” Carr also called Star Walkin’ ia “slapper” and that he would “not hear otherwise”.
This is actually unreal. pic.twitter.com/M4ZyPWmDLR
— Church of Chovy (@chovygoat) September 22, 2022
LoL Streamer and former C9 coach Nick "LS" De Cesare tweeted that the song sounded much better at 1.5x or 1.25x speed.
Meanwhile, many others expressed disappointment with the song, saying they “didn’t feel the hype".
This included G2 Esports jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski, who said that it “didn’t get [him] hyped as usual".
This year Worlds song didn't get me as hyped as usual🥲
— Marcin Jankowski (@G2Jankos) September 22, 2022
Cloud9 Coach Marius "Veigar v2" Aune, also said that it was “not a bad song but […] doesn’t give Worlds vibes".
LoL European Championship (LEC) caster Aaron "Medic" Chamberlain echoed similar sentiments, saying it “slaps as a song", but said it lacked 'the fight' as an anthem for Worlds.
LoL Pro League (LPL) caster Jake "Hysterics" Osypenko compared Star Walkin to 2018 Worlds Anthem Rise, saying that the 2018 song had a "huge punch" that was missing from the 2022 one.
Even Chrissy Constanza, the singer of the Worlds 2019 song, Phoenix, chimed in and said that the song didn’t feel like a Worlds anthem.
"It's a good song on it's own, for sure," Costanza wrote on Twitter, "but doesn't feel like a Worlds anthem to me."
I generally love everything Riot does, but I didn’t feel the hype this year. It’s a good song on its own for sure, but doesn’t feel like a Worlds anthem to me. What do you think of it?
— Chrissy Costanza (@ChrissyCostanza) September 22, 2022
What do you think of the 2022 Worlds Anthem?
This year's LoL world championship tournament will kick off on Thursday (29 September) and will conclude on 5 November.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee. Views expressed are the writer's own.