Monday, June 18, 2007

Superhero Songs

I've been meaning to talk about this for a while, as I'm sure that some of you may appreciate it.
There's an underappreciated subgenre of modern music which stretches through multiple genres of music - from Classical to Hip Hop, from Country to Metal. That's right, I'm talking about songs about or inspired by superheroes.

I got the idea to research this topic way back when Superman Returns was released. My wife and I went to see it in IMAX 3D, but unfortunately arrived after all but the front rows had been filled. IMAX 3D is a wonderful idea, but it really doesn't work if you're so close to the screen that you can't take in the entire picture at once.
So we stayed for another showing, and this time we sat in the back row. It was so much more enjoyable that way.

During the break between showings, I noticed that every single song being played on the theater's speaker system concerned superheroes in some manner. Sure, some were only cursory references, but it still intrigued me. So, after doing some research, I've compiled a list of songs based or inspired, or at least referencing superheroes in some manner. It's by no means definitive. And the association may be tenuous at best for a number of the songs. But as I've listened to various of them on constant repeat at one point or another (right now, I've been listening to Danny Elfman's brilliant theme for the Flash TV show from back in 1990-1991), I figured that now would be as good a time as any to share some of my playlist with you.

1. The Flash - TV Theme - Danny Elfman
2. The Ballad of Barry Allen - Jim's Big Ego (led by Jim Infantino, co-creator Carmine's nephew)
3. Arthur Curry - Ookla the Mok
4. Surfing with the Alien - Joe Satriani (a Silver Surfer song, made obvious by the Surfer's presence on the album cover)
5. Back to Shall-Bal - Joe Satriani
6. Revolution - Aimee Allen (theme to the short-lived tv series, Birds of Prey)
7. There There - Radiohead (opening music for the unaired pilot of Global Frequency - goddamn WB!)
8. Save Me - Evanescence (from the Daredevil soundtrack, notable for the fact that the video used clips from the film)
9. I Am the Law - Anthrax (Judge Dredd)
10-11. Iron Man - Black Sabbath; Ozzy Osbourne (both versions. In the aftermath of Civil War, the Iron Man in the song seems much closer to the Iron Man in the comics than ever before. Could this be an indication of where Marvel intends to take the character?)
12. Hero - Chad Kroeger (from the Spider-Man soundtrack)
13. Sanctuary - Darling Violetta (the Angel theme song. Several remixes of this song exist - try to find the original.)
14-15. Sunshine Superman - Donovan; Jewel (sure, lots of songs make mention of a Superman, but this one mentions Green Lantern too! The remake is pretty good.)
16. Superman - Five for Fighting
17. Save Me - Remy Zero (Smallville's theme song)
18. Thor (The Powerhead) - Manowar (maybe not the Thor from comics, but come on: "Thor! The Mighty. Thor! The Brave." How could I not include that?)
19. Real World - Matchbox 20 (he gets "this funky high under a yellow sun". If that's not a Superman reference, then I don't know what is.)
20-21. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - TV Theme - Nerf Herder; The Breeders (The Breeders' version can be found on the BTVS - The Ultimate Soundtrack disc.)
22. Batman and Robin - Snoop Dogg
23. Superman - The Clique; R.E.M. (also used for the theme to the release of Lotus' R5 devlopers' pack years back. I actually prefer the original version.)
24. Jimmy Olsen's Blues (Pocket Full of Kryptonite) - Spin Doctors
25. In the Garage - Weezer (mentions Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler)
26. Ode to a Superhero - Weird Al Yankovic (his Spider-Man/Piano Man parody)
27. Psychotron - Megadeth (full of refences to Deathlok)
28. Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof - Travis Tritt (another Superman song. Sure, I hate country, but...)
29. Save Me - Aimee Mann (from the Magnolia soundtrack. It has a single reference to Superman - obviously the superhero, as he's preceded by a mention of Peter Pan. And it's a great song from a great film.)
30. Kryptonite - Three Doors Down
31. Superbird - Country Joe and the Fish (makes mention of Superman, The Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man)
32. Superman - Crash Test Dummies
33. Superman's Dead - Our Lady Peace (probably not the Superman, but a great song nonetheless. And if not for the Superman, would any popular songs make reference to Superman?)
34. Magneto and the Titanium Man - Paul McCartney and Wings
35. The NEXTWAVE Theme Song!!!

That's just a selection. They're not all good songs, but they all certainly qualify - as the properties they reference have all been featured in comic books. More later.

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