The Savage Animal 12.04.13: Top 20 Overused Songs in Movies/TV (10-1)
Posted by Mikey MiGo on 12.04.2013
From Jimi Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" and Drowning Pool's "Bodies" to Green Day's "Good Riddance" and more, 411's Mikey MiGo concludes his look at the top 20 overused songs in movies & TV with #10 - 1!
"Outgrowing your Heros": Growing up sucks. Being young and in the moment is great, but being forced to reflect back and think of all the stuff between the Point A's to Point B's can be a little disconcerting. Things just change. You look back and something's are just not the same. Movies that you used to love aren't as great as you remembered. The bands you liked aren't quite as amazing and impactful as they were at another point in your life. Certain hobbies go to the wayside as each year passes. You evolve, you grow, and you become a new person over and over again.
Sometimes you outgrow your heroes.
That's where old age and "maturity" kick in. The things that mattered to you yesterday won't matter tomorrow so just make today the best day possible. I'm not writing here to get all existential and hippy-dippy. I'm just looking at this whole transition with gloomy eyes.
It sucks when you have that moment where you not only realize that your hero is human but come to terms with the fact that they're kind of lame, kind of hypocritical, and mostly all hype. It sucks. When you're a kid you look up to cartoon characters, super heroes, athletes, and things like that. Slowly and surely, they all either get outgrown or they eventually let you down.
For me personally, there are a few that stand out. The first that comes to mind is Michael Jordan. I was a Bulls fan at the perfect age and moment to experience the man's magical basketball playing skills. He is easily the best of all time. The problem is that despite his skillset, he's not all that of an amazing person. He doesn't seem to be all that charismatic now and in retrospect always had a boring personality. He entertained me on the court for years, but other than that not so much. Even though the movie Space Jam was good, Jordan was still really wooden and monotone in his acting. He would also go on to make annoying Hanes commercials, overprice his shoes, grow a Hitler mustache, and let's face it… scandal galore! The rumor that he didn't "retire and go to baseball" for that season and a half, it's said he "might have been" suspended on the DL by the league for gambling. Sadly, it makes sense but I hope I'm wrong.
Then there's Shawn Michaels, the greatest professional wrestler of all time. He was so damn cool when I was a kid. He rocked his weird leather outfits, his mullet, and still put on the best matches of anyone EVER. As he got older he got lamer. I know he's now a religious man, which is perfectly fine, but he's gotten lame. He looks weaker and smaller, his mic skills are predictable, his promos are like broken records, and his act is just tired. He over sells on the mic and in the ring, which looks ridiculous when you're not backing up the bumps with the same intensity and magic as he did in the mid-90s. He stopped having that controversial edge he used to have. His rebellious "anything can happen" personality disappeared and was replaced with a wholesome, contrived, and dorky old man. I'm always going to say he's my favorite of all time because he is, but the problem is when he shows up on RAW with a lot of camouflage on just to cut some kind of overly-serious promo that'll only help Triple H get over whatever he's doing at the time. That's not the Shawn Michaels I cried with when he achieved his ‘boyhood dream'.
And the final "outgrown hero" of mine I'll ramble about today is Trent Reznor. Don't get it twisted; Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails is my favorite "band" of all time. The music, lyrics, and visuals are always going to be part of my very being. The only tattoo I've ever seriously considered getting has always been the classic NIN boxed logo. I'm been a huge supporter of everything Trent has put out. The problem is that I've simply drifted away from things. I missed the latest Lollapalooza show and he won't be around Chicago anytime soon so I'm not all that excited about the recent work. The stuff that was put out as "internet only releases" didn't feel as impactful to my life as I would have hoped. I don't know what it is, but things have really changed. He's still taking risks and making great music, but there seems to be a bit of a substance problem. The problem here is that it lacks substance. Outside of like three or four songs, I've not been really engaged in new NIN in years. This latest release is good, but the fact that it's on a major label irks me. The music is in my ears and that's all that matters, but I'm rubbed the wrong way here. What it feels like, and I REALLY REALLY hope I'm wrong and full of shit here, is that Trent put the new album out on the label because it's the same label that put out his and his wife's project "How to Destroy Angels". It almost seems like a "you wash my hand, I'll wash yours" type of thing. That just doesn't sit right with me after all these years of Trent telling his fans and the world that the era of labels are over, how to self release, and all of that stuff. This isn't the only reason of my drift apart from NIN. It's just the most recent thing that made me go "Hey! Wait a minute!"
And that's what happens. You get that "Hey! Wait a minute!" moment sometimes and things make less sense. Those connects are lost. I still appreciate Jordan, Michaels, and Reznor and would possibly cry like a little girl in their presence, but it's through different eyes, older eyes.
Top 20 Over-Used Songs in Movies/TV (10-1)
"Rinse and Repeat-peat-peat." The idea here is that certain songs are used in movies and television more than others. That's perfectly fine and understandable. Trends and favorites will dictate things more often than unique merit and personal taste. The problem is excess.
Certain songs are overused. It's almost comical when you watch a movie or a television show and they start using a random cliché song. The funny part of this clear display of unoriginality is that it keeps happening over and over again. At this point, I think it's probably safe to assume you probably have one or two songs in your head that you've heard a million times on screen. But it doesn't automatically mean it's horrible.
Last week we learned that not every over-used song is a bad song. At least, I found that I personally enjoy some of the songs that are over-used. I think that's actually a big reason these songs are over-used. They ARE songs that people connect to in some way. These songs tap certain emotions and convey any specific idea they want to get across. It's easy manipulation to sell a trailer or to push an emotion.
It's not the song's fault they're that attachable. It's the music programmer's fault for going the easy route. Listening to and enjoying one of these songs is cool. You can listen to and enjoy whatever the hell you want. I just wish whoever is deciding to use these songs would try to spread themselves out a little bit. Why not use different songs? You can't tell me there aren't any other catchy emotional-anthems out there that haven't been tapped.
Today I'm going to take a look at the top ten of my list of twenty most annoyingly overused songs in movies and television. Last week I covered the first ten, which can be read HERE. No seriously… CLICK HERE!
Now we move on to the final ten…
10: "Low Rider" by War
I don't know any other song by the band War. I know they were before my time, but I couldn't pick the band out of a line-up if I were forced to. Just because of these facts doesn't mean I'm delusional. This song is great. It's groovy, but subdued with all out coolness. It's typically a stoner song or something that'll involve lame stereotypical gang members. It's just a strutty-cool type of vibe that is recognizable as a certain attitude. It can be used in multiple tones, but at this point it's been used so much that it's most likely not going to be taken seriously unless someone goes the artsy-crazy route. This is just one of those songs that's cemented in pop culture history. 9: "Let's Get it Started" by The Black Eyed Peas
"Let's Get Retarded" was how I first heard it thanks to the movie "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle". It was fun, funky, and the offensive lyrics gave it a "more than pop" edge. This would all change when they dropped the re-do of "Let's Get It Started". The rest is history. This song got played over and over and over again. Kid movies, adult movies, television shows, and pretty much any type of visual/audio programming or production has been ambushed with this self-edited borefest. It's just such a generic hip hop song. If this song were a 1990's trend, it would be the rapping grandma of recent pop hits. 8: "Once In a Lifetime" by Talking Heads
I love Talking Heads. They have made some really awesome music and every time I go back and revisit their discography I take away something new. They are a band that I recommend everyone absorb and listen to at least once in their life. It's worth it. This song is a perfect example of what they offered. Most people know this song as being the dramatic "How did I get here?" twist on the trailer. It's when the lead character has that moment of not expecting where he they end up. It's normally involving a family atmosphere or something like that. It's a good song to use, but it's just overdone. Being a nerd, I'm slightly bothered that this song is what a lot of people know the band from. It's just one of many awesome tracks in their collection. 7: "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
I've never been a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd. I know a lot of people hold them in high esteem, but they're just a band I never connected with. I can appreciate "Free Bird" and handful of their songs, but "Sweet Home Alabama" is just about as grating as nails on a chalkboard. It's just a really overplayed song. So many movies, television shows, and broken jukeboxes has played this song in excess. I'm sure some of that's by demand but THAT much? C'mon! It's been in kid movies, trashy movies, comedies, horror movies, and everything from 8 Mile to Forrest Gump. The song doesn't make me dislike the state or anything, but I'm pretty sure being overexposed to this one song has ruined Skynyrd for me. 6: "I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown
I think James Brown should be celebrated as often as possible. He was one of the best entertainers of modern music and helped pave the way for many people. His contributions are enormous. That doesn't mean we need to hear "I Feel Good" every three minutes. There are plenty of movies to use this song in the trailer, even more that use it in movies, and then more that have used it on television and in commercials. It's just one of those songs that everyone knows and loved. It's just become a running cliché now. As great of as song it is, I don't think anyone hears the legit substance there. It's just the happy-go-lucky funk rock song that movies with talk dogs or a Robin Williams movie has in it. Of course the song is no complete without the lame character breaking into a little private dance scene as this song plays in the cutesy background. 5: "What A Wonderful World" by Louie Armstrong
Mr. Armstrong put together a beautiful piece here. It's one of the calmest and sweetest songs of all time. It's a song you just want to settle in to a smile and drift through a flowing sea or comfort…. Or something. The point I'm trying to make is that this is a fantastic song that puts the listener in a happier place than before the loving tones hit your ears. As much as I like this song, it's not like I need to hear it every single movie. It's just way too easy of a music choice. If you need to have a happy, soul-touching moment then you'll let everything go into a slow-motion montage as the warmest of emotions pass through you… like a cuddly kidney stone. 4: "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix
I love Jimi Hendrix. I find new value in his art as the years pass. There is always something new to take from listening to one of this man's classic three albums and all the randomness to come after. The responsibility of being one the best is quality control. This song has been in A LOT of things, but mostly quality. It's always that Vietnam, Woodstock, 1960's drug scene that needs a bit of classing up that gets the treatment of this fine audio treat. In reality I could have went with a "Hey Joe" and not missed a beat, but I think this Dylan cover edges it out. 3: "Bodies" by Drowning Pool
This song is like a fart sponge. It takes everything resembling the scent of a fart in the general facility and sucks it up to one central point set to be unleashed into your ear holes. Yes, that is an elaborate metaphor to use to describe one's disliking for a song but this is "Bodies" we're talking about. If you saw the trailer for any action, science fiction, or "bad ass" scene in the past like ten years then there is a very good chance you've muted this song. The song wasn't that bad, but it just got overplayed and became a radio-friendly metal nuisance. And dammit, am I the only one to notice they say "let the bodies hit the flow?" For realizes! Listen for yourself! 2: "Good Riddance(Time of Your Life)" by Green Day
Apparently, irony is lost on the world. This song isn't meant to be some kind of sappy retrospective love-fest. It's a sarcastic take on an experience. It's full of snark and if dig through the easy layers of "feel good words and happy tones" you'd clearly appreciate the "fuck off" vibe that lies. It's a really good song. I can understand why television shows, movies, and sappy commercials would want to use it. Despite the not-so-obvious depth and the tongue-in-cheek narrative, it's a really pleasant song. It's just used A LOT. I'm pretty sure you find out how lame your life is when you die based on this song. If your memories are set to the tune of THIS song then you're a horrible person. Go outside! 1: "Let My Love Open the Door" by Pete Townshend
I despise this song. I despise the fact that it's so catchy. I despise the fact that it's so damn endearing and sweet. I despise the fact that it's so overused. I'm not going to lie. I had no idea who this song was by until like a week ago when I forced myself to sit through this song on the local classic rock station. It's a happy pop song that is ALWAYS used in happy sappy scenes of comedies and especially romantic comedies. It's been in EVERYTHING from "Jerry Maquire", "Dan In Real Life", to even "Mr. Deeds". It's just ALWAYS out there. I noticed this phenomenon few years ago when it was being bastardized in "Dan In Real Life" and then I noticed it popping up everywhere. It's in trailers, in emotional scenes, and in our ears every time a music director decides they want to convey the feeling of "awe shucks! look-it! it's love!" I have nothing but respect for Townshend's contribution to rock and roll, but my dislike for this song makes my appreciation off balanced. Screw opening the door "to my heart", how about opening the door to a new song. Any song. Please! Just stop with the god forsaken "My Love Open the Door"! PLEASE! (weeps of terror)
What songs are YOU tired of hearing in movies and television?
I never saw the original of this nor have I read the book. I know it's a "classic", but I've just not put the time in for it. I knew the short hand of the story though. I don't know where I picked it up, but I knew the plot and a few of the key characters going into it. This movie ended up being kind of crazy. Baz Luhmann directed the shit out of this movie. It looks outstanding and one of the best visual movies I've seen in a long time. The direction and point of view we're treated to is like a million music videos crammed into one tastefully shot movie. Some would say it's "over produced" or "it's too flashy", but no way! This movie is artistic precision at its best. The look of the movie is about where my praise stops. I appreciated the fact they tried to be unique and score the movie with modern hip hop instead of period piece music. I really do like the chance they took, but I just didn't like the music choices. I don't like when movies go with whatever the top 40 songs are at the moment. The contrast of style would have been just as impactful if the used something from Jay Z or Kanye's back catalogue instead of their surely soon-to-be-forgotten singles of the moment. But like I said, I still liked the risk they took. It added a whole new dimension to the movie. The movie sucked. There I said it. I pussy-footed around it. I brought up the awesome style and the interesting music choice first for a reason. The movie was just bad. The story felt clunky and by all educated accounts did not do the source justice. Leonardo DiCaprio was good in this, but didn't have quite the magic I'm sure we were all hoping for. Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton and Elizabeth Debicki were all good in their roles but not a whole lot stood out. It was just a bland story with bland acting. If it wasn't so stylized and artistically put together this movie would have been one of the worst I've seen in a while. It was long, dragging, and lame. I just didn't feel any heart or emotion while watching this. That's never a good thing. C-
"Worst Case Scenario" is a new take on the concept of "fantasy booking". For years professional wrestling fans would spend endless hours of thinking up the coolest things that could happen. Why waste the energy? This only leads to high expectations. "Worst Case Scenario" flips that. Instead of looking through rose colored glasses, let's take a bi-weekly look at the worst possible scenarios in professional wrestling. I'm not going to be malicious or anything too mean, but I will not refrain from letting my brain come up with the worst possible shit I can. Sadly, it seems the writers and producers of mainstream TV wrestling and the mainstream iPPV level indies are doing the same thing but charging us for it. And now…
"WWE Age Limits!"
The WWE is full of aging men in shiny underwear. The problem is that a job like that can be done by anyone who convincingly look and act the part. If you're good you can captivate an audience for years. If you're great you not only captivate them, but you compel them to spend their money. That's really the goal here; entertain to the point of profit.
In the WWE things get stagnant. Money is made, but it all levels out and things become complacent. The John Cenas, the Undertakers, Triple Hs, and the others all keep on trucking deep into their late 30s and 40s. I don't hold it against them and I do get entertainment from them, but it creates no new jobs.
That's where age limits would come in. Let's say 38. If you're 38 you're forced to retire from the active roster. Harsh, but it's best for business.
It's not the end, it's a chance for the WWE to institute a legends league and have a completely retro product. There can be crossovers of course. Maybe there can be inter-fed belts or rivalries. We all know how hard they have separating brands.
The problem is that you know the Legends league would get more love and focus. Eventually, it would just be RAW and the whole limit would become a goal for young wrestlers. Imagine a 35 year old man striving to be old enough to be part of the Legend League. The importance would definitely shift.
Basically, the focus goes where Triple H aims himself.
"Paranormal Activity 5"
Why!? They have made four too many of these shitty movies already. The first one was interesting purely based on the marketing. They didn't show the movie, they showed the paid audience "freak out" over the footage. Then "word of mouth" caught on and lots of stupid people went and wasted money on this shit. Those people didn't want to admit to being stupid so they kept paying for the next installment and then the next installment and then the next one. You people are STUPID. Stop supporting this crap. These movies are draining any tiny drip of potential out of the already lame "found footage" concept. I'd have no problem if these were straight to DVD movies or on the Sy-Fi Network. But it's put out there and the stupid people who go see it then pretend we care what they have to say. Like it? Don't like it? Thought part 3 was better? NO ONE CARES. You paid to see Paranormal Activity 5, you're opinion no longer matters.
That's all for now! This was fun. I'm a big fan and nerd about music soundtracks and score cues. The fact that certain songs are overused always struck me as weird no matter how much of a maniacal marketing slant there is behind it. Next week I'm going to take a look at the Top 7 Indiana-born musicians of all time. It's my favorites, but since it's such a strange and unspoken topic I'm going to claim my badge of authority. My favorite IS the official, dammit. Deal with it. After that I'm going to sneak in a column I've entitled "illuminati by nature" where I rank the top alleged members of the famed secret society. After that I spew out my Christmas stuff and we go right into 2014. We are in the home stretch of 2013! We are entering a new year full of promise, enthusiasm, and optimism. I am tired as hell. I am nearing a corner that'll either turn me into a monster or turn me into a machine. One thing is for certain, I'm transforming before my own eyes. I have big plans for 2014. I've spent 2013 bettering myself, changing my lifestyle, and taking leaps forward. 2014 will be more of the same with some dream guns finally getting their triggers pulled. Bang! Bang! Watch out, folks! Until next time… Have a Great Week!