Thursday, May 29, 2014

Question for the Week of May 29-Jun 1: Strangest Theme Song Trends

What is the strangest trend in theme songs that you can think of?
Well, there was a period in the late 80's and early 90's where rap songs were used in franchise films where they literally made no sense. It's one thing to have "Gangsta's Paradise" in Dangerous Minds. That movie was about inner city youth and the problems they faced. But can anyone please tell me what rap, much less MC Hammer, had to do with 1991's The Addams Family:

Wow, that was insane, wasn't it? Well, 1991 was clearly a chemically-imbalanced year, as the use of rap made no more in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. It's just that TMNT II had the improbable gall to include the rap as an in-movie scene, and to use Vanilla f--king Ice:

And I can't help but notice that the trend started earlier - with 1988's A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. At least that song had the distinction of being made by The Fat Boys:


  1. It goes beyond strange theme songs, I think this was an overall soundtrack trend in the late '80s, where every studio film soundtrack was supposed to resemble a pop top 40 station. So you get Bobby Brown on the Ghostbusters II (1989) soundtrack (he does a little rap about Vigo in the theme song), then you also get Run-DMC, Elton John, Doug E. Fresh, Oingo Boingo, and Glenn Frey.

    The first stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb use of hip hop that I can remember in a film was Run-DMC's "Christmas in Hollis" in Die Hard. It's of a piece with Argyle's subplot, which features him hanging around doing nothing much all movie long, until it's time for him to punch out the film's black undervillain.

    1. Well, you are dead right on the Ghostbusters II score. I just didnt want to write more about that film - it's best left forgotten, but it was an oversight.

      However, the three cases I provided were songs specifically made for the films. "Christmas in Hollis" is a nicely jarring transition that announces that the lead is now in a whole new, weird environment, so it's suitable in that context. Also, it doesn't mention Nakatomi Plaza or Bruce Willis' character, John...

    2. The funny thing is, in Die Hard John McClane's a New York cop who's a fish out of water in LA. The transition song that announces he's in a weird new environment when he arrives on the West Coast? It's a song about Hollis, Queens!

    3. Stupid me, I thought "Hollis" was short for "Hollywood!" Now I gotta check all this on wiki...


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