Consequence of Sound Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman began our feature A Collection of Songs Ruined by Film, TV, and Humanity with the following observation: “Influence is a bastard, a rugged dog, waiting on a street corner with gnarled teeth. Once that mutt clenches down, it leaves behind a hideous scar — a reminder.” The point being that while a song may remain the same, our notion of it can be changed by the different ways we experience it.
In that instance, we talked about how film, TV, and anything else we could think of had forever ruined certain songs for us. But there are two sides to every Schwartz, Lone Starr. So, consider this our attempt to shelve our requisite Internet pessimism for just a bit. Here is a collection of songs made awesome by film, TV, and whatever else people may do. So, yeah, influence may still be a bastard and a rugged dog waiting on a street corner. But, you know, sometimes that dog waits with puppy kisses instead of gnarled teeth. Quick, now read before we become miserable jerks again.
“Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3
Made Awesome By: The Sopranos opening theme
Since Tony Soprano first emerged from the Lincoln Tunnel in 1999, every red-blooded American male with an HBO subscription has fantasized about being the brutish, yet likable mob boss. (Hell, one therapist friend of mine suggested that the show actually spiked his business; either that or maybe our parents really did fuck us up that badly.) For my part, I drove around rural Pennsylvania in my parents’ SUV, blowing smoke rings into my rearview while pumping the show’s badass theme, “Woke Up This Morning” by UK collective Alabama 3. One problem, though. The track—off A3’s Exile on Coldharbour Lane—sounded nothing like the show’s opening. Sure, the song was there, but it was buried beneath a nearly two-minute spoken-word intro, a cowboy rap, and enough tedious lulls to make Tony call the band a bunch of cocksuckers (or bloodsuckers if we’re talking A&E reruns). Even the “Chosen One Mix”—the one used for the show—isn’t much better. Truth is, “Woke Up This Morning” isn’t worth getting out of bed for outside of that incredible 1:34 opening sequence. —Matt Melis
“Making Time” by The Creation
Made Awesome By: The yearbook montage in Rushmore
It’s hard to pick just one song that sticks out in Wes Anderson’s arguably best soundtracked film, 1998’s Rushmore. But after 15 years and many viewings of the landmark film, it’s The Creation’s “Making Time” that always makes me tap my foot and wish I could’ve been a member of the Bombardment Society. The song from the 1960’s Brit-garage pop group has memorable guitar riffs, and the lyrics are in tune with the scene the song is used in: the montage of the numerous extracurricular activities that Max Fischer (played by Jason Schwartzman in his first acting role) is involved in to distract himself from his studies. A song about everyone “always singin’ the same old song” while Max is “seekin’ new advances” through his miscellaneous pursuits, ranging from the yearbook Editor-in-Chief to the President of the Rushmore Beekeepers, shows both Max’s disinterest in a normal education and Anderson’s keen ear and ability to perfectly soundtrack his films. —Pat Levy
“Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy
Made Awesome By: Wet Hot American Summer
Whereas Chris Farley wrapped his sweaty body all over “Working for the Weekend” in our Ruined Songs, Ken Marino’s Victor Kulak turned Loverboy’s other hit single “Turn Me Loose” into a proper runner’s anthem — complete with short shorts, Jew fro, and a love for Abby Bernstein. It’s still cheesy — when isn’t Loverboy cheesy — but one viewing of Wet Hot American Summer turns the cheddar into sizzling sexy bacon. Not sure what that means but bottom line: I’ve run too many goddamn times to this song for it to be an ironic thing. The song rules and it’s all because of how dangerous Kenny Loggins’ “Danny’s Song” can be too oblivious drivers. Turn me on and turn me loose — oh shit, a hay pile. —Michael Roffman
“Cells” by The Servant
Made Awesome By: The Sin City trailer
Even if “Cells” didn’t score the noir-ish hyper-violence of the trailer for the long-awaited Sin City adaptation, it was already made awesome by someone omitting the vocals for the project. The instrumental track saves us from having to sit through the ham-fisted doom and gloom of lines like “my organs move like a squirm of eeels,” leaving only a dramatic guitar solo and appropriately moody synths. Robert Rodriguez’s comic book visuals make “Cells” more hard-hitting than the band’s bad poetry ever did. —Dan Caffrey