Hey kids, remember the glory days of movie soundtrack albums? I do. Of course, you’ll probably think I’m a psycho if I admit to having at one point not only owned but enjoyed the Godzilla soundtrack, yet I’ll happily counter that with the fact that both Dirty Dancing and its mambo-laden (guh-gung!) followup More Dirty Dancing are on my iPod, as are both volumes of the music from Grosse Pointe Blank, and the Twister soundtrack… Oh, I just went back to being a psycho again, didn’t I.
Anyway. My point here is that it seems, of late, that the songs officially designated as accompaniment to the blockbuster films of the day have not been as exciting as they once were. Whether that’s because everyone can just download the good stuff off iTunes and leave the bad Wallflowers covers behind in the discount bin or whatever has yet to be scientifically determined, but there is, on the horizon, some good news for soundtrack lovers: The Spider-Man 3 CD, featuring new tracks from the biggest names in indiedom, and Chubby Checker, will be released May 1. I’ll dissect its worldwide implications — and give away a VALUABLE PRIZE — after the jump!
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Look, I can’t tell you anything about the origins of that creepy, almost X-Philian black oil creeping onto Spidey’s suit in the trailers, but I can tell you that his over-developed dark side has at last led our hero to something resembling good taste: Snow Patrol, the Killers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wolfmother, the Walkmen, the Flaming Lips, Rogue Wave, and Jet all make appearances on the new album, and those are just the bands I’m sure you’ve heard of. It’s a cred-tastic array of artists, and it begs a number of questions, not least of which is, Why did they wait this long to hire a decent music supervisor?
I mean, let’s go back through history: Spidey 1‘s 2002 soundtrack was anchored by a very good albeit annoyingly insistent Chad Kroeger song, then meandered through the “punk” wasteland of Sum 41 and Alien Ant Farm before landing on still-slightly-under-the-radar-at-least-for-mall-shoppers bands like the Strokes and the Hives, made a woeful dip into Pete Yorn, and then filled the end up with Danny Elfman score stuff.
2004’s Spidey 2 was, if possible, even more unfortunate, because it assumed (incorrectly) that the same people who want to listen to Train, Hoobastank, and Yellowcard also want to listen to Taking Back Sunday, Midtown, and Dashboard Confessional, and vice versa. Trust me: When Maroon 5 is the winningest band in your lineup, there is something very wrong. Plus, it, too, filled the end up with Danny Elfman score stuff.
(NOTE: I am not complaining about Danny Elfman. On the long list of soundtracks I’ve owned, the Batman score certainly makes top 5. I used to have a long-play cassette where I dubbed Batman onto Side A and John Williams’ Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom score onto Side B, and I used to listen to it every night to get to sleep. And now you have way more information than I ever meant to disclose, so cut me some slack, haters.)
But hey! It’s a new day and a new Spidey, and this one has been reading NME! You should know this album is worth the purchase price for the Flaming Lips’ epic-yet-sweet “The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How To Be In Love” alone, that the Killers song sucks way less than their second album, and that as usual I will strongly advocate for the simple sunny pleasures of my friends the Rogue Wavers. Furthermore, the record contains no Danny Elfman filler, choosing instead to save that final slot for the Oohlas, who may have only sold like 9 records but hey, the kids on MySpace love ’em. Even the weaker/more obscure bands have their own merits: If you hold your ears and squint, Black Mountain could be My Morning Jacket; Coconut Records features Jason Schwartzman and backing vocals from a certain spider-smitten faux-redhead herself; and I don’t know who these Sounds Under Radio folk are trying to fool, but that is a big-time rock ‘n’ roll band masquerading as some unsigned indie-emo whatsits.
So what do you think, PopWatchers? Can this high-quality soundtrack save its beloved genre from almost-certain future death? Did these bands sign on because they love the Spider-Man franchise so much or because anything that’s going to clear $100 million on its first day ain’t a bad thing to be associated with? Do you think the recent announcement that they’re going to release an indie version of the Now! comps was in any way influenced by this excitement-generating track listing?
And could someone please confess a love of movie soundtracks that is more pathetic than my Batman/Indy obsession? Most embarrassing admission wins a copy of the long-out-of-print Hope Floats original soundtrack, featuring 6 bonus tracks!