Shhhh! The Audience is Listening…

Gotta love slogans that become part of American culture. Who knew that this simple line would mean so much?

In other posts, I promised that I would look at doing some editorials. My original idea of the site was to simply offer reviews, but in my reviews I editorialize. Then the writers’ strike happened, forcing me to think about my opinions on movies and TV.

So what has sparked me to write now? ran an article on Tuesday, November 13, bemoaning the death of the movie theme song . The author of the article presented the idea that, with rare exception, there had been no readily identifiable movie theme songs over the past 5-7 years. In fact, the only two offerings that the writer presents are Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” from “Hustle & Flow”; but even then, the writer complains about the lack of radio-friendliness each song had.

What is interesting are the songs that the writer uses to contrast the decades of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The ones mentioned are:

  • “My Heart Will Go On”
  • “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”
  • “Evergreen”
  • “Arthur’s Theme”
  • “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life”

All of these are definietly recognizable theme songs (except for maybe “Evergreen”). However, that does not mean that we have been missing original theme songs from movies, particularly on the radio. Think back to a year ago — every time you turned on a Top 40 station, you could not escape the voice of Jennifer Hudson singing “No No No!” from the movie “Dreamgirls”. A quick review of the list of Oscar nominations from last year showed 3 songs from that movie nominated. A couple of years before that, you had The Counting Crows get nominated for “Accidentally In Love” from the movie “Shrek 2″.

Then the article gets confusing — it jumps from lamenting the lack of songs to talking about what it takes to create that iconic song, using “Say Anything…” as the movie example. After time with that, the article then makes remarks about how someone like Burt Bacharach would not be famous if he had started today.

Overall, the article has that high-school journalism feel mixed with a certain bias from the writer.

The general public would have been better served had the writer focused on how music in the movies has evolved. As in sports, you can not compare theme songs from yesteryear to present-day. Each song must stand the test of time based on its peers. Just because a song is not an Oscar-winner/nominee does not mean it can not evoke thoughts of the movie it is from.

So what was the article writer trying to prove?

Radio play does not make a hit out of a movie theme song. If that were the only criteria, then explain how John Williams being able to find work, Disney being able to churn out hit musical after hit musical, and even creators like Matt Stone and Trey Parker being able to have recognition for songs from South Park and Team America:World Police. What is really interesting is that radio is being used as the judge, when digitally stored music counts for as many, if not more, listens to a song…

As long as we have movies, there will always be ones with those “iconic” theme songs. You just have to listen over the sounds of munching popcorn…

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