Movies are always getting remade, and that’s not stopping any time soon, so while we’re at it, how about we remake famous movie theme songs too? I’m a sucker for a great cover song, one that works to an artist’s strengths and allows them to put a new spin on the familiar (the same mindset goes for film remakes too). And I’m not just talking about the incredibly popular songs that everyone knows; I’m talking cinematic deep cuts. Born from the brilliance of a Twitter discussion between David Shreve and me*, AE presents movie themes that should be covered by contemporary artists.
*Our original conversation proposed that Good Charlotte and T-Swift take over the Rocky IV hits of “No Easy Way Out” and “Heart’s on Fire” respectively. Everything that follows is a mere shadow of that late night level of genius.
“Science-Fiction/Double Feature” (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) – Lady Gaga
Is there anyone else who could capture the weird, reference-heavy vibe of Richard O’Brien’s original song? While Gaga’s odd outfits and pop songs are her most prevalent selling points, we shouldn’t forget she’s got a great and powerful voice for ballads. But it would be a waste just to have her sing it. We need a full 10 minute music video with Gaga acting out the classic B-movie sci-fi roles mentioned in the song.
“Cry Little Sister” (The Lost Boys) – The Smashing Pumpkins and Kid Cudi
Gerard McMann’s dark wave rock song gave millions of goth teens and vampires a beat in the late 80s and early ’90s. But for the song to catch on in this day and age, it needs to be more than just moody teen music. I suggest a collaboration between The Smashing Pumpkins and Kid Cudi as mashup of the old and the new. There’s no doubt Billy (William?) Corrigan’s unmistakable vocals could capture the vibe of the original, but Kid Cudi could give the song some new flavor and he’s already proven to be a most excellent collaborator (check out “Symphonies” by Dan Black and Kid Cudi, using Jack Nitzche’s theme from Starman).
“The Power of Love” (Back to the Future) – Robin Thicke
Just imagine how many limbs were broken by kids in 1985 trying to skateboard with Huey Lewis and The News’ “Power of Love” playing in their cassettes. So who can resurrect the song of the summer? Robin Thicke whose own song of the summer (or year), “Blurred Lines” ruled the airways until it all came crashing down around him at the VMAs. Thicke’s power pop/hip-hop vocals and Pharrell’s beats lent to “The Power of Love” could be the career resurrection he needs.
“Pet Semetary” (Pet Semetary) – Paramore
The Ramones’ “Pet Semetary” is one of those ’80s greats that can’t be used in any other context except the film in which it was written for. Featuring lines like “I don’t want to be buried in a pet semetary. I don’t want to live my life again,” it’s impossible not to get stuck in your head. So who’s responsible for some of the most irritatingly catchy songs of today? Paramore. Hayley Williams’ modern punk rock outfit may have little in common with Punk kings, The Ramones, but Paramore could definitely handle the task and turn a song from an ’80s horror movie into a radio hit and oft-requested prom song.
“Iris” (City of Angels)-The Killers
The Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” is one of my all-time favorite songs, and The Killers is one of my all-time favorite bands, and the stylizations of each make for a match made in heaven. Lead singer, Brandon Flowers has a history of performing great covers (check out The Killers’ cover of Dire Straights’ “Romeo and Juliet”). The Killers have an Americana twist to their music, making their songs feel unique and somewhat anachronistic, like a pixelated Norman Rockwell painting. While the original song is distinctly situated in the best of ’90s music, The Killers could add a historical fable-esque quality to it that would fit right in with the themes of the lyrics.