Don’t get me started on superhero movies. Sometimes it seems like Hollywood makes little else. But songs about superheroes can be great. That’s probably because songwriters can’t simply rely on a green screen or endless explosive pyrotechnics. So let’s let it rip with these superhero song stylings!
Kicking things off is a band and a song with the same name. There’s not a lot of ink on the Danish group Superheroes, though leader Thomas Troelsen has gone on to produce a bevy of mainstream international pop superstars like Justin Beiber, David Guetta and Lil’ Wayne. Luckily, his band sounds nothing like them. Instead, the group vibes a 1970s art rock meets new wave sound, updated for the new century. “Superheroes” is a slow burn hook-wise but give it some time and its earworm qualities will grow on you. XTC offer up super melodies on “That’s Really Super, Super Girl,” from their Todd Rundgren-produced masterpiece Skylarking. A great locomotive blast of Andy Partridge wordplay and ornamental, guitar-driven poprock. Things slow down with the light acoustic swing of Jill Sobule’s bittersweet “Spiderman,” from 2009’s California Years. It’s a not-so-super superhero song but hey, she’s keeping it real. Superheroes – SuperheroesXTC – That’s Really Super, SupergirlJill Sobule – Spiderman
R.E.M.’s “Superman” was immediately one of my fave cuts from what is probably still my top R.E.M. album, Life’s Rich Pageant. I knew it was a cover but I assumed The Clique were just some other 1980s Athens-based indie outfit and R.E.M. was sharing the love. Recently I found out that the original goes back to the 1969. Initially just a b-side, the The Clique’s version of “Superman” is a revelation! Recognizable but distinctly different than the cover and well worth a listen. Another recent discovery is Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Magneto and Titanium Man” from Venus and Mars. Apparently Sir Paul loves his Marvel comics and this treat is so 1975 Wings but also contains a few melodic twists. Nice video utilizing old Marvel kids cartoon footage. One of Jim Infantino’s musical vehicles is the often hilarious, always politically intelligent Jim’s Big Ego. But his turn at superhero songwriting is a bit more serious on “The Ballad of Barry Allen.” Apparently, being the fastest guy is not always such a thrill.The Clique – Superman
Rounding things out is Lazlo Bane’s addictive banjo-laden, superhero name-dropping “I’m No Superman,” though the tune is probably best known as the theme song on the long-running network sitcom, Scrubs. It’s the right sentiment to end on. Nobody’s really a superhero. Just get that through your thick pop culture heads. Except when melodic hooks are involved.
This post has mostly older releases but that doesn’t mean they don’t need some cash love. Click on the hyperlinks to show off your superness.