With 'Suicide Squad' in theatres now, a look at superhero franchise soundtracks through the years.
Suicide Squad screenshot via YouTube
With over two years of hype and a bunch of weird casting choices, 2016's most anticipated summer blockbuster Suicide Squad has finally arrived. Unfortunately, not only was the film met with mediocre reviews on opening weekend, the soundtrack itself isn't too hot either. There's awkward collaborations between genre-hopping rappers and superstar producers, and unexpectedly warbly productions from rising stars.
While the relationship between electronic music and franchise superhero movies doesn't always lead to cringe-worthy collaborations, Hollywood's obsession with cross-genre soundtracks has resulted in some weird one-offs. From Batman to The Matrix, here are five songs that showcase the good, the bad, and the ugly.
1. Massive Attack feat. Tracey Thorn - "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" (Batman Forever, 1995)
A cover of a Motown hit by the Marvelettes, Massive Attack and Everything But The Girl lead singer Tracey Thorn's slowed-down version of "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" set the standard for electronic music being used in the Batman franchise. Two years later, the soundtrack to the film's sequel Batman & Robin not only included Underworld's proggy techno jam "Moaner," but "Fun For Me," a jazzy electro-pop track by Irish-English duo Moloko (Róisín Murphy's first project before going solo).
2. The Prodigy - "Mindfields" (The Matrix, 1999)
When Keanu Reeves' Neo and Carrie Anne-Moss' Trinity meet for the first time in a club in the original movie, their initial introduction is scored by the Prodigy's "Mindfields," a track from the UK electronica pioneers' third album, The Fat of the Land. From there, the franchise dipped into the world of trance, with veteran producer Paul Oakenfold's "Dread Rock" being used in 2003's The Matrix Reloaded. Spin-off animated movie Animatrix featured tracks by Junkie XL, who you might remember as the guy behind that inescapable 2002 Elvis Presley remix.
3. Basement Jaxx - "Where's Your Head At" (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, 2001)
Angelina Jolie embodied the video game world's most enticing relic hunter when she starred in the live action adaption in 2001. Luckily, whoever was responsible for the soundtrack did a good job of gathering marquee alternative rock, pop, and electronic artists, without making them do terrible collaborations together. British duo Basement Jaxx were making waves on every platform at the time with their dance hit "Where's Your Head At," so in terms of marketing and an overall good fit, this song felt right at home with this movie soundtrack.
4. Eve & Fatboy Slim - "Cowboy" (Blade II, 2002)
The late 1990s and early 2000s were a time when multiple major labels frequently thought it was wise to pair unlikely acts together for blockbuster one-offs (lest we forget Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page's trainwreck "Come With Me" from Godzilla). If Wesley Snipe's sword-wielding, blood-sucking antics in the Blade franchise weren't cheesy enough, the soundtrack of the second film is probably the worst soundtrack in the history of soundtracks. Mystikal and Moby? Ice Cube and Oakenfold? No thanks. The biggest offender is "Cowboy," a team-up between Fatboy Slim (whose mega-hit "Praise You" was featured in Cruel Intentions) and Philly rapper Eve, which sees the latter delivering snooze-worthy rhymes over a wonky electronic backdrop.
5. Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J & Ty Dolla $ign feat. Kill The Noise & Madsonik - "Shell Shocked" (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 2014)
While they're best known respectively for topping the charts with party anthems about throwing bands of money on strippers and/or smoking weed, Wiz, Juicy J, and Ty's electro-rap turd produced by EDM heavyweights Kill The Noise and Madsonik, manages to skip the sewers and go straight to the depths of hell. The last thing a movie this disappointing needed was a song featuring punchlines like "Bought the orange Lamborghini, call it Michelangelo," but much to the chagrin of Ninja Turtles fans, we got it and hated ourselves even more for hearing it.
Max Mohenu is on Twitter.