Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Setting the mood... theme songs

"Man in the Box"

"Come Out and Play"

"Real American"

"Also Sprach Zarathrusta"

"Iron Man"

If you're a wrestling fan, you can immediately associate them to wrestlers, the song and the superstar, indelibly linked for all time. (And if you don't know, Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, the Road Warriors)

They're perfect fits for the characters, and they're all important in defining who that character is. Do you think Hogan would have been as huge if he came out to "Endless Love" or "Raining Blood," hm? Probably not. But also, would he have been as huge if he came out to "Wind Beneath My Wings" or something of that ilk? Sure, it would be fitting to the Hogan character; he was the wind beneath the fans of millions and millions of Hulkamaniacs. But it's also not aggressive, it's not grandiose, it's not... a wrestling theme song.

So what is a wrestling theme song? And why do some e-fedders have problems picking good wrestling theme songs?

I know I'm probably going to come off like a jock or a metalhead here, but really, isn't wrestling a "sport" that appeals to jocks, meatheads, metal freaks and the mullet-sporting crowd in its most basest form? And by the violent nature of the in-ring product and the theatrical bestowment of glory as a result of what happens in the ring, even if some or even many of wrestling fans don't like the things that stereotypical wrestling fans like, shouldn't wrestling theme songs be on the aggressive, theatric, lively side?

I mean, I know we tailor our characters in this hobby to what we like. But whenever I see a SweetJesusFunk list "Nutshell" as a theme song, or Sebastian Dodd list "Stellar" as his, it boggles my mind. In the case of Dodd, "Stellar" is an inadequate song on all levels. What's Dodd's character? He's an arrogant, pompous jerk who thinks he's better than everyone. What's "Stellar" about? It's about a guy who is telling his girlfriend how good her girlparts make his peepee feel during happy time. How does "Stellar" start out? Very quiet riff, romantic mood... it's like Dodd is trying to seduce his opponent rather than intimidate him or make him aware of how great Dodd is. Yes you get some distortion-laden heavy metal-esque riffs in the chorus, but the lyrics read "How do you do it, make me feel like I do. How do you do it, it's better than I ever knew." Totally a misfit.

So what constitutes a good e-fed theme song? I look for a few things.

- Does it fit the character?

Like, does the theme song mesh with what the character's all about? If the character is a tax accountant turned wrestler, what Pink Floyd would be a better fit for him, "Money" or "Interstellar Overdrive?" The choice is easy. Of course, this is not a complete requirement, especially with characters who aren't heavily gimmicked.

- Does it have a killer intro?

Does it have something memorable to hook the audience at the beginning of it, to make the crowd shriek in delightment or toss the beer you just spent $6.50 on with no mind at you? Songs like "Highway to Hell," "Whatever," (the OLP song for Benoit, not the Godsmack song) "Real American," "Also Sprach Zarathrusta"... memorable intros, they get a crowd riled up. They're a lot better to use than songs with generic punk guitar songs, or folksy songs, or songs that begin with quiet words.

- Does the song have 'oomph?'

I was going to ask if the theme song had aggression, but really, songs that aren't balls out heavy metal work well as theme songs too. Just take a gander at "Zarathrusta" or "O Fortuna" or whatever various techno theme songs are used. But what those songs have in common is that they're vibrant, they're lively, they get a crowd tapping its toes or moving its feet or headbanging. The song has to have life.

Just by example, let's take a look at Jericoholic Anonymous, my flagship character, and I'll break down why I picked the theme song I did, "Eat the Rich" by Fozzy.

JA's character, by nature, is that he's a giant, huge fan of Chris Jericho. It's not his whole character, but it's a part of it. So a song by Jericho's band fits the character perfectly. The introductory riff is electric, it's somewhat unique and it's an attention grabber. And it's an aggressive song with great, lively lyrics that capture further JA's character, the dreamer who's always had to fight adversity to get where he's at today. I think it's a perfect fit.

You can feel free to disagree, but I feel it's the perfect theme song for JA. Soemtimes getting the right theme song is a thoughtful process. Sometimes it's easy.

But when you get it right, it can help make your character that much more memorable.


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Anonymous said...

Don't you just love random posters...

But anyways. I know what you're saying, a theme has to fit the character. "Otherworld" and "Links 2-3-4" both work for Blitz because of the aggressiveness, the power, and the speed of the songs. "Rainmaker" works well for "The Dragon" because it's a catchy, powerful intro which makes you think 'something's going to happen here'.

However, sometimes the theme fits what the handler wants to do with the character. "That's Entertainment" doesn't fit someone with the moniker "Mr Entertainment" in most circles - the lyrics and music are far from being a huge endorsement of someone who's "the most entertaining man on the planet". But it fits what I've wanted to do with him since I started working out his character. Sometimes theme songs help illustrate a handler's wishes for the character, so even if the song doesn't fit straight away, a little thought can make it fit.

Lindz said...

I change songs often for Troy depending on the direction I'm taking her, the events that have lead up to it (as well as what fed she's in) and what her attitude is at the time. I also take into consideration the tempo, rhythm and lyrics of the song. Let's face it, I prefer rock above all but if a rap song's lyrics fit her attitude at the time (ie: "Money, Power, Respect") then I'll use that. As far as metal goes, I only used the Iron Maiden song as Dis to throw everyone off because I'm not a big fan of metal and most people know that. ;) Now, onto my current theme song selections...

I used "Trampled Underfoot" by Led Zeppelin, a song that is notoriously heavy with sexual metaphors and innuendo, for awhile in fWo and currently in NFW because of the fact that so many people think she has a rampant feminist agenda and I found the song ironic because of this. I used "Heartbreaker" after her heel turn in EPW because of the angle with Beast and in the fWo because of her stringing Logic along. "Whatever" by Godsmack for Silver and Gold is appropriate because of the statement her and Sonny were/are trying to make to Ted Tallison. I chose "Why Do You Love Me?" for her brief A1E return as a question to the fans who once hated her so vehemently after she turned on Beast but eventually started cheering for her upon her return because she aligned herself with BigDog.

I think it's most important to take into consideration the character's development and angles before choosing a song, whether it's the development is current or being built-up to something down the road.

Phil said...

I agree with all the points you made. In the past, I've made it a point to download theme songs that I didn't know just to get a feel for how they sounded. Some have been cool, but others just confused me.

For my characters, I think I've made some pretty good choices. "Bad to the Bone" for BigDog is just perfect. It plays to the whole dog thing in addition to being appropriate to the baddest man around. Plus, it does have that killer intro.

Farnsy has much of that same Flair thing to him, so that's why I went with "Ride of the Valkyries". It has that classical feel, and I like the way it sounds. The intro leaves a little to be desired, but I like it.

Tom Holzerman said...

Hey, and who gave you the idea to use "Bad to the Bone," hm? ;)

Joshua C. Ray said...

My theme music for The Sergeant is "We Right Here" by DMX... the guys voice just screams aggression, and the song itself says in the hook "WE RIGHT HERE... WE NOT GOIN ANYWHERE... WE RIGHT HERE" haha.

Pretty straight forward. I can't help it, I rap and I love hip hop so it fits.

On the metal/rock tip, though... IRON MAN was awesome for the Road Warriors back in the day. When I was a kid I used to love singin the theme music when I played with their action figures... them and Hulk Hogan. :)

bill said...

Funny thing for FF is I never really dug "SuperUnknown" as his theme song, but it stuck. Actually, that's not entirely true. I dug the meat of the song, but always thought the beginning would be a bad way to introduce him to the crowd in an actual arena. It just starts off too randomly. But it became a part of the character, so I stuck with it.

The first song I ever had for MrAmazing was "Super Sex" by Morphine, which would be an awesome entrance theme for someone, it just never fit MrA! at all. I just dug the music. I switched that to "Bittersweet Symphony" when we ran the angle where he bought MBE because musically it just seemed perfect for his character. Had a little bit of a classic Flair feel, but was also more modern. It's anthemic in it's own way and is a great soundtrack to him in my head. I actually just listened to it today for the first time in forever and would actually have it start for MrA!'s entrance at about the 45 second mark when the drums come in. I hate when people set up overly elaborate entraces for their characters, starting with songs with minutes long intros before the guy appears complete with 10 thousand dollars of pyro and hydraulics.