Monday, April 1, 2024

More Songs I Love from Movies

 by Adam Riske

Some bumping tunes to play while you celebrate the arrival of Spring.

Song: “The Highway”
From: Bad Influence
Artist: The Nymphs

I finally saw Bad Influence for the first time earlier this year. It’s great. The events in the movie sure escalated fast, didn’t they? My first new-to-me song crush of the year was this song that plays near that start of the movie at a rock club. It seems like the film itself is trying to make The Nymphs a thing because it takes a beat for James Spader to ask who they are (because they’re that good) and Rob Lowe gives the band a shout-out by name. I listened to this song so much in January. I love it. It sounds like a missing song from The Crow soundtrack.

Song: “Why Don’t We Try”
From: Do the Right Thing
Artist: Keith John

Here’s what I consider an underrated song from the Do the Right Thing soundtrack which, of course, is so closely identified with “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy. If you’ve only heard that single, you owe it to yourself to listen to the deeper cuts like Al Jarreau’s “Never Explain Love” and “Why Don’t We Try” by Keith John. It’s such a beautiful, heartfelt ballad and the build at the 2:38 mark is just the best. I revisited Do the Right Thing back in January as the second movie of a NYC 1989 double feature with Sea of Love. It was an incredible pairing I recommend to everyone.

Song: “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”
From: Dumb and Dumber
Artist: Crash Test Dummies featuring Ellen Reid

This is a cover of an XTC track by Crash Test Dummies. First off, I love any music video for a song from a movie that features cast members (this video stars Jeff Daniels). It’s just a nice little time capsule. I had the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack on cassette when I was in junior high and thought it was okay back then (I bought it more just because I liked the movie) but I’ve grown to really like it on some revisits in the past couple of years. “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” is one of the songs I return to the most. Ellen Reid is cute (she has a Laurie Holden thing going) and I’m a sucker for women in jersey tees. Do you think the lead singer of Crash Test Dummies really has that singing voice or he’s faking it?

Song: “Uptown Anthem”
From: Juice
Artist: Naughty By Nature

At a recent Smash Cut screening of Juice, I was reminded what a great soundtrack the movie Juice has. My favorite track is this song that plays over the end credits. Rap was so good in the 1990s. Why is it so bad now? Anyways, I’ll use this as an opportunity to tell a Naughty By Nature story I heard second-hand when I was in college. Apparently, they played a bar on campus (this was in the early 2000s) and people weren’t paying attention so one of the guys got frustrated and said “None of you give a f**k about Naughty By Nature?”

Song: “Gotta Get Yo’ Groove On”
From: A Low Down Dirty Shame
Artist: Tevin Campbell

I love this song and its funky groove. It’s so much better than the movie it’s featured in. The chorus is the best. I want to sing it to a shortie. In my head it goes over perfectly. Anyways, Tevin Campbell will forever be in Adam’s Nostalgia Hall of Fame because he’s Powerline in A Goofy Movie. This song is nearly as good as “I 2 I” which is saying something because that song is one of the best of the 1990s.

Song: “Just Cruisin’”
From: Passenger 57
Artist: Stanley Clarke

I could’ve picked a few songs from Passenger 57, but I went with this one because it reminds me of shopping at a grocery store in 1990s at 9pm on a Tuesday. Most action movies don’t have music that sounds like this and that’s a shame because they would be improved with some smooth jazz. This would play on Wednesday nights at the Coco Bongo Club. This is perfect time machine music; like you put in the coordinates and then you’re just cruisin’.

Song: “House of Love”
From: Speechless
Artist: Amy Grant and Vince Gill

This song is such a jam. I didn’t know Amy Grant and Vince Gill were married until I saw the video for this back in late 2023. I guess they really do have a house of love. This is totally the type of song I would’ve made fun of when I was a kid and now it’s among my favorite things to listen to as an adult. Easy listening, baybee! This is good music to listen to at a party while you encourage your guests to have some baby carrots with ranch dip. I love songs like this from December movies where they feel reverse engineered from a Golden Globe nomination that you can tout in the newspaper ads. This song makes me want to fall in love. Instead of vows, couples should sing this to each other at weddings. This song seems like it would’ve debuted on an episode of Good Morning America.

Song: “The Secret of My Success”
From: The Secret of My Success
Artist: Night Ranger

I recently revisited The Secret of My Success and was appalled by the morality of the movie. It’s so gross and Reagan-y. The movie’s also more '80s than anything in the world including Stranger Things. This title song is incredible though. It’s about the hustle; 25 hours a day and such. I like that the band high-fives each other at the end of the music video. We should all be high fiving each other more often.

1 comment:

  1. I love your music columns, Adam! This has some real gems in it, and some songs I have never heard or don't remember hearing.

    I recently rewatched Clerks and even though I've seen it a bunch of times, the music stood out to me more this time for some reason. I especially enjoyed the Soul Asylum song "Can't Even Tell" that plays over the end credits. That band deserves to be remembered for more than "Runaway Train" (which is also a great song).

    I also really enjoyed the song selection and the role music played in Perfect Days, which I know you saw recently. I don't think I'll ever tire of scenes where people bond over music in a movie.