Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Songs in the key of Sea

Aquaman, as we have complained recently, doesn't get the same kind of multimedia love as many of colleagues do.  I mean, sure, we all expect Batman and Superman to be the media's darlings, but, c'mon...Green Arrow, of all people, has a hit television show.

But there is one medium in which Aquaman gets his due ...

Indie/folk/alt musicians LOVE Aquaman.  Everyone who thinks "Oh why doesn't anyone appreciate my specialness and why do the girls always go for the BMOCs like Batman and Superman *heavy sigh*?" looks to Aquaman as their lyrical avatar.

"Aquaman, wait! Would you like to hear this song I wrote about how I identify with you because you, too, are underappreciated and overshadowed by your own friends...?"

One of my favorites is Mark Aaron James's Aquaman's Lament, in which Aquaman tries to convince Vicki Vale to ditch Batman for him.  Why Aquaman would be so focused on trampy VV, I can't imagine (although we know he likes redheads).  Remember, Arthur, there are lots of good fish in the sea.

It's from his album "Just a Satellite", which you can buy on The iTunes.

Motion Slick also did a song called Aquaman's Lament, which is less respectful than one might wish, and, bizarrely, keeps comparing Aquaman to Marvel heroes.

One of the most melodious is Grandpa Griffith's Aquaman (ignore the VIDEO, it's just the only one of the song I could find); it's a real earwig and cleverly incorporates elements of sea shanties.

There's little evidence other than the title that Aquaman, by Italian prog-rock band Goblin, is about the Sea King.  But it's great music to watch your fish tank to.

The Ballad of Aquaman by the Social Bedders is a bit whiny (in several ways), but it seems to be rooted in respect and love for the character, with some interesting lyrics.  I'm fond of the phrase "patriotic green and orange".  Aquaman is still the king, indeed.

Although better known for their cover of Batman's theme, Skavoovie & the Epitones have an instrumental Aquaman that's amusing surreal. "Swim away from the hammerheads; they will destroy!" is a pretty memorable lyric.

I'd be surprised if  you don't already know Ookla the Mok for some reason, but you deserve to know their defiant Arthur Curry, with whom "you better not mess around".  Props for rhyming "Atlantis" with '"proportionate strength of a praying mantis".

I couldn't find a full on-line version of The Amazing Kilowatts' energetic Aquaman. but you can hear a snatch of it on Amazon and buy it for next to nothing.  Aquaman; he's keepin' it real.

Aquaman's Rousing Song of Heroism from Batman: Brave & the Bold is well known, of course, but I am much much fonder of "The Currys of Atlantis" (a.k.a. "Well, Ahoy!").  "Aqualad is my decoy" is perhaps the greatest lyric of all time (at least when you detest Aqualad as much as I do!)

And Cory Hite (and her teeny guitar) is also on hand to prove that,  yes, some girls do like Aquaman and appreciate his perfect hair and shirt of orange hue.


Redforce said...

I'd like to say that Aquaman (the B&B Outrageous version) should be in the upcoming Justice League movie- but I really hope DC does NOT make any more live-action movies.

Let me explain why by starting with Marvel (?!). Now, I am not a comic-book 'nerd', but I do like superhero movies (since I grew up reading comics, primarily super-heroic). However, I am becoming tired of superhero movies. Take the Avengers. Unarguably the most successful supers movie, made billion$, tied together individual super's stories, etc. But Nerd God-King Joss Whedon suffers from the same problems Scipio said Grant Morrison has- EXECUTION. Yep, Joss can write some really witty, clever dialog, and jaw-dropping set-pieces- but the PLOT of the movie is crap.

For brevity's sake, I will avoid repeating the same complaints about plot holes from elsewhere (Where was the Hulk for most of the movie? Where was the Air Force? etc.). The biggest flaw I see was Loki's plans- it made NO SENSE. He wanted to take over by talking with Thanos space aliens invasion cosmic cube warp *mumble mumble something something*. In past superhero movies, villain plots were silly and even stupid, but they MADE SENSE. Was it stupid or impossible that Luthor bought up worthless land east of the San Andreas to become rich by making California sink into the Pacific? Yes. But at least it made sense, given the context and reality of the super-movie. Was Magneto's plot in X-Men to gain awareness of mutant-kind by mutating the world leaders silly? Yes, but at least you could explain it to a five-year-old, or summarize it in a short paragraph. Contrast this to Loki's plan- WHAT was he trying to do? I could not figure it out (and don't bother commenting to try to explain it to me- if I don't get it DURING THE MOVIE, it fails as a plot. And I'm no Scipio, but I'm not exactly a slouch in the intellect department, either).

This was particularly galling and infuriating with Loki- the Norse God of Lies and Trickery, played with such malevolent glee by Tom Hiddleston, who should have had a simple yet clever plan (or perhaps the old 'wheels-within-wheels' thing). The Avengers: EMH cartoon showed how Loki SHOULD be portrayed (and yet the dimwits at Marvel cancelled it). Hell, I have LEGO Marvel Superheroes for the XBOX One, and IT does a better job of coming up with a plot in the first two minutes of the opening cut scene than the 'sophisticated' movie does in two HOURS.

Which leads us up to my original point- I like DC, I really do, but I don't really care if a Justice League movie (or even the Superman-Batman team-up) comes out if it is going to be a pale Avengers clone. The comic fanboys are frothing about Ben Affleck playing Bruce Wayne (I think he will make a FINE vapid, self-absorbed Bruce), but they miss the main point: If the whole movie sucks, then why bother at all?

John said...

The problem I've always seen with Aquaman was the obsession with making him worthy.

Early Aquaman stories are great. He's basically a cowboy. Head out into the badlands. Find some savages (sometimes neatly-dressed savages) exploiting the natural world and/or the people who live off it. Beat the stuffing out of said savages and go home. He's basically bringing "good old American values" to the high seas.

But then, Atlantis became part of the story, making him more protective of his homeland than agent of civilization. And then he became king, making him more King Arthur than Batman. And got a family. And lost a son. And, OK, a lot of that was good reading, and the stories Skeates adapted elsewhere suggest it would have become even more interesting, but it pulled him away from the super-cowboy niche into something that makes for a terrible adventure story.

What's odd is that they kept this up until pop culture was becoming accepting of the monarch who has adventures and brings democracy to the world...as long as it's outside the kingdom. Rather than make him DC's answer to He-Man or the Thundercats, they fold the series and make him the full-time leader of the JLA...for about twenty minutes, in order to make the Martian more important.

(It probably didn't help that his "job" in Super-Friends was usually to keep the Invisible Jet running.)

And then DC did the absolute worst thing possible, Aquaman became entirely about his his origin, which (borrowing from your post a little ways back) is a very Marvel thing to do. From leaving Detroit until the hook hand, I'm pretty sure that he didn't appear in more than a couple of stories that weren't about "improving" the origin story, as if that's the problem. And since then, the character has basically been sputtering along, trying to find its footing, mostly by trying to change the genre of the stories.

And now the entire purpose of the character is that nobody respects him, either by making that the plot...or by turning him into an animated Teddy Roosevelt.

Personally, I think the cowboy approach is still the way to go. Forget about Atlantis and royalty, and remake him as an action hero who happens to be a lot more powerful in the water.

Redforce, as an unapologetic Joss Whedon fan, I thought the Avengers movie was nonsensical garbage, top to bottom. No motivation, no plot, not even any actual adventure. Best I could figure was that Loki didn't need any actual plan, so he was just going with the flow to piss everybody off...

Scipio said...

I agree with the cowboy analysis (have used it myself). However, the current team just may be headed toward having their cake and eating it too. It's MERA who's running Atlantis, while Aquaman stays abroad superheroing.

John said...

Could be, and we'll see, but I worry the presence of Atlantis is a siren call (so to speak) to every writer to get him back there to get involved in the politics. Once established, it's hard to pass up the "King Arthur" connection, just like it's hard to pass up finding yet another Kryptonian survivor. It also does a disservice to have the poor guy's background stay identical to every other aquatic hero.

The approach I've wanted for a while is for Curry to be an oceanographer who taps into powers after contacting an extradimensional Atlantis that cuts off contact and ditches their ousted Queen Mera.

Maybe that's just me, though. Maybe normal readers get really excited about the strategy sessions with Vulko and/or a dozen mediocre sidekicks with self-esteem problems. Like your original post says, his lack of popularity makes Aquaman pretty popular...

Dalle Robberts said...

Indie/folk/alt musicians LOVE Aquaman. Everyone who thinks "Oh why doesn't anyone appreciate my specialness and why do the girls always go for the BMOCs like Batman and Superman *heavy sigh*?" looks to Aquaman as their lyrical avatar.

Which may change once the Ant-Man movie comes out...

thegameiam said...

There is also the Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" with a short but respectable shout-out to Aquaman.

SallyP said...

I...I had no idea that these songs even existed!

I lead a sheltered life.

Joshua Roots said...

Looks like I'll be creating an Aquaman playlist....

Diabolu Frank said...

You missed the very fine Luke Daab combo of "Child of a Lighthouse Keeper" and "Oceans Rise" available here...


Diabolu Frank said...

...oh, and did I forget to mention the Vibe song by Daniel Cynical Adams, because that's there too?