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2017-10-14

Nerd Rated: Songs About Spider-Man

You need more than dual Ludwig Silver Sparkle kicks to swing like a spider, man.

Welcome to "Nerd Rated", a new segment where I rate things of allegedly nerdy stature.

This article tackles songs that claim to be about Spider-Man.

Here’s how this works:
I’m including songs that suggest a connection to Spider-Man, either in the title or the lyrics, and unlike some Internet outlets I’m not including TV show or movie theme songs because, come on, that’s just lazy.

Oh, and I’m not embedding from Youtube because the videos will probably be deleted for copyright infringement, so all links go to Spotify.

Each song gets a short review explaining what it’s about and why you might want to listen to (or avoid) it. Each song also gets three ratings. Replay value is totally subjective. Heroic stature is based on how well the song captures the comic book hero mythos, but in some cases a song can score higher if it has other heroic elements. Nerd cred is basically a measure of how nerdy the song is, and may count nerdy elements beyond the comic book such as making references to trigonometry or Tolkien.

Black Lips "Spidey's Curse"
Did you know Peter Parker was molested in a PSA comic book?
He was.
And Black Lips made a song about it?
Indeed they did.
“Peter Parker’s life is so much darker, better tell Aunt May.”
Yeah, maybe it’s not the most profound commentary on comics…or molestation. The song lacks the edge Black Lips are known for, but there’s still a pretty dark line in the middle where the teacher looked at everyone and "she saw that our hearts were gone." I think my favorite part is the voiceover at the end--which in my headcanon is a commentary on the satanic influences of Dungeons & Dragons on popular music, but you can draw your own conclusions. 
Replay value: 5/10
Heroic stature: 7/10
Nerd cred: 8/10

Katrina and the Waves “Spiderman”
“People can tell me he’s not real, but I go crazy for that silk and steel.”
This paean to falling in love with the heroic ideal could be a metaphor for unrealistic romantic expectations, or just as easily literal. I like to believe it’s literal, much more entertaining that way. There’s not much here to analyze in terms of lyrics, so just let the drums march the song forward through the simple chorus: Spiiiiiiiiiiderman.
Replay value: 5/10
Heroic stature: 4/10
Nerd cred: 2/10

Veruca Salt “Spiderman '79”
“I’d like to pin you down and tack you to the wall.”
Hmm, does this qualify as a villain song?
Where Katrina and the Waves fall in love with the wall crawler, Veruca Salt may just want him dead. It’s a brooding, heavy track full of metal and fuzz and eight kinds of guitar distortion that isn’t really about Spider-Man the comic book hero at all, but someone should really make a dark comic book series about the narrator “streaked in grease and grime and idle mouths.”
Replay value: 7/10
Heroic stature: 3/10
Nerd cred: 2/10

FUTURISTIC “Spiderman”
“Fire like the Phoenix…when cats start biting I call in Blade.”
This is perfect name-dropping hip hop, weaving an arsenal of Marvel heroes and villains into the flow, and to cap it all off, FUTURISTIC samples audio from the old Spider-Man animated series, just in case you doubted his passion for the webslinger. While the song’s really about FUTURISTIC’s lyrical prowess, not the wall crawler, the fact that he slots Eddie Brock effortlessly into his flow means he’s not bragging.
Replay value: 10/10
Heroic stature: 6/10
Nerd cred: 10/10

Ramsey Lewis “What's the Name of This Funk (Spider-Man)”
This is about as funky as you can get--I think that’s a Moog SubFatty in the low end of the mix there--and the song’s definitely something that could go on the playlist for a road trip, but it’s a bit of a con because the only comic book connection is Spider-Man’s name. If I close my eyes, I can imagine Peter Parker swinging between the buildings…in platform boots.
Replay value: 8/10
Heroic stature: 1/10
Nerd cred: 1/10

They Might Be Giants “Spider”
Yeah, this song’s not about Spider-Man at all, but I couldn’t find another place to put this astounding title tune for a TV show that never existed.
Replay value: 9/10
Heroic stature: 7/10
Nerd cred: 10/10 (They Might Be Giants is about as nerdy as a band gets)

Bonus (just in time for Halloween)
The Cure “Lullaby”
Beware: this song is deceptive on so many levels. The pizzicato strings and Smith’s whispered, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ‘S’,” might make you wonder if this is simply an off-kilter children’s song. There’s definitely a Spiderman, but he’s got nothing to do with Peter Parker. No, this Spiderman is hungry, and he’s having Robert Smith for dinner tonight, and I don’t mean as a guest. This is one of my favorite gothic horror tunes of all time, if for no other reason than the line, “I feel like I’m being eaten by a thousand million shivering furry holes.” Did I mention that Robert Smith’s on the menu?
Replay value: 10/10
Heroic stature: 1/10
Nerd cred: 3/10  Goth cred: 11/10

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