True film music fans don’t simply pop in CDs, select their favorite tracks and add them to their playlists. They read the CD inserts, they take in all the pretty artwork, they look at the track list with interest. And sometimes they are met by greatly humorous track titles.
Are these soundtracks for highly comedic movies? Interestingly, no. Usually, comedy soundtracks are just as straight-faced in their presentation as any other soundtrack. For instance, the track titles of John Morris’ classic Spaceballs score are nothing but descriptive and to-the-point. This is because the producers of these CDs are not the writers or directors of the movies and it’s not their job to have a sense of humor.
Some composers, on the other hand, do flex their comedic muscles when allowed to produce their own soundtracks. Two names rise to the occasion : Don Davis and Michael Giacchino. And they do so regardless of the movies in question.
The puns are not always first-class (such as Davis’ “She’s Not Hungary for Food” and “Dog Speed” in House of Frankenstein, or his “Barbara Cadabara” in The Unsaid, or Giacchino’s “Lithe or Death” in The Incredibles or his “Heist to See You” in Ratatouille or even his “Vroom and Board” in Speed Racer) but that is irrelevant. The mere fact that the composers went out of their way to be playful is more important than the groan-inducing results. Otherwise, someone would’ve put a stop to Michael Giacchino’s never-ending opus of puns in his numerous soundtracks for Lost a long time ago.
Sometimes the alliterative tongue twister is the choice of the day, such as Davis’ “Nascent Nauseous Neo” in The Matrix or his “Tracker Très Terrible” in Behind Enemy Lines (among many others on that same CD), or Giacchino’s “Pterodactyl Ptemper Ptantrum” in Land of the Lost. Other times, it’s genuinely clever, such as “The Mother of All Motherships” in Davis’ Invasion. But most people will appreciate the innuendos best, as they abound in Don Davis’ lesbian-flavored titles for the film Bound. One thing is clear: for these two goofball composers, the music itself is never too serious or sacred not to play with its titles.
Why do it? The truest answer is assuredly: why not? But there’s more to it. It’s already rare enough that people actually talk about a soundtrack as “the hot new thing.” When a new CD already destined for greatness like Giacchino’s Star Trek becomes all the more talked about because of its silly track titles like “Nero Death Experience”, “Hack to the Future” and “Hangar Management”, how can that be a bad thing? Whatever can show the world that film music is a cool and groovy thing is commendable, even through stupid puns.