Weaponized Music

The other day Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship came on the radio and it got me thinking about the associations we form with certain songs. In this particular case, it made me realize that ever since seeing The Skeleton Twins, whenever I hear it now all I can see is Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig dancing on living room furniture. Associations are powerful. Even if we already have a personal history with a song, a television show or a movie can utilize it in such a way that it wipes out all previous associations. Here are 5 examples of television scenes that took songs I already knew and completely re-wrote what my brain feels when I hear them. I’m sure you all have plenty of these so feel free to share them in the comments!


Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Goodbye to You (Tabula Rasa)

Michelle Branch was big in the early 2000’s. I wasn’t particularly a huge fan but Goodbye to You was catchy. It didn’t evoke any emotion in me but I thought it was a cute pop song. Then someone who worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer said to themselves (I’m assuming), “How I can make it so that any time a Buffy fan hears this song it feels like their heart is being pulled out of their chest?? ...wait, I KNOW!” The result was this scene. Never have I ever been able to hear this song in the 17 (17?? JESUS.) years since without thinking of Giles abandoning his surrogate daughter to return to England, Willow and Tara’s heart-shredding breakup scene, and Buffy’s profound loneliness leading her to make a truly self-destructive choice. Thanks, Tabula Rasa.


Supernatural: Do You Love Me (The End)

I know, I know. Carry On My Wayward Son. Eye of the Tiger. Heat of the Moment. The Holy Trinity of songs that Supernatural has co-opted and now might as well own. But everyone knows those! Those are too easy. So I thought about another really great one that hasn’t been talked about as much. The only music my mom and I could agree on while I was growing up was oldies, so I heard this song A LOT. But SPN used it in such an awesome and unexpected way (in one of its best episodes of all time) that now this is what the song is to me. Running from Croatoans (SPN’s version of zombies) and getting rescued by a bunch of post-apocalyptic soldiers. Who knew this song could be so fucking badass?? Well Ben Edlund, I guess.


It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Just a Friend (Dennis and Dee go on Welfare)

Oh boy is this show a multiple offender for song associations, usually hilarious and sometimes awful. There were so many to choose from. Motownphilly, Vacation, Jessie's Girl (OH MY GOD THIS ONE), I Can’t Wait, Hollaback Girl, Take My Breath Away, Pretty Woman, Runaway Train... the list goes on and on. In the end I went with this one because it was the first of the many songs the show would use to create ridiculous new associations in my head. Dennis and Dee’s failed attempt to go on welfare and their subsequent crack addiction was one of the funniest things the show has done and now, goddamn it, a song I have always loved makes me think of these two assholes getting day-drunk and thinking they could play the system so that they never had to work again. The end when they turn the song up while Mac yells at them cracks me up every time. These goddamn assholes.


Black Mirror’s San Junipero: Heaven is a Place on Earth

I almost want to tell you not to watch this video if you have not seen the episode because this scene is so moving and profound if you have, but if you haven’t then it’s just sort of cute. The first time I watched San Junipero this scene made me weep. And a previously boppy, fun 80’s song now makes me tear-up thinking about a love story between two women that a television show developed beautifully, and that WAS ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO END HAPPILY. It was a bittersweet story overall but the ending was uplifting and glorious. And the choice of this song was perfection. If you have not seen it, please head over to Netflix and fix that.


Sense8: What’s Up (What's Going On?)

This 4Non-Blondes song now forever belongs to this show in my mind, and after Linda Perry showed up to the premiere of the series finale at the ArcLight theater in Hollywood and let the audience join her onstage to sing along with it, it belongs to the fans as well. I’ve mentioned previously that whenever all of the Sense8s appear in the same scene it is the best thing 100% of the time, and this is no exception. These pockets of joy in the show were always so well-placed and carried the audience through the tougher times. I used to like What’s Up because it reminded me of the 90’s, now I love it because it brings me actual joy remembering this scene (P.S. Kala and Wolfgang forever).

So, what song associations have been created, altered, or ruined for you by television??

Lyrics That Healed Me: Fall Out Boy Edition

I have a confession, I may be stuck in 2005. Yes back when iPods were a lot bigger, Rhapsody was still a thing, and I spent hours on end listening to a song I didn't know by a band I didn't know on repeat.

That band was Fall Out Boy.

Fast forward to the present and that obsession only grew over time. What still keeps me a Fall Out Boy stan in 2K18?

That's right, ladies and gentleman, the lyrics.

I'm a word nerd, which you probably know by now, since I do the writing thing. But something about someone who can just...word *heart eyes*

Some lyrics just stick with you forever. Let's look at some of the Fall Out Boy lyrics that actually helped me get through some rough times.


"You are what you love, not who loves you"

This lyric was majorly important in a time where I made a decision to distance myself from toxic people for my own mental health. However, toxic people rarely see it this way and use many manipulation tactics to make you feel unlovable. This lyric was my mantra for a good year.


"Put on Your War Paint"

Another long used mantra of mine. When I was nervous or about to walk into a stressful situation, I could just say, "Quinzel, it's time to put on your war paint" and I was ready to go.


"I Don't Just Want To Be A Footnote in Someone Else's Happiness"

While the song is mainly about an extramarital affair, being a footnote in someone else's happiness can apply to many different situations. This lyric was a wake-up call for me and helped me nope out of a lot of one-sided relationships.


"Before It Gets Better The Darkness Gets Bigger The Person That You'd Take A Bullet For Is Behind The Trigger"

As painful as this lyric is, there's something refreshing when your feelings are put into words. When dealing with betrayal of any kind, it can be hard to access your feelings besides hurt and anger. This lyric made me feel less alone.


"May The Bridges That I Burn Light The Way Back Home"

Mmm, yes. Toxic people I have walked away from took it as my Walk of Shame. Quinzel will be back. Quinzel can't survive on her own. She doesn't wanna burn her bridges with us.

Well, guess what, bitches? I got matches.


"I'm A Stitch Away From Making It And And A Scar Away From Falling Apart"

At times I feel simultaneously ok and not ok. I feel like I'm so close to the finish line but I cannot take on another boss fight I'm tired and determined. I'm discouraged but riding on faith all at the same time.

And I can feel not ok and everything still feel ok. Ya know?


So there you have it. Been loving Fall Out Boy for over a decade and quite loving the heck out of the lyrics. Are there any Fall Out Boy lyrics that I didn't list here that healed you? What other lyrics from other bands have healed you? Sound off and leave us a comment

80’s Music Wednesday

Because I have the terrible knack of quoting 80's song lyrics in regular conversation, this week's pick was inspired by discussions from this week. Enjoy some Jody Watley and Looking For A New Love. Happy New Year's, everyone!

80’s Music Wednesday

I love the 80's, especially, for moments such as this. Television was utilized so well back in the day. It is amazing. I kind of miss those days.

Enjoy, Billy Squier's Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You.

80’s Music Wednesday

I give you Wham's Last Christmas, because "Tis the Season," and it's my birthday. I can play Wham if I want to.

80’s Music Wednesday

If you asked my very tiny, child self what my jams were, this would definitely be on that list. I used to belt out what words I knew and some that sounded close enough to my tiny ears. This is damn near an essential 80's track. I give to you Belinda Carlisle's Heaven Is A Place On Earth.


80’s Music Wednesday

It's October 1st. Let us commence with the Halloween fun!! I am a huge Halloween person and have dedicated a lot of time over the last six years perfecting a randomized collection of songs from the strongly themed to the "hanging by a thread." One thing is that is perfectly clear, however, is when October 1st happens, the first song of the day I play is the same song that gets turned into my ringtone for the month. Oingo Boingo's Dead Man's Party. I look at it as the second best Halloween song ever, the first will be saved for the last Wednesday of the month.

If you don't know who Danny Elfman is then you have been living under a rock. This man is one of biggest composers of our time. This is the man responsible for the Batman theme. Younger generations may be scratching your heads, because you can't remember Christian Bale running around to any theme. You would be correct in that thought, but I am talking about the badass music that has become Batman itself from Tim Burton's 1989 movie. It was so badass, it got used as the theme for the opening credits of the 90's animated series. Elfman is a genius. He touches everything that Tim Burton comes up with. I'm just going to set down Nightmare Before Christmas and walk away slowly.

Before that fateful day he was hired by Burton to score Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, he was fronting this band. The song was also featured in the movie Back to School as well as the band itself during an epic party scene. This is one of my favorite 80's songs, period, but nothing gets me in the Halloween spirit quite like this track. Enjoy!


80’s Music Wednesday

After going to see Guardians of the Galaxy for the second time, I felt it appropriate to utilize this favorite 80's track. As Bonnie Tyler was Holding Out For a Hero, so was everyone getting behind Peter Quill. It is with great pleasure that I present Footloose by Kenny Loggins.

80’s Music Wednesday

I dare you not to bob along to this fantastic 80's track. It deserves to be blared loudly and sung along to at the top of your lungs. Try it, you'll see what I mean. I present to you Brand New Lover by Dead or Alive.

80’s Music Wednesday

Thought it was time for a little hair band rock. While I love Def Leppard, this song will now and for always remind me of Dean Winchester. If a car could saunter like its owner, that's what it would have been doing when he jammed this song as he rolled up to interrupt probably the biggest the world had ever seen, but that's why I love that man. Enjoy, Def Leppard's Rock of Ages.