[List] - 8 Nerd Songs

I've never been a fan of musicals. I've always felt that if you've got something for the characters to say, have them get to the point and just say it. That way they don't have to waste time rhyming. Counter to that argument is Abed's line from the Community christmas episode: "I'll understand every scene/'Cuz they'll sing what they mean/ Instead of making a face."
But, I do like music. Some music. It depends on what it is, and the context of use. Use of a well placed song can elevate a scene in a movie or episode by accenting the themes or emotions without overpowering the senses (see Breaking Bad's use of Crystal Blue Persuasion last year). For the opposite effect, see the CW's standard "no background silence" policy.

Nerd properties have a tendency to either birth or inspire a lot of music. And because perhaps the defining characteristic of the nerd is their ability to love (shut up, obsession is a kind of love), the nerd song has the potential to express more heartfelt affection for the subject matter then any rock anthem about Suzy, or Rosie, or Angie or Layla ever could. And the potential for fellow nerds to return that affection for the song is equally great.

Here are eight songs that have sprung forth from the great chasm of nerdom, that burrow into the ear and play themselves into our hearts, or something. Hit the jump for the list.

The Rains of Castamere

Also known as the Lannister song, it is easily the best song George R.R. Martin wrote for his Song of Ice and Fire. From a narrative point of view, it concisely illustrates Tywin's personality, is memorable, and haunting. Martin's use of the lyrics inter cut with the descriptions of a certain event part way through A Storm of Sword that shall, for the sake of spoilers, remain nameless for now, is powerful and blood chilling. The National's version of the song, used in last season's Blackwater, and again in this season's first promo, is slow, melodious, and respectful.  Personally though, I've always preferred The Bear and the Maiden Fair myself ("there once was a bear, a bear, A BEAR...").

Bill Nye the Science Guy

To an entire generation of children, this is the song that means science. The repetitive, almost pulmonary beat of the theme gets into the head and breeds. That's not to discount all the other science parodies that ended each episode, which as with Eric Idle's entry on this list, suggest one of the easiest ways to get people interested (or at least educated) about science is to do so in verse.

Ramble On

I was going to include Misty Mountains Cold, as heard recently in the Hobbit, and is probably the finest song (of the many) that Tolkien wrote for his Middle-Earth. But Ramble On deserves it more. Here is one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time, at the height of their commercial success and popularity, and they're singing about Gollum and Mordor and "the evil one," undoubtedly referencing Sauron, who seem obsessed with stealing this guy's girl. The bastards. That'd be like... um, hold on... OK, something called a "Katy Perry" singing about... sparkly vampires... yes, that'll work. People forget how much the current popularity of the Lord of the Rings depended on the interest hippies took to it in the sixties and seventies. The Beatles even wanted to make a film version starring themselves, at one point. Which obviously would have sucked and been awesome in equal amounts

Still Alive

Just as Portal may well be one of the greatest video games in the history of the medium (no hyperbole there; the original is practically perfect), the song that caps it all off is delightfully deranged, succinct and addictive. The upbeat, cheerful tune and presumably positive refrain is twisted and dark and in keeping with the game's overall tone. It also serves as one of the best gloating villain speeches in any medium, as the final lines reveal that the work of the game has been for nought. The followup, to both the game and the song, never had a chance.

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

A lot can be said of the 2005 film adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Much of it, judging from the fan's response, negative. I tend to view it as I view every single other version of Douglas' idea: it has much that works, much that doesn't and some that just sits there, like a stool with no cushion. The opening musical number, done in extravagant 1930's style, is often pointed to as a sign of the doom of the film, or a sign of its brilliance. I admit to being surprised and a little put off by it at first, but like so much lichen, it has grown on me over the years. I think points need to be given for being able to turn such an odd phrase into a song at all.

Special mention has to go to The Eagles Journey of the Sorcerer, better known as the theme to the TV series, and forever linked as the music of the Guide.

Galaxy Song

Eric Idle's interstellar interlude from the Meaning of Life is one of those things that really should be shown in science classes. Heard, rather, to avoid the great galactic vagina, but still. The data given in the song was close enough at the time (he tended to round up), and further research has actually confirmed some of his initial "errors." Add to this his recent rewrite giving the song a biological focus, and you've got two scientifically minded piece of music with a satirical edge that get across huge ideas easily. All that remains now is for the two songs to be mixed together in a single massive "Science Song." Get on that, internet.

The Saga Begins

Pretty much any Weird Al song could be included on this list. His entire career is a love song to music geekiness, especially his original compositions done in the overarching style of a certain band, which would require an obsessive level of understanding of their creative choices, combined with a love of the absurd and food. But The Saga Begins wins the prize for one important reason: Al wrote it, to the tune of American Pie (possibly the geekiest song about the history of music), before Episode I was released. It details the entire plot of the film, and was, if Al is to be believed, written entirely from internet rumour and speculation. Al was allowed to watch the film before the release just to make certain he had gotten everything right. Keep in mind, this was the late nighties, when the internet still heavily relied on AOL keywords, and blogs weren't yet a thing. If Hercules were in the modern day, scraping that much real information off of late 20th century message boards would have been his first task.

Ballad of Bilbo Baggins

It is not a good song, by any practical means. It is not a memorable song, and not the song you would expect to hear anyone in your office space whistling. But it is a song sung by Mr. Spock about Bilbo Baggins, and for that alone it deserves a place with the rest.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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