Building off the momentum of their take on Toto’s immortal jam, “Africa,” Weezer surprised fans and haters alike with last week’s release of the Teal Album, a collection of cover songs. Whether you enjoy or dislike this new record, it’s brought cover tunes back into the conversation in a big way. I personally love covers when they bring something new and interesting to the table, especially when the band covering them is able to make the song their own.
With that in mind, and since I’m a total nerd, I thought this would be a fun time to spotlight some superhero and comic book-related covers that I dig and think deserve another listen! I wanted to go with some lesser-known tracks for this list, so classic cuts like The Ramones’ “Spider-Man” were left out. Without further ado, let’s get started with…
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” – Bonded By Blood (orig. Chuck Lorre & Dennis C. Brown)
Is there a more iconic Saturday morning theme song than this one? The classic TMNT theme (yes, written by THAT Chuck Lorre, creator of The Big Bang Theory!) set the standard for cartoon themes that straight-up told you what each characters’ deal was, including whether or not they were down to party. Recommended to me by fellow AiPT! Science Editor/total madman Russ Dobler, this version flips the original bop on its head with a thrash metal take that I’m assuming sounds basically like the inside of Casey Jones’ head. GOONGALA.
“Batman Theme” – The Who (orig. Neal Hefti)
Yes, The Who covered the theme song from the classic ’66 Batman television series and it sounds exactly like you’d expect. In a slight departure from the more surf rock-oriented sound of Neal Hefti’s original recording, this recording favors more jangly guitars and a bit of a bluesier swagger. Originally released on their EP Ready Steady Who, The Who manage to make this song sound like it was always one of their own. Don’t worry, they still belt out the title character’s name in a way that makes you want to pump your fist and shout, “atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed!”
“Burn” – Murder F.M. (orig. The Cure)
The original “Burn” served as the de facto theme song for 1994’s The Crow. It was a slow-burning (pun unintentional) jam that pushed the 7-minute mark and is a deep cut favorite for many Cure fans, myself included. Horror rock outfit Murder F.M. build off insistent drum beat of the original song’s intro and turn their version into more of a march. It’s a moody cover with clear reverence for the original, yet it strays just enough to stand out.
“Wonder Woman Main Theme” – Tina Guo (orig. Junkie XL/Hans Zimmer/Rupert Greyson-Williams)
Incorporating elements from the Junkie XL/Hans Zimmer score for Batman v Superman and Rupert Greyson-Williams’ Wonder Woman score, (specifically, the main motif from “Is She With You?”), this hard rock-tinged, electric cello-led jam deserves a place on your next gym playlist. If you can listen to this without wanting to conquer the world or run headfirst into the nearest battlefield, then you and I will never understand one another.
“X-Men” – Powerglove
The 90s X-Men cartoon had arguably the most riff-tastic theme song of any superhero cartoon in history, something that instrumental power metal maestros Powerglove picked up and ran with. The result is a veritable Brotherhood of Evil Riffs, a djent-y three and a half minutes of pure awesome. (And yes, they keep that rad church bell sound!)
“The Man with X-Ray Eyes” – Black Canary (orig. Bauhaus)
This one’s a bit different, in that it’s not a cover of a song ABOUT a superhero. Instead, this one is a cover SUNG by a superhero! In 2016, DC Comics released an EP of songs by the fictional band Black Canary as a tie-in with the first trade paperback volume of Brendon Fletcher, Annie Wu, and Pia Guerra’s Black Canary. The EP, featuring vocals from Caveboy’s Michelle Bensimon, sounds like the angsty ’80s lovechild of Metric and Siouxsie and the Banshees. I love everything about it, especially this exceptional Bauhaus cover that feels bouncier than the original, yet loses none of its menace.
Hope you dug the tunes! What are some of your favorite superhero cover songs? Let me know, because I’d love to put together a playlist of them!