There are two super important pieces of information that you may have missed as you frantically finished buying, wrapping and trading your presents this holiday season. First: The Powerpuff Girls is getting a reboot in 2014, returning to Cartoon Network for a one-night special on January 14th. AWESOME. Second: Ringo Starr will make an appearance in the show as a character named Fibonacci Sequins, “Townsville’s most famous flamboyant mathematician.”
Bubbles, Blossom, Buttercup, and Beaucoups of Blues? Ringo Starr? Math puns? CGI?! The creators of this special thought of literally everything. But really, putting any beloved musician behind an animated character is a recipe for success and at least somewhat decent ratings, which is why showrunners are doing it all the time. Here are five other artists who lent their voices to cartoons “ either as a fictional character or as a stylized version of themselves.
1. Busta Rhymes as Reptar
While he wasn’t the man behind Reptar in the animated series, Busta Rhymes voiced the Reptar Wagon the precocious tots take to run away from their parents in the first full-length Rugrats movie. The rapper also recorded a song for the film’s soundtrack called “On Your Marks, Get Set, Ready, Go.” It’s no “Break Ya Neck,” but it is pretty adorable.
Tim Kinsella, the Chicago-based musician who accidentally helped invent what we know as emo while cutting his teeth in bands like Cap’n Jazz and Joan of Arc, just released one of the more interesting collaborations he’s done since the ’90s. Tim Kinsella Sings The Songs Of Marvin Tate By LeRoy Bach Featuring Angel Olsen finds Kinsella and ex-Wilco member LeRoy Bach setting the poems of fellow Chicago native Marvin Tate to music. And fear not, emo kids, they’re all pretty damn sad.
Kinsella and Bach aren’t the first musicians to lend their talents to preexisting poems. In fact, we could have compiled a list featuring hundreds of singers who have quoted writers, but we tried to reel it in. For time’s sake, you can check out four of our favorite music and poetry connections after the jump. And while you’re at it, pick up a copy of TKSTSOMTBLBFAO. Its title may be a mouthful, but its tracks are beautifully short, simple, and sparse, perfectly complimenting Tate’s stark and sometimes abrasive words.
1. Vladimir Nabokov and The Menzingers
Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov may be most famous for penning Lolita, but it’s Pale Fire, his 1962 novel/999-line poem, that featured what is likely Nabokov’s most well-known couplet:
I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure in the window pane
Definitely the most beautiful thing that anyone has ever written about birds flying into windows. Anyway, Scranton, PA’s The Menzingers quoted those lines almost verbatim during the bridge of “The Obituaries,” and while the rest of the song’s lyrical content has little to do with Pale Fire, the emotional impact of Nabokov’s words aren’t lessened at all. In fact, they compliment the track so well, it seems that the writer may have missed out on his calling as a punk lyricist.
Let me just bypass the whole “record industry is failing” and “illegal downloading is on the rise” introduction. We all know that professional musicians need to get paid, but this means finding new means of doing so other than record sales and royalties. Over the past 5 to 10 years it has become increasingly apparent that music can be used as a marketing tool”one that can help sell products by adding a coolness factor or a down-to-earth credibility to advertisements that says “hey, we know what you like.” In the past, allowing your music to be used in advertisements or by big corporations for financial gain was known as “selling out.” Now it seems like this might just be survival. (more…)
Pony Boy, the brainchild of Marchelle Bradanini, is a self-described “junkyard country” group that sounds like a dusty old Ford rumbling down a deserted road. Having already put in time as a member of the eclectic Bedtime for Toys, Bradanini channeled her rediscovered love of classic country, blues, and Americana into her latest project. We caught up with her to chat about her poetic past, her distaste for manicured pop, and what really separates her from R. Kelly.
OS: You’ve been involved in some eclectic musical projects in the past such as Bedtime for Toys or you DJing project Pony vs. Tiger. What got you interested in the aesthetic of your current band?
MB: I started out just as a girl with a guitar influenced by Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. Then, I ended up starting a band with some friends and that was about playing music that a group of people came up with collectively at a different point in my life. When that band broke up, I was trying to figure out what I was doing next. Oftentimes you get asked to DJ after playing a show, and I had a pretty decent vinyl collection. While I was working out exactly what the solo project would be, I started getting asked to DJ all over the place. The nice thing was that those gigs were for people who wanted rock ‘n’ roll or classic country, and it was a great opportunity to go back and rediscover all of these old, great artists that I love: John Prine, The Allman Brothers, and even Ram Jam [laughs]. There’s the electronic DJ scene, but then there are also people who want to hear actual songs that were initially released on vinyl. Getting into that scene was really great because I got to work on playlists all day. (more…)