For the first time since 2010, N.E.R.D. is finally releasing new material. They're on the soundtrack for the upcoming The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, in theatres February 6. Pharrell Williams and his partners, Chad Hugo and Shae Haley, are releasing three songs for the album, including “Squeeze Me,” which can be heard here. N.E.R.D. hasn't been the only band to lend their voices to an animated movie. Let's take a trip down Space Jam Lane and check out the top 10 soundtracks from a cartoon.
10. Heavy Metal: This anthology of Heavy Metal magazine's science fiction and fantasy tales not only is a cult classic but one of the best movie soundtracks from the 1980s. Not to mention it's a classic rock love fest – Stevie Nicks, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Cheap Trick, Nazareth. It also has a good mix of bands that were current during that time-- like Devo and Journey, whom I'm not the biggest fan of, but eh, it's “Open Arms,” and I can't help but love that song.
9. The Little Mermaid: This might be on my list because of one song. I'm talking about “Part of Your World,” of course! “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl” are also honorable mentions. The soundtrack from the 1989 Disney film was certified platinum six times and is a bonafide classic. All music was composed by Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards for the film's music.
8. Pokemon: The First Movie: This soundtrack, contrary to the film's dramatic tone, is bubbly '90s pop goodness. M2M, a girl group looking straight out of a Delia's catalog, were featured with their hit that totally has something to do with being a Pokemon trainer, “Don't Say You Love Me." There are more '90s gems you can catch (no pun intended. OK, maybe a little) on the soundtrack-- Vitamin C, B*Witched, 98 Degrees, Aaron Carter and even Billie Piper, who was a pop singer before her Doctor Who days. Christina Aguilera, N'Sync and Britney Spears also make an appearance on the '90s-tastic album.
7. Aladdin: Another Alan Menken Disney classic, you can't go wrong with Aladdin. Our favorite street rat, Aladdin, and his wish-granting genie make one of the most memorable soundtracks in the Disney catalog. “One Jump Ahead”? Need I say more? Menken and lyricist Tim Rice shared a Grammy award win, as well as an Oscar for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. All for “A Whole New World” (of course).
6. The LEGO Movie: Everything is awesome!!! Especially this soundtrack, thanks to Tegan and Sara's ridiculously catchy song with the Lonely Island that became a notable hit in 2014. Not only did Tegan and Sara and the Lonely Island have a hit, but I'd like to think Lego Batman's song, “Untitled Self Portrait,” was also a fan favorite.
5. Space Jam: 1996 and 1997 were the years of the Space Jam soundtrack. The first single and probably the most popular hit off of the album, “I Believe I Can Fly” by none other than closet trappee R. Kelly, won three Grammy awards and reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1997. Other popular R&B singers like Monica, Seal and D'Angelo also make appearances on the soundtrack. It's a fun collection of songs that will get people dancing and partying at a sports game, even in the present day.
4. Metalocalypse: I'm not a huge fan of metal, but I will always give credit when credit is due. Metalocalypse creator and mastermind Brendon Small's personified cartoon band, Dethklok, from the show has released many volumes of music throughout the years, and as far as guitar technicality and metalness go, it's pretty great. Something to listen to when you're hanging out with your friends on a Friday night. You could just be playing Adult Swim in the background while Metalocalypse is on, but that's only going to be for 15 minutes-- it might just be best to get the The Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera Soundtrack or any of the Death Albums, which are the television show's soundtracks.
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas: This movie and the soundtrack should be something that's passed on to future generations and if it's not, well then, the future youth are totally missing out. I actually watched it for the first time in about 10 years on Christmas this past year and was blown away by the music, more so than I was before. Music supervisor Danny Elfman composed all of the music and even sang for Jack Skellington in the film. “This Is Halloween,” “Jack's Lament,” “What's This?” and “Sally's Song” are key tracks. I know people love the “Oogie Boogie's Song,” too, but I'm not personally too much of a fan. “Kidnap the Sandy Claws” is also an honorable mention, with Pee-wee Herman's Paul Reubens not only playing the role of one of Boogie's boys, Lock, but also singing in that song.
2. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: One of the memories that stands out for me when I was a kid is trying to find a way to watch South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. I was 12 at the time it was released and of course my parents were not fans of the show or the fact that I liked it so much (I still love it and they still hate it, too). So when the movie was available on Pay-Per-View for a couple of weeks, I tried watching it. You couldn't actually see anything on the screen; but for some reason, you could hear it, even if you didn't pay for it. When I got older, I watched it on my own, but since my first experience watching this movie was listening to it, I have a strong affinity for its music. A lot of people think that Trey Parker and Matt Stone are just some dudes who created this cartoon with shockingly bad language, but they're actually very musically talented (see: Tony-winning The Book of Mormon). This was one of the first attempts from Stone and Parker to incorporate music into their work, and the songs they created are part of what makes this movie great-- “Blame Canada,” “It's Easy, M'Kay,” “What Would Brian Boitano Do?” and the delightful “Kyle's Mom's a Bitch." All these songs could be heard in playgrounds throughout the United States in 1999. Also, I'm a musical theater fan, so I loved the references to Les Miserables, especially in the "La Resistance (Medley)." The songs were catchy, funny and actually were actually smart with social commentary, despite the song titles sounding like they were just fluffy, potty-mouth garbage. South Park, to this day, follows that formula-- it seems like just a cartoon about four boys living in a small town cursing and getting into weird things for shock value, but there's actually a lot going on there if you read between the lines. Also, this movie is the reason why whenever I made flyers for my music zine general interest meetings in college, I wrote “punch and pie” at the bottom.
1. Adventure Time: Part of me feels weird to be 27 and loving a cartoon for children, but I can't help it-- I love Adventure Time. Like South Park, you think it's just some cartoon for kids, but if you read between the lines, there's actually a lot going on. Most of the seriousness of the show is incorporated in the music, most of it written by the show's storyboard artist and animator Rebecca Sugar and show creator Pendleton Ward. Probably the best example of this is Marceline's lament, “Fry Song,” about her father eating all the fries he bought that were intended for her when she was a child. It was one of the very few visits with her father during her childhood, and the full song gets very dark and heartfelt toward the end. There's even a Tumblr that has uploaded almost every song on the show (and there are a lot). “Making Bacon Pancakes” and “Punch-a Your Buns” are two other songs from the show that are probably the most popular, but I think my favorite is the song that's played during the credits after every show. I've been trying to get that as a ringtone for about two or three years. These songs, along with the wonderful world of ooo, make Adventure Time the most whimsical, fun and interesting cartoons for children out there right now. The songs are also what makes this show something special, so obviously it has to be my number one.