It’s been a long ten months since "Game of Thrones" fans last had a new episode to enjoy, but the wickedly popular and feels-causing HBO series is finally back. Season four premieres this Sunday, April 6.
A lot has happened in those ten months. Obsessive television watches got about as close to the acceptance stage of Red Wedding grief as we ever will. We endured a brutal and seemingly endless winter that made us feel like we truly understood the people of Westeros and those years-long winters that Ned Stark spent most of the first season (and, therefore, most of his televised life) warning everyone about. And a group of hip hop stars released a "Game of Thrones"-themed mixtape.
"Catch The Throne," featuring the likes of Big Boi, Common, Daddy Yankee, Wale, and Kilo Kish rapping about Westeros' characters, schemes, slaughters and dragons, is an almost unparalleled work of fandom art. The songs are both genuinely good and genuinely geeky, displaying equal amounts of musical prowess and serious knowledge of the source material.
It's a hard balance to strike. While most major cult TV shows have their fandom-famous acts (heck, "Firefly" music is practically its own genre at this point) and novelty songs, only a select few have crossed over into the music world proper. There are a select few shows like "Twin Peaks," "Doctor Who," and "The X-Files," though, who have made obsessive fans out of a wide range of musicians and inspired them to write some pretty fantastic (or at least perversely fascinating) songs.
We'd like to take this opportunity to celebrate fourteen of our favourites.
"Mother Of Dragons" - Big Boi
<strong>Show: "Game of Thrones" </strong> “Mother of Dragons,” Big Boi’s contribution to "Catch The Throne," is clearly the highlight of the hip hop star-laden mixtape that HBO released in anticipation of the new season of "Game of Thrones" because it features the best rapper on the tape detailing the history of the coolest character on the show (Khaleesi). And also because it includes the line “Fuck the Lannisters and everybody ride with 'em/ Jon Snow and the Night's Watch finna slice some iron in 'em."
"Mulder and Scully" - Catatonia (The X-Files)
<strong>Show: "The X-Files" </strong> Back when things like fanwanking and fan service were just a glimmer in the internet's eye, Welsh alternative band Catatonia gave us this video for their "X-Files" referencing track. In the days before the two FBI agents actually got together on the beloved paranormal show, watching the Mulder and Scully lookalikes make out at the halfway point of the video was the happiest moment of many a young shippers life.
"Doctorin’ The Tardis" - The Timelords (AKA The KLF)
<strong>Show: "Doctor Who"</strong> It's impossible to sum up the genesis and legacy of this Who-influenced track by The Timelords, better known as Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty of KLF fame, so let's just say that it's a wibbly wobbly housey-wousey mashup of the "Doctor Who" theme, Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll (Part Two)," Sweet's "Blockbuster!," Steve Walsh's "Let's Get Together Tonite," and Dalek samples. And it is, to borrow a phrase from the ninth Doctor, fantastic!
"The Prisoner" - Iron Maiden
<strong>Show: "The Prisoner"</strong> One of England's most beloved metal bands tackles one of England's most beloved cult classics in this song about the sixties drama that starred Patrick McGoohan as a spy who finds himself trapped in a bizarre village after quitting his job under mysterious circumstances. The song begins with a clip from the show's opening sequence, which some fans believe contains a clue about its rather controversial finale.
"Twin Peaks" - MC Chris
<strong>Show: "Twin Peaks"</strong> There are plenty of great, non-novelty songs about David Lynch and Mark Frost's iconic prime-time soap about a murdered homecoming queen, a town full of secrets and a fish in the percolator, like You Say Party's "Laura Palmer’s Prom" and Bastille's "Laura Palmer." But none of those songs really touch on important Peaksian hallmarks like pie, owls, and the evilness of Leo's ponytail, which is why this April Fool's release by nerdcore artist MC Chris made this list instead of them.
"NBC Community Rap Alison Brie" - Johnny Wizdom
<strong>Show: "Community" </strong> This song by mostly unknown rapper Johnny Wizdom is really more of a general ode to actress Allison Brie than her character on the internet's favourite sitcom, "Community," but it does include a little bit about Annie and shout outs to the other members of her study group and to Greendale Community College itself. Wizdom also threatens to to beat up Jeff Winger if he ever touches Annie again. Cool, cool, cool.
"The Twilight Zone" - Rush
<strong>Show: "The Twilight Zone" </strong> "Twilight Zone" fan Neil Peart was particularly inspired by two segments from the groundbreaking sci-fi anthology show when he wrote the lyrics to the first single from "2112." The song's verses describe two famous alien invasion plots from the show, Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up? and Stopover In A Quiet Town. Which is a nice change of pace from all of that Ayn Rand stuff permeating the rest of "2112."
"I’ll Never Be Lost Again" - The Injustice League
<strong>Show: "Lost" </strong> "I can't pretend I don't care mane, I'm not like Sawyer," South Carolina hip hop crew The Injustice League rap in this hilarious but heartfelt ballad to "Lost" and everything it meant to them in anticipation of the show’s end. We can imagine that it would have been a very different song had they written it after the polarizing and still much-whined-about finale. And yes, the polar bear makes an appearance.
"Unmarked Helicopters" - Soul Coughing (The X-Files)
Show: "The X-Files" Alterna-jazz rock poets Soul Coughing really channel Fox Mulder's alien and conspiracy paranoia with this track that appeared on the "Songs In The Key of X: Music From And Inspired By The X-Files" compilation and was featured in the "Max" episode of the series. But the band's relationship with the sci-fi franchise didn't end there. Their "16 Horses" was also featured on "The X-Files: The Album," the soundtrack to the 1998 "X-Files" film (aka the "X-Files" film that was actually about "The X-Files").
"The Sound of Drums" - More or Les
<strong>Show: "Doctor Who" </strong> Every track on hip hop MC More or Les' geektastic "Doctor Who"-themed mixtape, Bigger On The Inside, is incredibly thorough, faithful and detailed, but Les takes things to a whole other level with "Sound of Drums." Not only does this song tell the story of The Doctor's greatest nemesis, The Master (most recently played by John Simm), it samples the trademark drumbeat that The Master hears in his head because he looked into the time vortex as a young Timelord and went crazy to do so.
"Mr. Spock" - Nerf Herder
<strong>Show: "Star Trek" </strong> The band who got their name from "Star Wars" and wrote and performed the theme to "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" ingratiated themselves to yet another rabid fandom with this tune inspired by everyone's favourite Vulcan (sorry, Tuvoc) from the "Star Trek" universe. It's not so much about the character from the original "Star Trek" series as it is about a relationship going wrong, but it does feature laser sounds and Spock and Kirk as potential boyfriend archetypes.
"The Fugitive" - Iron Maiden
The Fugitive- Iron Maiden <strong>Show: "The Fugitive" </strong> Long before (OK, a year before) the sixties cult classic "The Fugitive" inspired a film starring Harrison Ford as a man who must go on the run to prove his innocence after he's accused of murdering his wife, it inspired this rather straightforward song by Iron Maiden. Interestingly enough, one of the episodes of the original "Fugitive" show was titled "The Iron Maiden." A clue?!?
"Money To Burn" - GI Joe Killaz
<strong>Show: "GI Joe" </strong> Before Hasbro got involved and made them change their name to The Killaz and drop all allusions to the GI cartoon and their Cobra personas, the GI Joe Killaz wrote and recorded one perfect and brilliantly nerdy album about all of the finer points of being in the world domination-hungry Cobra unit, killing GI Joes, associating with the Arashikage Ninjas and dealing with the increasingly volatile Cobra Commander. "Money To Burn" is particularly impressive for its detailed recollection of the entire plot of an episode of the eighties cartoon show.
"The Opening Title Sequence" - Wale
Show: "Seinfeld" Long before Wale was got in on that "Catch The Throne" action, the rapper released a "Seinfeld"-themed mixtape. "The Mixtape About Nothing" features numerous callbacks to famous "Seinfeld" jokes, clips from the beloved nineties sitcom, a takedown of Michael Richard's (Kramer) infamous n-word rant and an appearance by Selina Meyer (sorry, Elaine Benes) herself, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. "The Opening Title Sequence" samples the instantly recognizable slap bassline from, appropriately enough, the show's opening title sequence.