I don’t know why my brain has kept all the words to the Gilligan’s Island theme song and has deleted everything about triangles. —Jeff Foxworthy
Everyone needs a theme song. You know, just a short 16 bars of something that people hear and know with whom it is associated. Bands and singers have theme songs. Commercials have theme songs. Movies have theme songs. And we all know the tunes to the themes of at least four or five different television shows. Having a song that’s particularly yours is great branding for a business person and a good way for the creative person to stand out. Everyone needs a theme song.
Of course, not just any song works as a theme. Music has to be catchy. If people are to remember the song and associate it with a specific person, then it needs to have a unique hook that grabs hold of a person’s brain and doesn’t let go. Not every song does that. In fact, very few songs manage to meet that criterion at all. Some are too slow. Many are too repetitive. Way too many are just plain sloppy. If you don’t have a song that has the right hook, one that really manages to make you stand out, there’s no point in having one at all.
My particular problem is that I’m a complicated person, not too terribly easy to define. I’m looking at several different choices, but nothing seems to fit.
Songs About Photography
There are a few dozen songs about photography. It’s tough finding one that hasn’t been overused, is too slow, or too damn depressing. Freeze Frame by J. Geils Band, Def Leopard’s Photograph, and the Neil Simon hit Kodachrome are instantly non-contenders because they already represent something/someone else. So, we would have to consider something different. Here’s what’s on my short list.
Picture Book by The Kinks is certainly snappy, even if it is a bit dated (1968). It never was too big a hit so not many people are going to associate it with something/someone else. I think my biggest concern is that the sound might be too thin for what people are accustomed to hearing. Try it out.
Picture Book – Stereo Mix, a song by The Kinks on Spotify
Cameras by Matt & Kim seems to be a contender. I like the jazzy feel that is almost a rhumba. This song is a little newer (2010)and I’m pretty sure only ardent Matt & Kim fans would recognize it.
Cameras, a song by Matt and Kim on Spotify
Into The Lens by Yes is a consideration for the introduction if nothing else. Okay, the song runs eight and a half minutes long, which is a bit much for a theme song. But, it’s Yes and that intro is about as cool as any. Plus, once again, there are only a few people still living who would recognize it.
Into The Lens, a song by Yes on Spotify
The more I think about it, perhaps it might be best if I don’t have a theme song that actually focuses on photography. After all, I do the writing thing, the fashion thing, the advertising thing, and all those other things. There are some good songs that have been used on runways that might make a good theme song. Perhaps I should consider one of those.
What Kind of Man by Florence And The Machine gets on my list for this chorus alone:
And with one kiss
You inspired a fire of devotion that lasts for twenty years
What kind of man loves like this?
Don’t tell me that isn’t theme song material right there. Add that to the way Florence and the Machine rocks the middle of the song and I think we’ve got a potential winner right here.
What Kind Of Man, a song by Florence + The Machine on Spotify
Really Love by D’Angelo could be the song that captures my dark, brooding side. Imagine walking into a room as the discordant strings play behind me. It would definitely get everyone’s attention, I think. The image it projects might be a little more swashbuckling than what I might actually present in person, though. Am I up to the challenge?
Really Love, a song by D’Angelo on Spotify
America’s Sweetheart by Elle King certainly has both the tempo and the attitude I like in a theme song. I think it’s one of those where you turn up the volume and let it blow down the doors before entering the room. In fact, timing one’s entrance to match the lyrics, “What do you want from me?” would probably get astounding results.
America’s Sweetheart, a song by Elle King on Spotify
These would seem to be the most obvious choices, wouldn’t they? There are no lyrics to get in the way, and the melodies are strong enough to stand on their own. These are themes that could really get stuck in a person’s head. Maybe one of these might work.
Anton Dvorák’s Carnival Overture, Op. 92 starts right out the gate sounding as though you might have missed the first few bars. Your ears try to catch up and the next thing you know you’re chasing the melody for the rest of the afternoon. My only concern using this as a theme song is that it may be a bit too busy for some ears.
Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, B. 178 “From the New World”: IV. Allegro con fuoco, a song by Antonín Dvořák, Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic on Spotify
Short Ride in a Fast Machine is a fanfare for orchestra by John Adams. It’s not too long, though we generally think of fanfares as something short and quick. I like the steady driving rhythm that reminds me of a newsroom or the constant scurry of an ad agency.
Short Ride in a Fast Machine, a song by John Adams, Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony on Spotify
Finally, Janácek’s Sinfionetta: Allegretto is a cool fanfare of brass and timpani that isn’t overdone. It’s a little slower than the others, but then, I’m a little slower these days, too. It’s also short enough to play in completion without people getting bored.
Sinfonietta, JW VI/18 : I. Allegretto, a song by Leoš Janáček, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra on Spotify
Which To Choose?
Now you’ve seen, and hopefully heard, my top nine choices. The question remains whether any of these should be my theme song? If so, which one? I think I could run with any of them, potentially. My fear, however, is that after a couple of weeks, hearing it multiple times a day, I’d grow tired of my choice and want a new one. I can be fickle like that. I mean, a long, long time ago, I actually liked You Light Up My Life. I even went to the horrible movie of the same name. I do make decisions that I later regret.
I’m more than happy to accept your vote if you’d like to let me know what it is. You could also make a different suggestion if you felt like it. You won’t though. It is extremely rare anyone clicks on a link. I suppose you’re too busy. Or maybe you’re just not impressed because I don’t have a cool theme song.
That may soon change. Everyone needs a theme song.