Randy Newman's "You've Got A Friend In Me": Why This Song Sucks (Movie Theme Song Edition)
[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]
Song: Randy Newman's "You've Got A Friend In Me"
History: "You've Got A Friend In Me" is the theme song from Toy Story. It came out in 1995. Teenagers pretended like they didn't like the song then, even though they totes liked it authentically. Today, those same people pretend to like it authentically, even though they're totes only doing so ironically. The fuckin' Internet, man. It's making assholes of us all.
Because somehow there didn't exist a picture of Woody's head on Tupac's body with a "Totes Life" tattoo.
Atmospherics: Like wonky, loopy, feather-lite jazz; like wobbly-voiced tomfoolery; like Randy Newman's lips are mad at each other and the words are stumbling over each other to get out of the way.
Scientific Analysis: Let's all not pretend like we weren't sitting there absolutely awestruck at the end of Toy Story 3 when the toys were seconds away from being incinerated, like we all weren't millimeters from tears when they all decided they were ready to die, like that wasn't one of the most compelling movie moments of all-time. Let's not do that.
But let's also not pretend "You've Got A Friend In Me" is a scientifically valid. Because it's not. Dispute being little more than a couple of minutes long, it is fat with curiosities. Let's start with the lyrics:
"When the road looks rough ahead, and you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed, you just remember what your old pal said: Boy, you've got a friend in me."
Oh, cool. Thanks. But you know what might help a little more if I'm miles and miles from my nice warm bed? A GODDAMN CAR, is what.
"If you've got troubles, I've got 'em too. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you."
This one isn't necessarily a misstep lyrically so much as it's a missed opportunity to really spice up plot development. How about this: How about if one day, say maybe when Andy is 17, he comes home all distressed and shit. We learn that his girlfriend, Paige, is pregnant. She's devoutly against abortion, which is especially troubling for Andy because he's two weeks away from leaving for college. He grew up in a single parent household* and has made it out unscathed; he knows that if he skates town the kid could end up in the slums. He can't live with that on his brain. So he approaches Woody and asks him to watch over baby. What does Woody do then? Where's THAT Toy Story? Toy Story 4: Woody Raises A Baby That Isn't His. Cut the check, Pixar. That's a hit.
*This has to be the most least discussed part of the Toy Story series. And ostensibly it's bold and progressive, because other animated films in the mid-'90s weren't doing anything like that. But I watched Snow White recently with my sons and fuck that. That shit is mad wicked, yo. There's one part where the antagonist hands one of her henchmen a box and tells him to FILL IT WITH SNOW WHITE'S HEART. HER HEART, CHILLBROS. I mean, that's a gangster-ass move. And do you even remember how the movie ends? WITH THE DWARFS MURDERING HER. Jesus, kids today are total pussies.
"Some other folks might be a little bit smarter than I am, bigger and stronger too."
I tried a sales pitch like this one on a female once. Romantic as it seems, it's still mostly unappetizing. I'm saying, love is great and all, but if we get accosted downtown by an aggressive homeless man, love isn't going to keep a girl safe.
(I) It is SO much fun to say "totes."
(II) Toy Story 3 was rockfuckingsolid. If you don't think I went home and played Toy Story with my sons hardcore after we watched IT, then I don't even know.
(III) For real, someone should go through all of those old animated movies/books and chronicle all of the bizarre/insane/racist things that happen. So crazy.
(IV) I desperately want to be an MMA fighter, if only to give the pre-fight interview and be like, "Well, Joe, what I lack in size, strength, talent, tenacity, agility, coordination, fight game planning, meanness, athletic ability, raw vigor, ability to withstand pain and just general manliness, I make up for in heart."
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