One of the most universal teen experiences captured by Pixar turn red is in Mei and her friends’ total and utter devotion to 4*Town, the dreamiest fictional boy band of the early years. Risking it all for the chance to hear someone cute sing a song in the same general space as you? Completely understandable!
Animation has given us great fictional bands and, perhaps more importantly, great fictional songs for decades. In honor of 4*Town, here are eight more jams that Mei and her friends would probably really like to dig into.
“Todokanu Omoi (My Friend’s Love)” – The Three Lights, in Sailor Moon (1992-1997)
In the fifth season of the original Sailor Moon anime, Usagi and the team have a lot going on. First, as Senshi, who are these mysterious new Sailor Starlights, and where do they come from? As for everyday teenage girls, what is new pop idol group The Three Lights doing at their high school? Even if you haven’t seen this season, you can probably see where this is heading.
The Sailor Starlights have come from the planet Kinmoku to find their missing princess, and part of their plan is to sing to her under the guise of the Three Lights. “Nagareboshi He (Search For Your Love)” may be their biggest hit of the series, but it falls far short of the infectious banger that is “Todokanu Omoi.” “Todokanu Omoi” also has the added benefit of thematically mirroring one of this season’s most compelling relationships: the possible romance between Usagi and Seiya.
“My Shining Teeth and Me” – Chip Skylark in The Fairly Oddparents (2001-2017)
Look, I think we can all agree that sometimes even the best pop songs can get a little thematically repetitive. Love, romance, heartache… But where are the bops when it comes to dental hygiene? Lucky for Timmy Turner, Dimmsdale singing sensation and heartthrob Chip Skylark (voiced by NSYNC’s Chris Kirkpatrick) understands the value of singing a true story as old as time: the love between a boy and his chompers.
In a season three episode of my godparents are magic, Chip runs into an evil dentist who wants to steal his perfect teeth. With the help of the Tooth Fairy herself, Timmy, Wanda and Cosmo come to save the day in time for Chip to shoot the music video for his new hit. Eat your heart, Justin Timberlake.
“The Night Begins to Shine” – BER in Teen Titans Go! (2013–present)
Who among us doesn’t understand the feeling that all your power comes from one particularly great song? In the episode “40%, 40%, 20%” of The Teen Titans Go!, Cyborg claims that listening to “The Night Begins to Shine” by BER makes everything possible, including his own super heroic endeavors. And it’s hard to argue with him.
This song proves to be not only powerful for Cyborg, but also for fans of the show, and would go on to make more appearances on the show, with covers of Fall out Boy, CeeLo Greenand Puffy AmiYumi.
“Sun Do Shine” – Chanticleer in Rock-a-Doodle (1991)
1991 Rock-a-Doodle was a movie I was sure I made up in a childhood fever dream, so imagine my joy as an adult to find out that it’s real, and more importantly, its songs are still great. Directed by animation legend and Disney renegade Don Bluth, Rock-a-Doodle tells the story of Chanticleer (voiced by country music star Glenn Campbell), a rooster whose job on the farm is to raise the sun with his beautiful singing voice. But it’s a Don Bluth movie, so evil owls will get involved and send our heroes on a wacky adventure through a hybrid of live-action and animation.
Although “Sun Do Shine” takes place in the film before Chanticleer performs in the city as “The King”, it is still the best song of Rock-a-Doodle. It not only serves as a powerful and enthusiastic opener to any film, but it’s a simple yet delightful lyrical showcase of the power of Chanticleer’s voice. It’s a song that immediately proves why those mean Don Bluthian owls are so determined to get this guy out of their way.
“Outta My Way” – The Misfits in Jem and the Holograms (1985–1988)
Sorry, Jerica! Every great fictional band needs a darker, creepier, more aggressively cool adversary band, whether it’s The Riverbottom Nightmare Band from Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas or, in this case, The Misfits of Jem and the holograms. The Misfits, with band members named Pizzazz, Stormer, and Roxy, among others, make their first appearance by breaking into the offices of Starlight Records and chasing Jerrica on guitar-shaped motorcycles while singing this bonafide anthem. .
Jem and the holograms may have won this first episode’s battle of the tapes, but only the Misfits get a spot on this list.
“Killer Tofu” – Doug’s Beets (1991-1999)
“Doug Rocks” is a Season 1 episode of Nickolodeon Doug which focuses on some of the most important themes of adolescence: parents just don’t understand, rooting, choosing loyalty to friends above all else and, of course, rock n’ roll.
Doug and Skeeter win front row tickets to see their favorite band, the Beets. But Skeeter is being punished, and what are two best friends to do? After being kicked out of the house by Skeeter’s father, they make their way to the Honker Burger and crash into the parking lot, eventually being joined by the Beets themselves. Lennon and McCartney would be proud.
“Hex Girl” – The Hex Girls in Scooby-Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost (1999)
Just when you think of 1999 Scooby-Doo! and the ghost of the witch already has it all – genuine supernatural diversions, references to the Salem witch trials, and a famous horror author voiced by Tim Curry. He’s giving you the greatest gift ever from a live-action Scooby-Doo movie: the Hex Girls.
Teammates Thorn, Dusk, and Luna turn out not to be actual witches, but rather members of an eco-gothic rock band. We first meet them while they’re rehearsing “Hex Girl.” Decked out in fake fangs and spooky accessories, the girls sing about both spell casting and the importance of environmentalism, and what could be dreamier than that? The power of the Hex Girls was undeniable, and the group went on to make several more appearances in the Scooby canon. In 2021, they even received their own Funko Pops, a true sign of lasting stardom.
“I2I” – Powerline in A Goofy Movie (1995)
The best songs from movies or TV aren’t just great songs on their own. Instead, the truly greats work independently, but also offer something important to the narrative of the story in which they find themselves. Could Powerline (Tevin Campbell), the biggest rock star on the planet, would he have known that his big gig would have been crushed by a father and son duo at the end of a hectic but fundamentally important road trip? Of course not!
“I2I” rock solo, but it’s also the thesis of what Dingo and Max learned living on the road. This whole soundtrack rules. Plus, we have to give credit to the insanely cool Powerline for finding his scene crushed by the goofiest man ever and not only following him, but also joining the perfect cast of him. -same. It’s been 27 years since A wacky movie debuted, and I’m still waiting for a full Powerline album. A child can always dream.
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