One of life’s great mysteries is who likes those “inspired by and made for” soundtracks that get released for major movies, particularly back in the 2000s. They act as much more of a time capsule and padding than feeling inspired by the movie they’re in. Today we’re analyzing the songs from the original Spider-Man trilogy.
To determine which are the best and worst songs featured across the Sam Raimi trilogy of Spider-Man films, the rating system will be “inspired by” the movies too, with Doc-Ock Tentacles taking the place of traditional stars. The more tentacles, the better.
Spider-Man’s big screen debut may feature one of the most iconic scores in modern cinema by Danny Elfman, but it also features Nickelback! It’s hard to say who has contributed the most to society out of those two.
Nickelback – “Hero”
Ah, Nickelback. So bad they’re good, or actually good, or straight bad. Everybody has an opinion on Nickelback. Generally maligned, they did produce a song for the 2002 Spider-Man film, and that song was “Hero.”
I do have a soft spot for this song, but I’m not sure if it’s nostalgia, post-irony ironic appreciation, or genuine appreciation. It’s definitely a song, though. Thank you, Chad Kruger, for your contribution to the Spider-Man mythos. I compare it to “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal for the Batman Forever soundtrack, which is fittingly about comparing someone to a kiss from a rose on a grave.
2 Doc-Ock Tentacles out of 4.
Corey Taylor – “Bother”
Slipknot’s own Corey Taylor contributed to the soundtrack of Spider-Man’s debut cinematic outing with a song that’s forgettable at best. It’s fitting that it’s called “Bother,” because it won’t bother you at all when you’re listening to it.
1 Doc-Ock Tentacle out of 4.
The Strokes – “When It Started”
The Strokes are significantly too cool and hip for nerdy Tobey Maguire Spider-Man to be listening to⏤like, well and truly beyond him. I can see Tom Holland’s Spider-Man listening to The Strokes, but not Maguire.
4 Doc-Ock Tentacles out of 4.
The Hives – “Hate To Say I Told You So”
It feels like this album is very much appealing, too, with some absolute bangers featured. “Hate To Say I Told You So” probably featured in every single TV show and movie from 2002, but it doesn’t get old for me.
4 Doc Ock Tentacles out of 4.
Macy Gray – “My Nutmeg Fantasy”
This is a noteworthy one, as artist Macy Gray appears in Spider-Man during the Thanksgiving Parade that Green Goblin ruins. I love a good cameo, and Gray has also featured as herself in Scary Movie 3, Training Day, and For Colored Girls, among others.
The song is pretty great! It’s one of the few female artists featured in both this soundtrack and across the trilogy. It’s up-tempo and fun to listen to, and while I can’t see Maguire grooving to this, I can see Willem Dafoe doing a jig to it.
4 Doc-Ock Tentacles out of 4.
Featuring selections from Train, Dashboard Confessional, Jet, and Maroon 5, this soundtrack does the impossible: produces an even better selection of mediocre and roughly adequate rock songs. Sometimes the sequel is better than the original?
Dashboard Confessional – “Vindicated”
I am convinced that this song was featured in Gossip Girl, because it just sounds like a perfect fit. If Blake Lively hasn’t had an emotional scene set to this song, I would be shocked. “Young Man Yells About Vindication” would be a much better and more fitting title for this song.
“Vindicated” gets 1 Doc Ock Tentacle out of 4; Dashboard Confessional, however, gets 4 Doc Ock Tentacles because that’s a terrific band name and worthy of praise.
Hoobastank – “Did You?”
Despite never hearing of Hoobastank before, I was pleasantly surprised by this song. It’s fun and energetic and feels much more like a song for an Iron Man movie.
Overall, this is a solid one. A marked improvement from some aforementioned tracks. Who can say no to another great band name, too? 3 Doc Ock Tentacles out of 4.
Midtown – “Give it Up”
Starting off with a banging guitar solo before descending into some Fall Out Boy-lite commercial friendly rock, this is one of the better ones on the soundtrack and is totally passable as pop-punk from the ’00s.
3 Doc Ock Tentacles out of 4.
Train – “Ordinary”
Train took a break from making music for shopping centers to make a song for the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack with “Ordinary.” It lacks the ukulele that the people really desire from Train, but I can totally see how this can be edited over the top of some footage from Spider-Man 2.
Unfortunately, it also sounds a lot like any early ’00s rock track on the radio but that adds such a nice quaint value.
2 Doc Ock Tentacles out of 4.
This one features a marked change in how they do these albums, requiring the song be written exclusively for the film, which means plenty of Emo Peter Parker material. As far as threequels go, this is a fine entry.
The Killers – “Move Away”
Featured on the soundtrack for Spider-Man 3, “Move Away” is a B-side track by The Killers that is just okay. It’s a departure from iconic songs by the Nevadan band like “Mr. Brightside” in tone, but definitely makes sense when you learn that it was likely recorded when the band made their second studio album, Sam’s Town.
I don’t hate this⏤it’s almost catchy and it definitely sounds like something emo Peter Parker would listen to just before putting dirt in someone’s eye. My general love for The Killers means I do give this 4 Doc-Ock Tentacles out of 4.
Snow Patrol – “Signal Fire”
After putting the album on shuffle and not looking at the artist or song title, I initially thought this was The Fray’s “How to Save a Life.” Imagine my disappointment upon learning that it wasn’t. However, the disappointment did not last long, as this is a really nice song. A classic Snow Patrol song, something you can put on as a backing track for your family holiday photo montage.
A solid 3 Doc-Ock Tentacles out of 4.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sealings”
A bit of a bop, this one. “Sealings” helped Spider-Man 3 cement itself as the best-soundtracked film in the trilogy. A really fun song that just screams 2007. Great nostalgic vibes from this one, I have to say.
3 Doc-Ock Tentacles out of 4.
Wolfmother – “Pleased to Meet You”
Big-hair rock band Wolfmother is a throwback/tribute act/rip-off of Led Zeppelin from Australia who rose to fame with their eponymous debut album Wolfmother, which absolutely slaps.
“Pleased To Meet You” is a definite bop. I’m gutted that quite a few of the songs (including this one) from the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack aren’t available on Spotify.
4 Doc-Ock Tentacles out of 4.
This scientifically deduced method has determined that Spider-Man 3, despite being the worst film in the trilogy, has the best “inspired by” soundtrack. This was a true journey of discovery and has made me somewhat disappointed that studios don’t really do this kind of thing anymore.
With the Raimi films set in such a comic book, almost permanently 1960s-feeling world, the soundtrack really doesn’t quite fit them, but it definitely taps into the music of the 2000s.
What’s your favourite track from the Raimi Spider-Man trilogy? Have I missed a hidden gem? Sound off in the comments below.