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Fake But Great

Allie Tollaksen | Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Josie of the Pussycats. Envy Adams of The Clash at Demonhead. Cassandre of Crucial Taunt.What do all of these ladies have in common? They’re all girl-rock frontwomen who I have looked up to at one point or another. They all put on an awesome a show, belting out songs and taking names. Oh, and they’re also all fictional characters from movies.
Yes, this week, the playlist column is dedicated to my undying love for fake bands from movies. Because though the group may be fictional, the music can be oh-so-real.
While some fake bands, most often ones written for television shows, can take off and become full-fledged, touring groups of their own (I’m looking at you, Blues Brothers and The Monkees), fake musical acts in movies are better because of their transience.
One minute they’re on screen, wowing you with music they never actually wrote or played, and the next minute, the lights are up and you’re left with nothing but a fleeting memory of an absurd or awesome band that never really was.
While there are tons of fictional groups and songs I could talk about, I decided to narrow down a few of my personal favorites. Here are songs from fictional bands that got stuck in my head. They made me long for a full-length album or so tied me up in childhood nostalgia that I will never forget the words.
1. “Three Small Words” – Josie and the Pussycats from “Josie and the Pussycats”
I may get a lot of flak for including this on the playlist, but I will argue to the death that “Josie and the Pussycats” is an underrated movie. If you haven’t seen it since around its release in 2001, I highly recommend you watch it again. Though fake pop boyband “DuJour” was incredibly entertaining, the Pussycats had the best music, of course.
2. “Summertime” by Sex Bob-Omb from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”
It was pretty close to impossible to pick a song from this movie because the whole thing is so great. In the end, I went with “Summertime,” which is fantastic and never got the attention it deserved. It’s pretty hard to go wrong, though, when Beck was the writer of all of fictional band Sex Bob-Omb’s music. And with an awkward, lovable cast, including Allison Pill on the drums introducing the band with “We are Sex Bob-Omb and we’re here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff,” the group was both cool and hilarious.
3. “School of Rock” from “School of Rock”
You’re probably lying if you say you don’t love “School of Rock.” Jack Black (as Dewey Finn pretending to be Mr. Shneebly) taught all of us about the history of rock, and the final performance of the song at the Battle of the Bands was the coolest thing you’d ever seen in all of your ten years of existence.
4. “That Thing You Do!” by The Wonders from “That Thing You Do!”
The Wonders song was a hit when the film was released in 1996 and stayed in the Billboard Hot 100 long after the movie left theaters. It was eventually even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. And who is to thank for providing such a catchy tune to a fake band? Adam Schlesinger, the bassist in Fountains of Wayne. That’s right, the guy that brought you “Stacy’s Mom” also wrote The Wonders’ one and only hit.
5. “Man of Constant Sorrow” by Soggy Bottom Boys from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Not enough good things can be said about this film’s soundtrack. Between its contributors, including Alison Krouse and Gillian Welch, and T-bone Burnett as head producer, there is no wonder why the soundtrack went platinum. George Clooney made for an ever-so-charming lead singer of the Soggy Bottom Boys, but “Constant Sorrow” was actually sung by bluegrass musician Dan Tyminski. Allegedly, when Tyminski told his wife that it was going to be his voice coming out of Clooney’s mouth, she replied, “That’s my dream!”
6. “Supernova Girl” by Proto Zoa (and his band, Microbe) from “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century”
Okay, so technically this was a Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM, if you will) on television, but I couldn’t leave it out. This song was a jam way back in 1999, and I bet some of you still know the words.

Honorable Mentions:

“Fever Dog” from “Almost Famous;” “Do the Hippogriff!” from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire;” “Stonehenge” from “This Is Spinal Tap;” “Scotty Doesn’t Know” from “Eurotrip;” “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” from “Coyote Ugly.”

Contact Allie Tollaksen at
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The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.