Destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked

And the nominees for Best Original Song are…

"Accidentally in Love" from Shrek 2
"Al Otro Lado Del Rio" from The Motorcycle Diaries
"Believe" from The Polar Express
"Learn to Be Lonely" from The Phantom of the Opera
and "Vois Sur Ton Chemin" from The Chorus

The 239 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' music branch consistently nominate the lamest songs for award consideration. The Grammys seem like the NME Awards in comparison.

Granted, the majority of soundtracks suck, but surely there must be five decent songs a year that the public somewhat recognizes.

Out of frustration with the Academy's musical ignorance, all this week Adam Riff™ presents…

Yes, we copped the time frame from Pitchfork.

Eligible songs must have been written, covered or remixed specifically for a movie soundtrack. Previously existing songs were only considered if they contributed to a memorable scene's memorability.

Shall we begin?

025: The Soggy Bottom Boys feat. Dan Tyminski
"I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow"
[O Brother, Where Art Thou?; 2000]

A significant segment of the film's plot hinges on the notion that Everett, Pete and Delmar's ebullient rendition of this bluegrass oldie (as "The Soggy Bottom Boys") could be a runaway hit. Everett assumes lead vocal duties, clearly lip synching to Union Station band member Tyminski, who sounds nothing like any conceivable George Clooney singing voice.

024: Limp Bizkit
"Take a Look Around (M:I-2 Theme)"
[Mission: Impossible 2; 2000]

Soundtrack producer Mitchell Leib asked some 20 artists — including Moby, Tricky, Cake, The Chemical Brothers, J. Mascis, New Order, Orbital and MDFMK — to update Lalo Schifrin's classic theme song. Fred Durst's undeniably effective version ultimately got the green light. The fate of the other demos is unknown.

023: Herbie Hancock feat. GrandMixer DXT, Mixmaster Mike, Rob Swift, QBert, Babu and Faust & Shortee
"Rockit 2.002"
[Scratch; 2002]

Old and new turntablists collide in an explosion of Technics scribbles, 808 strobes and sampler exclamation points on this eight-and-a-half-minute redux of Herbie Hancock's seminal 1983 hit, cited by almost everyone in the film as the most important influence on their lives.

022: Brian Eno
"By This River"
[Y Tu Mamá También; 2001]

What is it that Julio wants to listen to on the car radio? Not rock'n'roll, not Latin music, not dance music. What he wants is Brian Eno's desperately sad "By This River." The car drives through some dreary small town, streets lined with cantinas and auto junkyards. Then the radio stammers and dies.

021: Bob Dylan
"Things Have Changed"
[Wonder Boys; 2000]

Decades after the times stopped a-changin', the former Robert Zimmerman's Oscar-winning dirge manages to twist the grimmest revelations of woe and hopelessness into a perverse form of affirmation, thanks to a catchy melody and a driving beat that makes you feel like dancing.

Tuesday: #020-016

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