Greetings, true believers, and welcome to Scary-Crayon's very first music CD review! Thanks for joining us for this historic occasion. And now, let's kick things off with a series of questions: Have you ever heard of the Incredible Hulk? You know, the popular comic character born of a brilliant scientist's rage and a heavy dose of gamma rays? The titular character of the classic TV series who bulked up and became Lou Ferrigno whenever Bill Bixby got pissed and ran around in a pair of torn purple boxers, trashing shit and roaring and flexing, like WWE's Brock Lesnar with green skin and without the sissified dick-smoking voice? The guy most recently seen in Ang Lee's 2003 film as a CGI behemoth closely resembling Eric Bana and whose most memorable scenes in the film included leaping across a desert for about a half hour and battling mutant dogs to protect the ravishing Jennifer Connelly? The one man on the planet you should never, ever get angry, because... you wouldn't like him when he's angry...? Of course you have!
Apparently, however, all that mindless rage got to poor Dr. Banner. Nearly bankrupted by numerous property damage bills and lawsuits from several animal rights groups, not to mention the awful, seam-ripping death of his favorite shirt, he began working on a cure to rid himself of the curse of the wild and rampaging Hulk once and for all. Unfortunately, something went terribly wrong, and he ended up zapping himself with the same ray that transformed Barney from a harmless stuffed animal into the giant, singing, child-fondling monstrosity that we all know and
love fear in the depths of our very souls. Following this terrifying mishap, the Hulk was so happy with his new attitude that he grabbed that ray gun of singing bliss and, after a few blasts to several other prominent members of the Marvel crew, was ready to release his own CD about his delightful adventures with his kinder, gentler superhero buddies and the neighborhood children. Or at least that's the only explanation I can come up with for the thirty-seven minutes and fifty seconds of pure wackiness that is the Hulk music CD.
For your sake and my sanity, I'm not going to comment on every single one of the CD's fourteen tracks in greater detail, but nine of them deserve special attention for being so incredibly outlandish. Actually, that's a lie. The other songs are equally insane, but really, how many different ways can I say, "HOLY SHIT, THIS SONG IS ABOUT THE INCREDIBLE HULK ROLLERBLADING WITH LITTLE KIDS!!!!"? We'll find out in a moment, but before we begin I'd like to take a moment to point out the following:
If at any point the content of this article proves to be too much for you -- and it very well may, for not only have I reviewed nine of the tracks, but I've also provided samples from all fourteen (they're only excerpts, and low quality ones at that, so please don't sue me, Marvel!) -- blame Canada. That said, let's begin.
01. Hulk Is The One
I'm gonna tell you 'bout a friend of mine
well he looks kinda scary but he's really kind
he's big and green and he's lots of fun
and he's popular with everyone
'Cause Hulk is the one when you wanna have fun! As far as opening tracks go, this one's a doozy -- kicking things off with the above lyrics, we already know we're in for incredible stuff when the artist starts singing about how kind and popular the Hulk is. Moreover, this one introduces Hulk's pals, with a verse about Hulk "making the scene" with Spider-Man, Captain America, and Spider-Girl tagging along because they're so damned swell. I guess it makes a little bit more sense for those three to be hanging out with children when they're not battling evil -- Spidey's more kid-friendly than most superheroes this day and age, Captain America represents our "great" nation, and Spider-Girl's a comparative nobody without a history of extreme violence who apparently stars in her own lighthearted title and conveniently happens to be female (there's always gotta be a girl in the group) -- but HULK??? C'mon! Even if at some point Banner gained control of his inner monster and wasn't blindly going around smashing up everything in sight, that'll always be the Hulk's modus operandi. And unless you've got a deathwish, a guy who knocks down buildings with his fists and plays kickball with automobiles when he gets pissed is definitely not the one when you wanna have fun.
03. Hulk And His Friends Are Quite The Crew
They like to play basketball, yes they do
and sometimes they like to play laser tag too
BUT! the thing that they like the best
is hanging out together, OHHH YES!
Okay. With a title like "Hulk And His Friends Are Quite The Crew", I just knew that this number wasn't going to disappoint. What I didn't know, however, was that the Hulk routinely gets together with Spider-Girl, Spider-Man, and Captain America for the purposes of rollerblading, watching movies, bowling, and -- yes! -- even playing laser tag. It's pretty odd to hear a song about these four heroes sticking together "just like glue", especially considering that as far as I know their heroic exploits have been primarily solo undertakings -- as opposed to team efforts like those of, say, the X-Men or Avengers -- but I guess it makes you feel less sad for them on the grand scheme of things. I mean, Hulk's transformations were more comparable to a curse than a blessing, Spider-Man constantly had to worry about making ends meet and endangering the people he loved, Captain America was a genetically engineered soldier whose life was pretty much devoted to the service of the United States, and Spider-Girl... well, I know jack shit about Spider-Girl save that she's apparently the daughter of the original Spider-Man, so we'll just assume that he was a really abusive father and that the supervillains of the future are hardcore and viciously murdered everyone she ever loved or something, not to mention that all of them had wave upon wave of evildoers to battle. In which case, given the less than desireable lives these heroes led, it's kinda nice to know that they have real friends with whom they can go skateboarding and forget about harsh superhero life for a while. They're quite the crew, you know!
04. The Hulk Stomp
It's a dance number. I'm not shitting you. Frighteningly enough, it also kinda rocks, and I could easily see a group of kids "pumping their arms way up high" and "keeping on pumping to the sky" if somebody played this number at little Billy's birthday party. And if I were nearby, I'd probably join them, stomping to the beat and trying my damnedest to make cracks appear in the pavement and cause the ground to open up and swallow us whole, sending us all spiraling down, down, down to the molten core of the earth and to the very depths of Hell itself -- which I'm pretty sure is what this song was created for. Also, not surprisingly, if one were to follow all of the steps of the song -- some of which don't really make a lot of sense, like the verse that calls for one to make a muscle really tight and then "shake it to the left, shake it to the right" -- one would probably end up getting quite the workout. After all, Hulk does it, and look at him!
07. The Rockin' Name Game
Just... wow. I know I've called just about every song on this CD amazing, but this one's pretty hard to top. I mean, if I were to encounter a green monster thing during a midday stroll, I'd probably run in the other direction, but the little girl in this song not only greets him, but even goes so far as to ask him what his name is! Moreover, consider that he doesn't know her, they've never met before, and that they haven't struck up a rapport or anything -- no! And still our bold prepubescent songstress just marches right up to the Incredible Hulk and says, "Hey! What's your name?" Now, that greeting totally makes sense if you meet someone in the sandbox, but not with random strangers on the street, let alone hulking green monsters. It's fucking rude! And yet, instead of smashing the little brat flat on the pavement, not only does the Hulk respond, but he does so by spelling his name in fucking song. Give me a W-T-F, thanks. And what's worse, he calls it a game, which it's not. Games have rules and stakes. When one plays a game, one stands to lose something -- even if it's just the game itself. And while this "game" does have one rule (spell your name in fucking song), the only thing at stake here is one's dignity, and that's out the window the second the "player" parts his or her lips and sings out that first letter. And to think that the Hulk is actually the one who starts the game! Surreal.
08. He's Green Green Green
He laughs when something's funny, gets down when something's sad
and when somebody bothers him it makes him mad
he says, "We're a lot the same -- you and me --
the only thing that's different is I'm green green green"
Yes, believe it or not, they actually made a song about the Hulk that attempts to promote racial harmony and acceptance of differences. It starts off with kids teasing Hulk because of his skin color and then, in the final verse, goes on to talk about how kids come in all different colors and it doesn't really matter what the color of your skin is. This, of course, is true enough, and I suppose it's admirable that they'd attempt to tackle this issue in song, but "He's Green Green Green" just doesn't work. There are two major reasons for this. The first: THE COLOR OF THE HULK'S SKIN IS NOT THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES HIM DIFFERENT. Dude's over seven feet tall and can bend adamantium, for crying out loud! Yes, while it may be true that, like you, he gets angry when someone bothers him, you don't go ripping out chunks of the street and stomping on parked cars when you get upset. And it's not like he was born that way, either -- as we all know, Hulk is the way he is because of a freakish accident involving gamma radiation -- so unless you've been hanging out in military testing areas, Hulk most likely is not the same on the inside as you. It's not his fault, really, but the song still fails in its purpose. The second reason for that is because despite its message that one's skin color doesn't matter, the primary emphasis of the song is on the color of Hulk's skin! Note that it's not called "Hulk Is Just Like You" or "He's Hulk, That's What Matters" -- no! It's called "He's Green Green Green", which kinda negates the whole point of the song. Which is why it sucks sucks sucks.
11. You('ve) Got To Cool Off
When Hulk gets angry, very very angry
when he gets angry and very very mad
he stops and takes a deep breath
and soon he isn't feeling quite so bad
You heard it here first, folks. When Hulk gets angry, he doesn't freak out and throw cars and HULK SMASH everything in sight. No, sir! He actually takes a deep breath and soon he isn't feeling quite so bad. Unbelievable. Have they forgotten the Hulk's roots? ANGER WAS THE VERY THING THAT BROUGHT THE HULK OUT! And now he apparently tries to calm down and not break things. I'm sure the cities he's not wrecking appreciate his efforts, but it still makes for a pretty fucking stupid song. It gets better, though! Following the initial Hulk verse (not to mention a genuinely badass guitar solo towards the end of the song), successive verses deal with the anger management techniques of Spider-Girl, Captain America, and Spider-Man himself. Yes! It's really good to know that when facing off against supervillains whose fiendish actions have endangered the lives of millions -- which would no doubt make for an infuriating situation -- our heroes will take the time to talk to a friend or count to ten before disarming that bomb or stopping that school bus from falling into the harbor. 'Cause they('ve) got to cool off!
12. I Had A Dream
I know what you're thinking, but this song has nothing to do with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s similarly titled historic speech. Rather, it is the account of a youth who's just had a dream about spending the day with the Hulk! Admittedly, a song like this could be pretty cool -- considering that the girl (I think it's sung by a girl) is probably approaching puberty and that she likely finds the Hulk to be pretty fetching, what with all his manly buffness and whatnot, this could easily have been a song about an adolescent's first wet dream... starring the Hulk. Yeah, you balk, but it couldn't have been any worse than this oh-so-thrilling tale of rollerblading and eating lunch and flying in green airplanes and, among other things, visiting Spain, likely because the songwriter couldn't think of anything else that rhymed with "plane". So not only does the song not make a lick of fucking sense -- not that it has to, being a dream narrative, but still -- but it actually loops, repeating itself in sped-up fashion, in its entirety, after the initial playthrough. Given that each line of the song is repeated by a chorus of children as it is, that makes for a total of four repetitions of this ridiculous song. This girl's dream has become my nightmare.
13. Rockin' In Hulk Land
Well, Hulk plays the electric guitar
he plays it like a rock 'n' roll star
and when Spider-Man plays the piano
everyone shouts, "Go, go, go!"
No, no, no. Hanging out with children and going bowling was bad enough, but now Hulk and his friends are in a band? Sure, it worked for the Ninja Turtles, but unlike, say, Captain America, the Turtles weren't popularly known for going head-to-head with any villain so vicious as Adolf Hitler's right-hand man. And yeah, I know that superheroes are people too, and that people can have complex and varying interests -- for example, in addition to getting his wang sucked by chubby interns, our 42nd President enjoyed eating pizza and running the country (sometimes simultaneously) -- but somehow the image of Cap playing the bass guitar for an audience of screaming children just doesn't fit. I guess Hulk Land is a magical place where everything is green and electric guitars are manufactured for people with hands the size of great danes and Spider-Man plays the piano in a band with his teenage daughter from an alternate universe and nobody finds any of this to be vaguely confusing or slightly disturbing because they're all rockin' to the beat of the band! And hey, you know what else is green like Hulk? The marijuana those Marvel execs were smoking when they thought producing this CD was a good idea.
14. Spidey And Friends
Yeah, Spider-Man, Hulk, Spider-Girl, and Captain America all hang out together. Hulk shares his toys with his friends. Spider-Girl, despite possessing super strength and being charged with protecting innocents from villains and freaks of immense power, doesn't like fighting and instead prefers getting along with people. Which I guess makes perfect sense, but then the song transitions into a verse about Captain America cheering his friends up when they're feeling blue. Still, after listening to an entire CD designed to destroy everything I thought I knew about these heroes and their pasts and paint them up as kid-friendly, cake-eating, rollerblading characters who wouldn't be out of place skipping down Sesame Street alongside Big Bird, I GET THAT. That's not what makes this track so scary, though. No, what makes this particular track worthy of comment is that it's not only the final song on Hulk's CD, but the opening track of Spider-Man & Friends, which apparently you'll love if you liked this CD. And fuck, with songs like "Storm Can Change The Weather" and "If You Like Wolverine Clap Your Hands", how could you not love the thing? Seriously, I'm already clapping. And to make matters worse, there's apparently a Spider-Man & Friends 2, featuring such tracks as "Do What Spider-Man Tells You To Do", "Spidey's On The Fire Truck", and "Me and Spider-Man on Mars". God save us all.
That'll do it for this article, then. I know you're just dying to know about the other five tracks -- tough! -- but believe me when I tell you that they're just as insane, with styles ranging from traditional PBS children's show fare ("Come And Meet The Hulk") to rap-influenced urban beats ("He's Hulkerrific") and such subjects as the Hulk's temporary depression concerning his green skin ("The Big Green Blues"), how the Hulk will cheer you up when you're feeling down ("He'll Be A Friend To You"), and even a song about a fucking party thrown by the Hulk (appropriately titled "Hulk Is Having A Party"). Yes, apparently the guy who once ran around doing nothing but roaring and breaking shit and flexing now hosts parties. Parties for children! Next thing you know he'll be slipping the kids Jesus Juice and sharing his big green bed with them. After all, it's very loving... and according to this CD, the Hulk is all about that sort of thing.
I miss Lou Ferrigno. :(
-- Wes --
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