Yuli Ban wrote: ↑
Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:24 pm
I unironically like some of the music, and it does give the movies an "AMV" feel.
But by that same token, these songs give the movies a strong AMV feel. If that's really what you want out of them, more power to you. But at least back up and think about it this way:
Imagine when they're localized in some other country, the localizers used AC/DC, ABBA, Cheap Trick, Fleetwood Mac, Judas Priest, and KISS for the the original Star Wars trilogy's official soundtrack. Even if you like all of those bands.... GOD, that sounds jarring. I would not be able to take any of that seriously except as some tryhard's attempt to make the movies seem cool.
When you're a kid and don't know better, that's one thing. When you're grown up and DO know better, it REALLY comes down to personal preference, and at the same time knowing what they were doing and why they were doing it doesn't exactly endear me to their efforts.
If you REALLY want David Draiman edge-rapping over False Super Saiyan Goku, then more power to you. But at least separate that shit from the official release!
The only movie that really did licensed music decently was Broly movie 1. The tracklist was extremely varied (they REALLY dug underground for some of those choices rather than scrape the "modern radio rock/post-grunge/nü metal" playlist like they did for movies 4 and 5), they usually fit the scene well, and even the groove/nü metal tracks didn't feel extraordinarily out of place. It wasn't necessary and a better studio wouldn't have done it, but it could've been a lot worse.
That's not to say licensed music can't work in these movies at all. The issue isn't that they used Pantera in a Dragon Ball Z movie. I mean, fuck, one of my favorite '70s kung fu films literally used KRAUTROCK for its soundtrack. No, the issue is that none of this was intended and they used a lot of this music much the same way they used Faulconer's score: denying any and all silence to just soak in the ambiance and the scene playing out so that we can hear Drowning Pool, out of that sense that American kids can't handle even ten seconds of no music playing.
And like I said, it resulted in the movies feeling like overlong AMVs. Nü metal and post-grunge are weird in that they, along with post-hardcore and J-rock, just FEEL like they were made for angsty anime music videos (to the point I used to call this collection of genres "AMV rock" before I learned "butt rock" exists). I'm not a musician so I can't explain why that is, but there's a reason you're more far likely to hear Breaking Point, Linkin Park, and Disturbed in an AMV than AC/DC, Nirvana, or Motley Crue. Not that there are no AMVs with the latter, but all those inner-demons/personal-struggles, wangst, "gotta rise above" lyrical subject matter and easily-editable mechanical anti-riffs of AMV butt rock fits loads of sappy shonen fight scenes far more than the party-rock of glam metal, bikes-bitches-booze-blues of classic rock, or Sabbathy disaffected ennui of grunge.
But at the same time, this is Dragon Ball Z we're talking about. It rarely if ever delved into that sort of thing in the first place; it's always been more of an outrageous kung fu fantasy. So even if it was built from the ground up to use AMV rock, it probably wouldn't have worked.
It's hard to do licensed soundtracks right in the first place, especially because in a lot of cases it can come off as "the director's favorite music badly jammed into unfitting scenes." And I think it goes triply so for kung fu and fantasy movies. Because using nü metal over superhuman martial arts wasn't unique to Dragon Ball.
A movie I distinctly remember really liking in my childhood but feeling vast amounts of secondhand embarrassment towards nowadays is 2001's The One
. Sci-fi martial arts fantasy movie, led by Jet Li, with a soundtrack INFESTED by nü metal (no pun intended, especially considering two appearances by Papa Roach). A cowardly movie that was basically an overlong nü metal music video set to decent martial artistry (because it's fuckin' Jet Li). It's not like the music was added in years later in an attempt to make it seem cool. It's how it came prepackaged, in a movie all but designed around that sort of aesthetic and attitude, and it still felt out of place and tryhard.
Seriously, I'm not being a curmudgeon who hates replacement soundtracks or contemporary music choices in martial arts or anime movies, especially if the original score is unavailable, was badly composed itself, or if a new song just "fits" better with actual justification. It just happens that the music they replaced it with for DBZ was part of one of the shittiest trends in rock music. The literal only reason any of it was used beyond appealing to 19-2000s youths was "it sounds punchy, heavy, and actiony." And if that's your operating principle, there are so many better genres to use than fucking nü metal, even sticking to heavy music. I mean Christ, they used Dream Theatre in the Trunks special, didn't they? If you HAVE to do this, why not prog metal? Thrash metal? Sludge metal? SOMETHING other than motherfucking nü metal!
Just about anything that used nü metal from that era suffered with age. Nü metal and second-generation post-grunge are the weakest part of the soundtracks of some of my favorite games and movies from the era. It's not even like hair metal or disco where it at least retained the charm of its era; it was always ugly and a guilty pleasure for everyone except douches, hence why I call that era "the Douche Age." And yet that's the music that people associate with DBZ movies, at least in America.
That whole era of music felt tryhardy, it's just how it was. In an attempt to update DBZ movies to be contemporary, Funimation severely dated them to everyone except DBZ fans who grew up with them... and even then