Written by El Puerquito Magnifico
It’s probably safe to say that very few people are buying WWE theme song albums because of their originality or artistic merit. Most folks who purchase these albums are probably either die-hard wrestling fans or stone deaf. Since I own a few of them and I passed my most recent hearing test, I’m going to put myself in the former category.
For years now, Jim Johnston has been the musical mastermind behind the WWE wrestlers theme songs, crafting tunes with driving, repetitive beats that might be well suited for action movies or workout tapes. With this effort he delivers yet another album full of derivative theme songs. WWE: The Music Volume 8 offers a smorgasbord of unoriginal tunes: songs that sound like bad bar-band versions of AC/DC songs, Jimi Hendrix songs, and a variety of pop music clichés.
This is not to say that pro wrestlers’ theme songs should be totally original works of art. Theme music is primarily used to get a crowd reaction. It’s an easy way to get a character’s persona across to a large audience who might be sitting in the nosebleed seats. It’s a way to show folks watching at home who the wrestler is and what he represents. “Hey, this guy’s music sounds a lot like AC/DC. He must be a badass!” To say that a wrestler’s theme music sounds derivative isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, sometimes it’s quite necessary. Theme music should not, however, be bland and uninteresting.
In a business that thrives on getting a pop from a live crowd, introducing a character with boring music is akin to committing a form of career suicide. I’m going to assume that most of you who are reading this review are fans of professional wrestling, so I’m going to throw a few names at you: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The Rock. Hulk Hogan. Triple H. Ultimate Warrior. Ted DiBiase. The Road Warriors. What do these men all have in common? When you heard their theme music, you knew that business was about to pick up. You knew that the fit was about to hit the shan, in a manner of speaking. Their music was synonymous with their character. It put goosebumps on your skin and made your hair stand on end because when that music hit, you knew that the hard-earned money you plunked down for those tickets or for that Pay-Per-View show was going to be worth it. The theme songs on WWE: The Music Volume 8 will put you to sleep, if you’re lucky.