This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Honourable Mention Song #23: Sunflower by Post Malone and Swae Lee (from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the Film, “Spiderman Into the Spiderverse” (as Nominated by Siobhan Percolides.
On the “Honourable Mention” side of my scheduled posts, I had one opening left over from the nominated songs process, so I combed through all of those songs which were left over during the first round and opted to go with “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee from the Academy Award winning animated movie, “Spiderman Into the Spiderverse”. We have already had an HM post from Siobhan about the Tragically Hip song, “Fifty Mission Cap”, *(which you can read here) so you can find out all about this totally rad woman there. But, for the sake of this new post, the important thing to note is that, like me, Siobhan has two daughters about the same ages as my girls and, as such, we have our fingers on the pulse of some of the advances going on today when it comes to how stories are told and then, by extension, how those stories are communicated to audiences. It is no longer as simple and straight-forward as it was when I was the age of my girls. So, strap in and hold on because this story might hurt your brain a little but, that is ok because it is important to have an understanding of how the world of information and storytelling is evolving……which is what “Spiderman Into the Spiderverse” is all about. Here we go!
Much earlier in our countdown, I wrote a post about a song called, “Black Sheep” by Metric from the Original Soundtrack to the Film, “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”. *(You can and should read that post now). The Art of Storytelling has evolved over the past decade or so. Stories are now being told to audiences in greater depth, in a more nuanced manner using techniques such as prequels, sequels, origin stories, etc., to add dimensionality to the characters and storylines found in an original, singular movie. Many of these stories are, in turn, being presented to audiences in a variety of formats such as graphic novels, video games, songs, animated movies or episodic tv shows, full-length movies and much more. The artists involved in these movies also participate in numerous ways as actors, singers, gamers and so on and they, in turn, cross-promote and integrate their involvement in a given story, across multiple communication platforms at their disposal, such as music streaming services, YouTube-type formats, on Social media and so on. The end result is an integrated web of content being created in multiple ways, for multiple purposes and being communicated to audience along multiple platforms. In other words, the structure of the storytelling machine…..which used to be the sole domain of Hollywood movie studios, for example,……..is now much more accessible and inter-active because it appears in so many forms to suit the needs of the people telling the stories, as well as, those receiving these stories at the other end.
The “Spiderman” comic book character is a fantastic example of how things have changed. When I was a young boy, “Spiderman” was a comic book character. He wasn’t part of the “Marvel Universe”, as he is known to be today. In my day, he was simply a comic book character. In that story, his real name was Peter Parker and he came to become the vigilante superhero, “Spiderman” because Parker received a spider bite from a radioactive spider. Eventually, the “Spiderman” comic book character became a cartoon character on Television for kids like me. The shows were episodic and looked like any other animated tv show. After awhile, I outgrew the cartoon show and “Spiderman” disappeared from my life.
However, much has changed in regard to story franchises such as “Star Wars”, “DC Comics” and “Marvel Comics”. The simplistic days of my youth have given way to a more much creative and detailed “world” from which many of these famous comic book characters reside. Whole books have been written about this phenomenon but, for the sake of this post, let’s stick with “Spiderman” and, specifically, the movie, “Spiderman Into the Spiderverse”. First of all, the simple stuff……”Spiderman Into the Spiderverse” was the first full-length animated Marvel superhero movie ever made. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film in 2019 because it created its’ animation in a way that had never been done before. Over 200 professional animators and computer graphic designers worked to make a movie that looks like a comic book come to life. The comic book format is, obviously, a tip-of-the-hat to Marvel’s roots but, in practical reality, these animators created a three-dimensional world within the traditional two-dimensional world of a comic book. But, more than that, they did it with a unique twist to the typical storyline used for a movie.
Increasingly, “Marvel”, “Star Wars”, franchises have been dabbling with a philosophical construct called the multiverse or “parallel universes”. The idea behind this concept is that in the whole of totality, we exist in a universe that is but, one, of many similar yet, separate universes that comprise all of existence, as we know it. We are born, live our lives and then, die…all in our own universe. At the same time, others are being born, living their lives and dying, unbeknownst to us, off in their universes at the exact same time as we are. We both exist and are unique to our own world but, our worlds exist separately and, as such, we are not aware of the existence of the other person nor them, us. If you can wrap your head around the notion of parallel universes then, add one further element…..that being the ability to access a different universe and move from one to the other. In modern storytelling, characters have developed the ability to discover portals and other such entry points that allow them to travel between universes. The only problem with this is that a character is uniquely suited to their own universe or world. When they travel to a realm outside of their own, they begin to deteriorate and, as such, their time in a new universe is severely finite. Thus, if I was a character from another universe and travelled to this world where I ended up meeting my future wife, Keri, we couldn’t marry because I would not be from here and would not survive to live longer than a very short time. These sorts of restrictions on movement between universes cause many emotionally-charged moments and lots of weighty decisions that add to the drama of the storyline being told.
So…….the idea behind “Spiderman Into the Spiderverse” is that there is a new Spiderman…..a boy of colour, mixed with Latino heritage…..who is bitten by the spider and who finds himself forced into saving Earth from a criminal mastermind. However, in order to do so, he receives help from many other “Spidermen” and “Spiderwomen” from other universes or “spider verses”, as it were. One of those “Spidermen” who aid our new hero is the original Peter Parker character. The point of doing a movie like this is that it allows Marvel or Star Wars or whatever, the creative license to freshen up their franchise characters and to stretch the story narratives in any direction they desire. From a storytelling perspective, creators are no longer limited to the parameters of the original story. Anything is now possible.
The song, “Sunflower” is by two singers named Post Malone and Swae Lee. Both singers/rappers are big names in the current music scene and have worked with everyone from Madonna to Justin Bieber. Post Malone, for example, has sold over 80 million copies of his albums so far in his short career, which puts him in the same rarified air as many of the greatest selling artists and bands of all-time. The song, “Sunflower” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, as well as, an Academy Award for Best Song from a Movie. The video for this song will show you the comic book animation that was featured all throughout “Spiderman Into the Spiderverse” and is really quite something. My two daughters both like “Sunflower” so, if you want to score points with your own children and grandchildren, name drop “Sunflower” and talk a bit about multiple universes…..everyone will think you are all that and a bag of chips, too.
So, without further delay, here are Post Malone and Swae Lee with their #1 hit song, “Sunflower”, from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the Film, “Spiderman Into the Spiderverse”. Thanks for nominating this song and allowing me to tell this story, Siobhan. Enjoy, everyone.
The link to the video for the song, “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee, from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the Film, “Spiderman Into the Spiderverse”, can be found here.
The link to the video for the trailer to the film, “Spiderman Into the Spiderverse”, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Post Malone, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Swae Lee, can be found here.