She was at one point undoubtedly the sexiest pop star in the world. Her last album, Femme Fatale, was a critically praised piece of pop perfection. And for her next move, the highly anticipated new song from legendary recording artist Britney Spears can be found… on the soundtrack for The Smurfs 2?
Britney tweeted today that her new song “Ooh La La” is for her “boys” ― meaning her sons ― and thus it’s at least kind of sweet that Britney recorded something with them in mind. (On the other hand, the title “Ooh La La” doesn’t exactly sound like the sort of thing you normally aim at a preteen male, but we’ll reserve judgment until we hear it.)
Aside from that angle, though, this news is a bit of a letdown. Fans who grew up with Britney are grown-ups now, and what sentient adult wants to be caught dead listening to the Smurfs 2 soundtrack? After waiting a full two years for new music from Britney (aside from that little ditty with will.i.am), don’t we deserve better?
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Well, yes. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get it. Random recording artists added to soundtracks for films that have nothing to do with their image is hardly new, with plenty of stars singing on soundtracks that are, quite frankly, beneath them. Occasionally a pairing between a musician and a movie is so perfect, it feels like they were meant to go together ― like Adele and Skyfall, and maybe some of the artists from the lavish upcoming Great Gatsby soundtrack ― but other times, it just feels like a cash grab that absolutely no thought was put into whatsoever.
Here’s a round-up of some of the most random and worst star and soundtrack pairings we’ve heard. (It’s by no means comprehensive, unfortunately, because this sort of thing tends to happen a lot.)
1. Lady Gaga & Elton John’s “Hello Hello” from Gnomeo & Juliet
For whatever reason, random celebrities tend to pop up on a lot of animated soundtracks, even if their image isn’t all that kid-friendly. Gaga appeared with Elton on the soundtrack for Gnomeo and Juliet, and while it wasn’t Elton’s first time lending his pipes to a kids’ movie, a love story between garden gnomes doesn’t exactly strike us as in keeping with the controversial Fame Monstress’ catalog.
2. Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” from Batman Forever
Okay, yes, we admit, do still kind of like this song, in a nostalgic, please-never-tell-anyone sort of way. But that doesn’t mean it made any sense on the Batman Forever soundtrack, because last time we checked, no Joel Schumacher flick ever sent anyone careening into the bedroom as the romantic mood of this song would suggest. Tim Burton’s Batman movie invoking Prince for the soundtrack made perfect sense ― who better than the Purple One to sing about The Joker? ― but we’re not sure Seal and Jim Carrey’s Riddler are quite such a match.
3. Michael Jackson’s “Ben” from Ben
Just because it won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar doesn’t mean this song makes any sense. A young MJ croons about friendship to a the leader of a bunch of homicidal rats in this 1972 sequel to Willard ― yes, we’re being serious. Oddly enough, this was Michael’s first #1 hit as a solo artist, though fortunately it was far from the best.
4. Smash Mouth’s “I’m A Believer” from Shrek
Smash Mouth’s debut hit gained them credibility with the “with it and hip” thanks to lyrics about buying the world “a toke” ― so they definitely weren’t the most likely band we’d have expected to become primarily associated with the Shrek movies, and then essentially never heard from again. Their song “All Star” and Monkees cover “I’m A Believer” both appeared on the first Shrek soundtrack and did well on the charts before they quickly plummeted into obscurity.
5. Pitbull’s “Back In Time” from Men In Black III
There was a time when every Will Smith blockbuster was guaranteed to come with a cheesy rap single aiming to make a dent in the charts. Makes sense, right? It made a lot less sense for bilingual rapper Pitbull to take the reins for the Men In Black III theme song ― though Will starred in the movie, he had apparently had enough of his musical contributions. But couldn’t he have just gotten daughter Willow to do it, at least?
6. Cyndi Lauper’s “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” from The Goonies
This family adventure story starred young Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, and Corey Feldman and has become a cult classic for a certain generation since. It’s the perfect slice of 80s cheese ― but the same can’t be said for Cyndi’s soundtrack song, which is as about as awful as the spelling of “are” in the title. If you can make it through this entire video, consider yourself owed one gold star sticker by those of us here at Hollywire.
7. Trisha Yearwood’s “How Do I Live” from Con Air
When you think of great romances of the 90s, be honest ― do you think The Bodyguard? Titanic? Or how about Con Air? There’s nothing particularly wrong with this Diane Warren-penned tune, except that it’s tacked onto a Nicolas Cage action flick that’s only romantic when compared to, say, The Human Centipede. Nice try at making this film seem like it has some substance, guys ― but no.
8. Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap” from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze
Well, this was pretty awesome in 1991 ― if you were nine. Two bizarre relics of early 90s pop culture come together for this delightful little ditty, which couldn’t possibly be any lamer. It's Vanilla Ice... and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles... in one place, at one time! Seriously, if MC Hammer had managed to show up, we'd be sure it was a sign of the apocalypse. But since it’s all in good fun and totally embraces its corniness, we aren’t so ashamed by this. (Okay, maybe a little.)
9. MC Hammer’s “Addams Groove” from The Addams Family
Oh, did someone say MC Hammer? It’s the rare franchise that can actually spawn two equally atrocious and totally meaningless soundtrack contributions. The actual Addams Family theme song is a classic of snapping minimalism, but the first movie had a track by MC Hammer (never a good sign) and the second had what is, shockingly, even worse ― a truly heinous Addams Family version of “Whoomp (There It is).” Though the films are still well-regarded comedies, they are unfortunately marred by these painful reminders that they were released in the early 90s. Seriously, this is some of the worst music ever recorded.
10. R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” from Space Jam
We don’t mean to rag on the 90s here, but it’s just too easy! As if a movie about Michael Jordan hooking up with the Looney Tunes gang to play a basketball game against aliens wasn’t already dealing with enough disparate pop culture references, this inspirational slow-jam belongs nowhere near a movie this zany. Luckily, it found a more suitable home in junior high gymnasiums, where it works as both a sports anthem and a slow-dance staple for spring formals.
Which soundtrack contribution do you think was the most bizarre?