Aquaman may set a new level of visual spectacle for the DCEU, but the selection of licensed songs and music used in the movie make it an exception among superhero blockbusters. And sure to send moviegoers in a race to add some of the songs to their favorite playlist.
It's rare that a comic book movie will send people out of the theater wondering where they can listen to "Mera's Song," the new Skylar Grey track, or even one of Roy Orbison's songs re-imagined as a Disney-esque love ballad. Such songs are often found being used in movie trailers, but rarely do full, lyrical songs punctuate a comic story as loudly and clearly as Aquaman director James Wan has chosen to. And for those wanting to know what songs are used in the Aquaman movie, we've got you covered.
"Sæglópur" by Sigur Ros
Even if it's sung in Icelandic, there's a good chance that the music chosen to back Tom Curry and Atlanna's love story will sound familiar. The track is titled "Sæglópur" by the Icelandic group Sigur Rós, first released back in 2006 (from the album Takk), and was widely used in marketing for Prince of Persia, and the season one finale of Sense8. And believe it or not, the choice of song adds several layers to the scenes it accompanies.
For starters, the title roughly translates to "lost at sea" or "lost seafarer," which could be used to describe both Tom Curry and the Arthur, both before and after Atlanna came crashing into their lives. What's more, while most of the song is performed in Icelandic, sections also rely on "Hopelandic," a made-up language used by the band, which matches the film's idea of opposed and completely unknown cultures perfectly.
"Ocean to Ocean" by Pitbull (Sampling "Africa" by Toto)
No use of licensed music is going to come as a bigger surprise than when Arthur and Mera make their escape from Atlantis in the mouth of a whale, and come to shore west of the Sahara Desert. Strolling in slow motion out of the waves to the pounding sound of Pitbull and a new cover of Toto's "Africa" isn't exactly the kind of visual and audio experience superhero blockbuster fans expect - but somehow, it works.
"She's a Mystery to Me" by Roy Orbison
Once Arthur and Mera are finished solving the mystery of the Deserter tribe, they return to the coastline of Sicily for a sequence that could be plucked from any modern Disney movie. But the song that plays as Mera discovers the beauty of the surface - and Arthur discovers the beauty of Mera - is no orchestral number. It's Roy Orbison's "She's a Mystery to Me." A song that was actually written by Bono and The Edge of U2, after the former dreamed of it the night before meeting Orbison after a London concert. The tone fits beautifully for Arthur and Mera, and James Wan confirmed to us it's one of his favorites in the film:
That’s just my sensibility I guess. One of my favorite uses of existing music is the Roy Orbison track for when they’re having that sweet, nice, romantic moment through the Italian market and she’s sort of getting used to the surface world. I loved that piece of music.
"It's No Good" by Depeche Mode
Technically, it's Aquaman's fault that he burned himself into the life and memory of Black Manta, by indirectly killing his father in the opening act of the movie. Manta swore to get his revenge for the act, and fate all but confirmed his path when King Orm dropped a cache of Atlantean weapons in his lap, with a request that he kill the would-be ruler of Atlantis. The tech needs some work before it can become as cool as Black Manta's in the comics, and to do it, the villain turns to - what else? - a montage.
The music supplied for the scene is Depeche Mode's "It's No Good," and the lyrics actually add to the revenge (albeit in defiance of the less-than-vengeful style of music). The claims that "I'm going to take my time/ I have all the time in the world" fits a revenge scheme as much as a love ballad, as well as the promise that "You can run but you cannot hide." Is it also an elaborate joke courtesy of James Wan, since the last verse states that you "can't turn back the tide"? There's no way to know for sure.
"Everything I Need" by Skylar Grey
The end credits for Wonder Woman treated movie audiences to an original song by Sia, titled "To Be Human," and for fans of current sensations, Aquaman doesn't disappoint either. This time around audiences will be able to hear Skylar Grey's "Everything I Need," but the song is sprinkled through the movie long before - even if the viewers have never heard it enough to notice. James Wan explains:
Skylar Grey wrote the ending and the love song theme that we use throughout the movie. Skylar wrote that beautiful song, and then we use that and pepper it throughout the whole film as like the love theme for Mera and Arthur throughout the film. Kind of like what [James] Cameron did with Titanic, right? You know, you have Celine Dion singing the song, but then you hear that theme played throughout the whole film.
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