And with this entry, I finish my exhaustive survey — or exhausting survey more like — of songs related to DC superheroes, all destined for your personal superhero playlist I’ll bet. I’m sure there is plenty I have missed, and since my tastes don’t run in the direction of metal, hardcore, or hip hop, there’s still plenty of territories to be mined in those genres and someone better versed in those should definitely take on that job!
When I return with more songs for your superhero playlist, I will do my best to compile songs about the Marvel Universe, starting with Spider-Man, which strikes me as even more of a challenge than the DC lists were.
But in the meantime, if you enjoy this, please go work your way through all my songs about superheroes lists so you can compile your own superhero playlist!
Qkumba Zoo – Wonder Woman
This South African concoction is a catchy synthesis of acoustic and dance music sounds that recalls Shakespears Sister, strangely, and focuses on the idea of Wonder Woman as an ideal that is hard to attain, but often evoked. Buy it here.
The Roy Clark Method – Sector 2814
The Macon, GA, band offer this introspective but amusing internal dialogue that’s going on with Hal Jordan. “Hal, what have you done with your life?” his ring asks him. “People around you keep dying.” Being Green Lantern seems very frustrating and this song drives that home.
Jonathan Segel – Wonder Woman
Segal is the multi-instrumentalist member of Camper Van Beethoven and this song is a direct accounting of his troubled romance with Wonder Woman. It bears a resemblance to XTC and is decidedly cute. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
The Social Bedders – The Ballad of Aquaman
More ridicule of Aquaman, which is so passe, but it also betrays slight envy about being able to communicate with sea life. And I do love the description of him dressed “in patriotic green and orange.”
Ramona Silver – Wonder Woman
A mid-90s indie rocker evokes Wonder Woman in very mysterious ways — as a temptation, a muse, a dream presence, as her mother, as something the singer is exhausted of trying to live up to. It’s a catchy song that boasts a catchy cover version by Oblio. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Simple Frustration – Green Lantern
This Chicago-based band goes over the general details of Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Guy Gardner, culminating in the triumphant “Green Lantern!” hard rock anthemic chorus in this 2004 release … though it actually seems to be a cover of the 2001 Blue Harvest song “Green Lantern” which sounds more like a demo compared to the Simple Frustration version. It’s confusing. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Smoke Spot – Wonder Woman
“Wonder Woman said there’s nothing like a good right hook to settle an argument,” sings this clunky but likable Tampa, Florida-based band, and that’s pretty much all you need to know about this charming mess. Buy it here.
Spouse – Wonder Woman
Based around the Portland, Maine/Boston continuum, Spouse is a long-time indie favorite around that coast, and with “Wonder Woman” from 2000, it’s a slow, heavy brood that seems to be a rumination on the pressures of coupling, with Wonder Woman and Superman being evoked as examples. Superman seems to be a drag or a pressure or a pain or something for Wonder Woman here, but it seems meant in a more universal way to express how we are all a drag or a pressure or a pain or something for somebody. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
The Super-Dupers – Captain Marvel Jones
Well it gets the story a little mixed up — Billy Batson isn’t a shoeshine boy, that’s his buddy Tommy, who is Billy’s doppelganger and secretly the king of — oh, never mind, that was several multiverses ago and no longer matters. Until it does, of course. There’s bound to be some big DC event where an new multiverse is revealed and one of the earths contains Tommy, a.k.a. King Alfreed. And where the Hero Currently Known As Shazam will rock the name Captain Marvel Jones. “The Southern Superman,” as the song explains. We previously met the Super-Dupers singing about Batman in the form of the Spotlights, renowned for being a pre-fame project for the Allman Brothers. This song is from those sessions — the whole album is a repackaging of the Spotlights under a different name — and the singer for this song is Leon Russell.
Surf Cassette – Wonder Woman
This Italian band feels the burden of standing in the shadows of a superior woman and this song is all about that, or, more to the point, being scooped out of the sea by her, an act made more vivid by the slow, dreamy surf sound. Buy it here.
Mac Talley and Foamscape – Phantom Stranger
Catchy song from 2003 seems to be about a guy who can see things other people can’t see, and among those things seem to be dead people or ghosts who are trapped in the earthly plane. Or maybe this is just a metaphor. It might be about a relationship. But it’s also about deceptive realities, I think. Or being captured in successive dreams. The type of stuff the Phantom Stranger would save you from. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Team Stray – Mister Miracle
Scott Free is being a pest and it apparently costs $3 a pop to see him do his escape act and this guy is for some reason forced to keep spending it. Hardly the kind of problem the New Gods are typically forced to deal with. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Teengenerate – Plastic Man
Don’t even ask. Other than screaming “Plastic Man!” in the chorus, I haven’t a clue what this awesome Japanese punk band from the ’90s is on about. That was kind of their schtick. They did punk via 60s garage rock and they belted out English lyrics, but most the time you couldn’t understand them. And they rocked. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Todd A – Faster Than Bullets
Power Girl just doesn’t get enough music love. She deserves as much as Wonder Woman, that’s for sure. California musician Todd A says this song is about Power Girl in particular — and it does poke fun at Supergirl — but it’s also has a wider meaning about an intimidating person you’ve met who feels kind of alien. You know, like Power Girl. Buy it here.
Tram Set – Wonder Woman
Awesome basement punk about mentions underoos and Pringles. There’s also this version, which sounds like the same session, it’s just that the recorder was placed at a different corner of the basement, which is brilliant. Buy it here.
Trotsky Icepick – Martian Manhunter
This 1991 release by the 80s band on the SST label is very definitely about J’onn J’onzz, or at least, about trying to find him, which, you know, good luck with that, what with the shapeshifting and all that. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Dave Vanian & The Phantom Chords – Swamp Thing
Vanian is the longtime vocalist of the Damned — for those who don’t know and love the Damned, he’s the guy who looks like a pumped-up Eddie Munster — and this side project is from the 1990s after the initial break-up of the Damned in 1989. But the Damned reunited in 1993 and this band didn’t survive. The song lays down a mood that Swamp Thing might well be a part, touching on murder, looming moons, and a mysterious watcher to events. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
The Wonderland Band – Paradise Island
I may have said already — and if I haven’t, it’s a terrible error on my part — that I feel Wonder Woman should have scores of disco songs written about her. To me, she seems like the ultimate disco superhero. And faster than I can say it comes this selection from The Wonderland Band’s 1979 disco concept album about Wonder Woman. It includes a couple Supermanesque songs, but it has this rather saucy tune about the Island of the Amazons and the carnal possibilities there. They also do the song “Wonder Woman” which is actually not the theme! Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
XTC – Sgt Rock
XTC has previously appeared on these lists, as has their alter ego band the Dukes of the Stratosphear, but I’d say this is my favorite of their comic book songs and certainly one of their best songs regardless. It’s good enough that it does pop up even on internet lists of comic book songs that don’t go too deeply into the genre — it floats to the top and people tend to find it. In it, Sgt. Rock is waging a war against women — or maybe for women. Or maybe love is the war. Regardless, he helps XTC singer and songwriter navigate love and relationships with a view of them as conflicts, taking most songs by males boo-hooing over women not understanding them to its logical, satirical endpoint. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.