Happy April, Readers! Hope that the weather is getting warmer where you are at! Certainly, it has been beautiful here in central Japan. Since I had several days off from work due the end of the school year, I passed the time by enjoying the spring weather, watching cherry blossoms spring to life beside my apartment’s window, writing, and also watching obscure 80s’ American TV shows like The Charmings, Starman, Out of This World, and others. (All thanks to Wikipedia and Youtube!)
I have never really heard of Misfits of Science before I stumble on a Youtube video that showcased theme songs from “bizarre” 80s’ shows. As someone who was born a few years after the premiere, all I know about the show is that Courtney Cox starred in it, who would later star in the 90s’ staple TV show Friends, a very cute Dean Paul Martin, and it sort-of piggybacks on the success of Ghostbusters as both share a mutual theme of “weird science”. You could also say that “Misfits” is the distant cousin of Fantastic Four or even X-Men when you think about “beings” having strange superpowers.
For those who don’t remember this lost 80s’ show, “Misfit” premiered in the fall of 1985 on NBC. It only ran for sixteen episodes as it was canceled due to low ratings. It wasn’t the show’s fault though, it was competing against the mega-successful, ratings dominant Dallas during the same time slot.
Why am I writing about a TV show on a music blog? Am I forgetting my bearings? Let me talk about the theme song because sometimes the songs themselves are worthy to talk about.
The theme song for Misfits of Science was composed by Basil Poledouris, a Greek-American composer who created music for various TV shows and movies like Conan the Barbarian, RoboCop, and Free Willy. He also wrote music for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Meanwhile, the theme’s performer is singer-songwriter Karen Lawrence. Since the 70s, Lawrence has been featured as the lead singer for L.A. Jets, 1994, Karen Lawrence and the Pinz, and Blue by Nature while singing back vocals for Aerosmith and Jeff Beck. She released her only album, entitled Rip and Tear, in 1986 under the label Revolver.
The theme song is entirely an HI-NRG rock tune. There are some spots where the song slows down, especially at the pre-chorus where the BPM clocks in the lower 200s, compared to the verses’ BPM of around 225. But, it isn’t solely about the BPM that defines its sound. You can hear it in the instrumentation. The composer used a combination of electric guitars, electronic keyboards, bell-like sounds, a drum kit, and a synthesizer. I feel like this song could be in the minor key to give it an edgy sound, but I could be mistaken.
I think the aspect I love about this song is the upbeat tempo, the edginess, and the “weirdness” factor that goes between the pre-chorus and chorus. You can hear it between 3:24 – 3:28 where a dissonant chord resolves into a consonant one, maybe into a half-cadence. The “weird” key, rock structure works perfectly for the show as the theme is “weird science”. But, the chorus adds a nice touch to the song as it changes directions and tries to resolve the song’s rock, edgy tension with a positive and relaxed melody.
Lastly, I think Karen Lawrence’s vocals are a perfect fit for this as her tone has that edgy, hard-rock tone to it that brings a balance to the song.
It is a shame that Misfits of Science only lasted half a season as the theme song is splendid. I might be biased as others have labeled this show as “awful” but I love this theme song. It reflects a perfect combination of vocals and instrumentation in the vein of the edgy, HI-NRG hard rock that was found prominent in the mid-80s. You can listen below and tell me what you think! 😀