In Contention


Listen to Alan Menken’s ‘Star Spangled Man’ from ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 7:07 pm · July 19th, 2011

When Alan Menken was tapped last year to provide an original song for Joe Johnston’s “Captain America: The First Avenger,” I had no idea how that made any sense. Not that Menken isn’t able to branch out of his typical milieu, but it just didn’t really compute for this material.

When I finally saw the film (more when the embargo lifts tomorrow), it all clicked perfectly. “Star Spangled Man” is a rah-rah U.S.O. tune akin to something like “Over There” or what have you, and it’s right up Menken’s alley. So, as it turned out, they wanted him for what he’s best at: song and dance numbers.

The song — which could earn Menken a record-tying 20th Oscar nomination if the Academy’s music branch thinks it’s deserving — plays over a montage in the film and, given that, will be a stand-out exhibition when they screen the eligible tracks in the context of the various films at year’s end. So, watch out.

Have a listen to “Star Spangled Man” below. And remember, once the Best Original Song race begins to heat up later this year, be sure to keep track of everything via the category’s dedicated page here.




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→ 20 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

20 responses so far

  • 1 7-19-2011 at 8:08 pm

    Lucas said...

    The tone sounds spot on, but it feels too much like a parody for me to think Academy voters will take it seriously. I dunno, maybe that’s just me…

  • 2 7-19-2011 at 8:49 pm

    Andrej said...

    I don’t think the possible parody factor will play against it – it’s Menken, and as long as it plays nicely through the narrative, it could get in and/or win.

    Plus, they nominated “Blame Canada” of all things.

    BTW, while we’re on the subject of Best Original Song, Kris, how do you feel about Winnie the Pooh’s repertoire? Do you think there are chances for any of the story songs, or Zooey Deschanel’s contributions are more likely to get a nod out of star power?

  • 3 7-19-2011 at 9:04 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Sure, why not? #tooearly

  • 4 7-19-2011 at 9:22 pm

    Andrej said...

    … :( oh bother.

  • 5 7-19-2011 at 9:49 pm

    Maxim said...

    It’s a nice little ditty but I think the song needed more Cher ;) .

    #lastyear

  • 6 7-20-2011 at 5:06 am

    Stefan said...

    No song needs Cher. Not nominating that song from Burlesque was one of the Academy’s best decisions last year.

    Anyway, it’s a really great tune, but I’m looking forward to hearing it in context before I give a full opinion. I’m actually disappointed they didn’t nominate Richard Sherman’s song for Iron Man 2 last year, but maybe this will be more their cup of tea.

  • 7 7-20-2011 at 6:28 am

    Rashad said...

    I really like the song. seems like a fun sequence

  • 8 7-20-2011 at 6:55 am

    Joey said...

    I feel like if any summer blockbuster gets a load of nominations, it’ll be Captain America.

  • 9 7-20-2011 at 7:02 am

    Rashad said...

    Thor should get costumes

  • 10 7-20-2011 at 7:17 am

    Danny said...

    I’m assuming the breaks in between singing in the beginning are due to dialog or loud action taking place as part of the montage (which we don’t hear in this music only version). Otherwise I’d complain that musically the song sputters for the first half before getting lift-off – but that would be unfair if the breaks are there to accommodate the storytelling.
    That said, it is a solid piece of writing and captures the era perfectly, if not especially imaginatively or with originality. Menken is bringing his B-game, not A-game here. It pales compared to his most iconic compositions and pales compared to the best patriotic tunes of the era too. I’m sure it serves the movie just fine, but it sounds more workmanlike and “appropriate” to me than touched with that extra dose of inspiration that would lift it above the ordinary.

  • 11 7-20-2011 at 9:31 am

    Will said...

    OK. That song is a hellofalot of fun. I haven’t been at all interested to see this one, but some of this stuff is looking good.

  • 12 7-20-2011 at 11:43 am

    Speaking English said...

    Sounds like a good show tune.

  • 13 7-20-2011 at 1:53 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Sounds like the beginnings of the eventual, inevitable “Captain America: The Broadway Musical”.

  • 14 7-22-2011 at 7:31 pm

    Jesusland said...

    The song is even better when you can watch the dancing showgirls with it. They did a heck of a job.

  • 15 7-22-2011 at 10:16 pm

    Al said...

    Not that this make it a lock, but its the first thing I would even think of nominating thus far.

    #unnessecaryhashtag

  • 16 7-24-2011 at 1:20 pm

    LostBoy68 said...

    The breaks in the lyrics are for when Captain America speaks his propoganda-fied speech.

    And it should be noted that the song’s lyrics are by David Zippel, previously Oscar nominated for music for “Hercules” and “Mulan”.

  • 17 7-31-2011 at 11:53 pm

    Rita McKenzie said...

    This song makes me proud to be an American. loved the movie! The song was a big surprise! Obne big fabulous surprise! I will definitely vote it # 1 for an Academy Award! My 90 year old Aunt Pearle was humming along! She is a WW2 baby!! it moved her to tears. Thanks Alan for one perfect moment!!

  • 18 8-01-2011 at 12:25 am

    Rita McKenzie said...

    I forgot to say, If they make THIS into a broadway musical, count me in! I will definitely become an investor!!

  • 19 10-24-2011 at 8:48 am

    Aldrin said...

    How to download this by the way? Anyone can show me any link please :)