Today we’ll continue our look into the music behind the hit television show “Rick and Morty”.
Last time, we discussed Ryan Elder, the composer behind most of the songs we hear on the show. We got a bit of history and context, saw how Elder got his start, and discussed the challenges of balancing tension and comedy in the music.
Now, we’ll look at some specific songs from the show. To make this article more digestible, we’ll only be looking at three songs, one standout hit from each season. This list was difficult to finalize, since there are so many great examples to choose from. But then again, it also kind of makes it hard to go wrong. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Season 1 – “Human Music”
“Human Music” is played during Episode 4, “M. Night. Shaym-Aliens”. In this one, Rick, Morty, and Jerry all get stuck inside an alien simulation inside a simulation, inside another simulation. When the aliens need to divert computing power, they strip down Jerry’s simulation to the bare bones.
Right after this, Jerry drives in his car to work. He turns on the radio (“Earth Radio”), and listens to the incredibly simple “Human Music”.
In his interview with Collider, Ryan Elder recalls a conversation he had with Justin Roiland on what exactly “Human Music” should sound like. “He’s like, ‘It should just be dun, dun, dun. Dun, dun, dun,’ and I said, ‘Hold on, let me call you back and record that,’ and I’d literally just did exactly what he sang to me on the dumbest, cheesiest synthesizer sound I could find”.
So there you go. Not the most exciting story, but then again, it isn’t the most exciting song. Still, it gives a nice look into Elder’s process, and shows how closely he works with Roiland on the sound.
Season 2 – “Goodbye Moonmen”
“Goodbye Moonmen” is one of my personal favorites, and plays a few times during Episode 2 of the second season, “Mortynight Run”. After Morty rescues a cerebral gas named Fart, the gas sings him a hypnotic ballad that has a way of getting in his head and influencing his decisions.
This is an interesting one because it’s production took a more collaborative approach. Ryan Elder did the music, while Dan Harmon and David Phillips provided the lyrics. The song is sung by Jemaine Clement, one of the members of Flight of the Conchords. Clement also provides the voice of Fart throughout the episode.
“Goodbye Moonmen” is a charming, catchy Bowie-parody with nonsensical lyrics, but a great accompanying instrumentation and visuals.
Season 3 – “Fathers and Daughters (Doo-Doo in My Butt)”
Referred to more fondly as the “Doo-Doo Butt” song, “Fathers and Daughters” is played in Episode 9 of the third season, “The ABC’s of Beth”. In this episode, Beth rediscovers a make-believe land that Rick built for her when she was a child.
After finding out that she’s a sociopath like him, and going on a mad killing spree of Froopyland creatures, Beth returns and spends some quality time with Rick, who’d been humming the first few lines of “Doo-Doo Butt”.
The song features Ryan Elder and the band Chaos Chaos, as well as vocals by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland.
Like the title, the lyrics are somehow simultaneously stupid, irreverent, and heartfelt. “I’ve got a doodoo in my butt / And I don’t know what to do / With the doodoo in my butt / But I know that a father should say to you / That he’s proud of you”.
We can interpret this as Rick’s song, since he was seen fiddling on the guitar moments before the song starts. The “doodoo” in his butt is a problem, or a feeling that’s been keeping him from being a good father. The song manages to bring in that emotion throughout a scene in which Rick and Beth grow a clone from a severed finger.
So there you have it. Three songs showing the evolution of the music behind “Rick and Morty” over the years. Be sure to drop a comment down below with any suggestions on other shows to tackle for the next Behind the Music series.
Next time, we’ll conclude our discussion of “Rick and Morty” by looking at the recently released soundtrack, which has some extended versions of tracks played throughout the show.