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    Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    #ThemeSongTuesday: Gentleman

    The Evil Brit is one of the most common tropes in American TV and film. It's easy to typecast someone British as a villain, especially if you're pandering to the American masses. After all, British people are stereotyped as being snobbish and high-strung, mostly because they speak English, but don't sound like everyone else. This makes sense if you look at it from most Americans' point of view, where they see their own pronunciations as being devoid of an accent. Therefore, when one speaks with a British accent, it's easier to characterize them as evil because they're different—which explains how the Evil Brit came to be a foreign heel trope.

    As writer Cari Romm explains on The Cut, whether they give off the vibe that they're better than you because they speak in a more sophisticated manner (Queen's English), or sound like they're brash hooligans (Cockney or similar accents), British characters are easier to write as villains because they come across as fierce, headstrong people with little to no moral compass. Don't believe me? Scar (Jeremy Irons) from The Lion King has a British accent. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) has a British accent. Hell, even the MCU's Loki—who's supposed to be fucking Norse—is played by a deliriously dashing British guy.

    In wrestling, we've seen this trope rehashed over and over again, from Lord Steven William Regal to Wade Barrett, and most recently, Gentleman Jack Gallagher. Aside from obviously being British, they've all been written pretty similarly as villains. They think of themselves as being classier and more respectable, all while being condescending towards everything American. Given how the Evil Brit has been ingrained as a TV trope, it's so easy to imagine them laughing like a Bond Villain and twirling their moustache—something only Gallagher actually has, by the way.

    When it comes to their music, only Regal and Gallagher actually found themselves coming out to themes that go all in on the Evil Brit trope. Listen to William Regal's current theme song as an example:

    The opening chords alone sound so dastardly, like you know this motherfucker's up to no good. The cadence of the beat is so slow and deliberate, much like how you'd expect a man of class to move. This is a guy who has no wasted motions, whose every move is calculated and designed to build on to the next one. Even the synth keys sound sophisticated, and not cheap, like how an Evil Brit would probably view heavy metal, for example.

    In that same vein, Jack Gallagher's current theme could very well be a spiritual successor of William Regal's.

    "Gentleman" starts off with a buildup into what sounds like a gush of bad intentions. From there, it's a heavy bass drum and synth horns coming together to form a perfect storm of evil and tyranny. It's definitely not something Gentleman Jack Gallagher could run along to, unlike his previous theme music. This one was meant to walk out to, not run out to.

    What I love about the main riff is how you can hear some high chords on the keyboard being played in the background. It gives the theme that air of class and sophistication we've come to associate with a suit-wearing Brit ready to throw down at a moment's notice. Another thing that's pretty fun about this theme is how it could very well have gone to a non-Cruiserweight. Most Cruiserweight themes sound like they were written and produced for wrestlers known for flippy shit. Not "Gentleman," though. Wade Barrett could've come out to this song.

    As we've come to expect from CFO$ by now, the song is just one endless loop. But it's a song you can't really get tired of because you feel like you get classier after each loop you get through. Never mind that it's mostly performed using synth instruments. It actually sounds dastardly enough to be the soundtrack to whatever horrible news you're reading today. Like, y'know, the SEC revoking Rappler's license to operate.

    It's a shame it took WWEMusic and CFO$ a long time to upload this on YouTube and Spotify. With enough listens, I could've made a case for "Gentleman" to at least crack the Honorable Mentions on our Theme Song Awards episode on The SGP Podcast. For now, this feature on #ThemeSongTuesday will have to do. Please don't hurt me, Jacky Boy.

    Photo from WWE


    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.
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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: Gentleman Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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