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    Tuesday, October 22, 2019

    #ThemeSongTuesday: Are You Ready For A Good Time?



    Man, I never thought I'd hear AC/DC on WWE programming, but here we are.

    With SmackDown having moved to FOX earlier this month, what was once the true A-show of WWE underwent a soft rebrand with a new logo, OBB, and theme song and Superstars but whatever nobody really cares about that. When I first watched the new OBB, I was too busy watching out for how it would present the Superstars and who'd be featured. But now that we're three episodes into this iteration of SmackDown, I've had enough time to process the presentation as a whole.

    The verdict is, well... meh. I neither like it nor dislike it. It's just... there. I mean, it's way better than having SmackDown open to Green Day's "Know Your Enemy," that's for sure. But I long for the days of the old hip-hop theme or even Drowning Pool screaming the show's arrival into my eardrums.

    Maybe it's because I'm not a huge fan of blues, which is a huge influence in AC/DC's music. Throughout their run, they've refused to really classify themselves under any particular genre other than plain ol' rock & roll, but that doesn't take away the blues elements in their music. You'll hear it a lot from the get-go, with the opening riff being the proverbial calm before the storm.

    That said, I actually appreciate Brian Johnson's vocals on this track because he didn't half-ass this at all. This song is supposed to hype you up and get you in the mood to have... a good time (heh). And the old man delivers. You can hear how slick he is in the verses, leading into a rollicking crescendo in the hook.

    How crazy is it that the visual tones of the music video are pretty much the same ones we see on SmackDown? FORESHADOWING???

    Anyway, what makes "Are You Ready" catchy is how pretty much anyone can sing it. I remember interviewing pop star Charlie Puth in 2015 and he taught me how he makes sure both guys and girls can scream/sing the hooks to his songs. "If you make the song too low, girls can't sing it," he explained. "And if you make the song too high, guys can't sing it." He then identifies E major as the best key because it's the "absolute middle of what both guys and girls can sing."

    Now, I don't have perfect pitch, so I turned to one of my favorite sources for all things music analysis, nerdcore hip-hop artist NINNO. He broke down the hook on the keyboard and singled out the melody as either an F or D minor pentatonic run to explain why the hook in "Are You Ready" is such an earworm, even though it was released 29 years ago. "The key center—whether it's E major or not—doesn't matter," he points out. "It's how the melody works. [This hook] uses four or five notes everyone can sing along to."

    Pentatonic scales have five notes per octave and "have been used by almost every living creature since before Jesus was born," NINNO laughs. They're a naturally occurring phenomenon, having been used in ancient civilizations all over the world, with its influences still being felt in contemporary music today. "Think of the military cadences," says NINNO. "Those use traditional pentatonic scales!"

    Who would have thought that an AC/DC song from 1990—one that isn't even among their signature songs—would be such LSS material all these years later just because it became the new theme song of SmackDown? I mean, I'm not a fan of how it is now with its RAW-like booking, but, hey, we'll always have AC/DC to rock out to, right?

    Take it away, Brian Johnson.


    Header image from WWE on FOX


    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: Are You Ready For A Good Time? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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