The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been many things, but almost always, they have been blatantly, cheerfully, crassly commercial. Which means that they have been used, again and again, to try and create a cheery pop hit out of nothing more than children associating a song with reptiles and sprinkling the word turtle liberally throughout the lyrics. So how did they fare, commercially and artistically?
Turtle Jam by Psychedelic Dust featuring Loose Bruce
Psychedelic Dust and the questionably named Loose Bruce appear to have taken advantage of the fact that nobody was paying attention at this point, as long as the word “turtle” was in the song, and put ’90s pop rap, stereotypical Asian music cues, the hook from Jungle Boogie, vocoders, and a whole host of pop culture shout-outs in a blender to pop out an exceptionally strange song. Find us another song ostensibly aimed at children that references Wilson Pickett, Frankie Lymon, Kojak, and Baretta. They even throw in a riff on OPP at one point.
So they’re at the top just for sheer ballsiness. The song isn’t good, but it’s also the only one I made it all the way through on the first try.
Shell Shock by Gym Class Heroes
I’m not putting this one second due to technical reasons. It’s probably actually the most focused and polished song out of any on this list, actually. The main problem is that Gym Class Heroes inadvertently created the hip-hop song the Bond movies never asked for. Seriously, the guitar progression, the song’s key, the use of strings, all of it is straight out of the John Barry playbook, if John Barry were writing hip-hop. I don’t know if that’s a compliment, but hey, it’s good enough for second place.