Film and TV

Exterminate: 5 Songs For the Daleks

Note to my fellow Whovians: This is being written in the past, so I have no idea how much then-me will have enjoyed the first episode of the season (now). If you want to read what I will have thought you can see that at this link, but please pop back over here and let then me know in the comments what now-me said so I can have already amended it.

Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey... you know how it is.

This morning I was/will be woken up the way I get woken up the same way I'm woken up every morning I think I'm going to get to sleep in. That would be to the harsh electronic screaming of "YOU ARE AN ENEMY OF THE DALEKS! YOU WILL BE DESTROYED" that comes out of the tiny plush Dalek my toddler sleeps with. She's in love with the thing both because Daleks are awesome, and because it's pretty effective in getting her father up to come turn on the cartoon-producing machine.

Needless to say, Daleks and Doctor Who are big in our house, and I couldn't be happier that the psychotic pepperpots will be returning after a long hiatus since Series 5. Though I have no doubt that they'll end up much like always, dead at the hands of one unattractive man in a bow tie and possibly an improbable hat, it's always fun when they're around. This week's playlist is dedicated to them.

The Go-Go's, "I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas With a Dalek": Interest in the Daleks amongst kids back in the 1960s when Doctor Who debuted as an educational children's show was so widespread it got the title of Dalekmania. The Go-Go's (not the ones you're thinking of) attempted to cash in on the craze with this novelty single, hoping to make the Daleks something they could milk like Alvin and the Chipmunks. Didn't work out, because they forgot that to make something like that happen also requires the explicit aid of Satan.

The Art Attacks, "I am a Dalek": Despite the involvement of the legendary artist Savage Pencil and being included on the equally iconic Beggar's Banquet punk sample Streets, the Art Attacks simply have not come down through the years as very important or influential. Nonetheless, you can clearly hear the combination of punk energy and pop-culture awareness that helped cement the reputation of the Ramones.

Peter Serafinowicz, "Dalek Relaxation Tape for Humans": As I mentioned, the Daleks went on a little vacation because, as Steven Moffat himself said, "They are the most reliably defeatable enemies in the universe." Clearly some time off to regroup was necessary, and here's one of their possible side projects.

By the way, want to hear something that will blow your mind? Peter Serafinowicz is the man that George Lucas used to dub Ray Park's lines as Darth Maul... for a minute and a half you were just listening to Darth Maul if he had been turned into a Dalek and taken up a career as a relaxation guru. Bad-ass, huh?

Chameleon Circuit, "Exterminate Regenerate": One of these days we're going to have to have a conversation about which is better, Doctor Who rock (Trock) or Harry Potter rock (Wrock). Actually, I can probably do that in one sentence, 'Wrock usually sucks pretty hard." Phew, that was easier than I thought it would be.

Chameleon Circuit is probably the best trock act in the world, not the least because Alex Day has proven he can make hit music outside the genre as a solo artist but still maintain his relationship with the fandom. It has a lot to do with the fact that he's a brilliant lyricist, and in this tune he tackles the idea that the Doctor and the Daleks actually define themselves by their mutual and continuous destruction of each other. It's the Batman creates Joker creates Batman argument that makes me simply have to link to this vision of how The Dark Knight really should've ended in a just world.

The Clash, "Remote Control": It was 1977, and Mick Jones had had e-goddamn-nough. The Clash had just completed the disastrous Anarchy Tour supporting the Sex Pistols, dealing with paying for their own tour expenses, civic leaders suddenly cancelling shows, and police harassment.

Jones took out is frustration in the lyrics to "Remote Control," likening himself to a brainwashed foot soldier in the Dalek army. "Repression -- I am a Dalek/ Repression -- I obey," is how the song ends, and not only leaves us with a wonder reference to Doctor Who, but also gets the terrible bullshit the Clash had to deal with across perfectly.

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner