Nicole Recommends: “The Underdog” by Spoon

When I hear this song, I picture billboards and palm trees.

If you’ve never seen the Paul Rudd/Jason Segel film I Love You, Man—to which I say: what’s wrong with you?!—then that might seem odd. I mean, the billboards part would definitely seem odd. Who hears a song and thinks about billboards?

Palm trees could be reasonable on its own. Even though there’s not one mention of them in the lyrics, there’s an upbeat, almost beachy quality to this indie rock tune that would inspire anyone to conjure up images of sunshine and green things and smiles.

But for me, this song is irrevocably tied to Paul Rudd, driving down the street in (what I believe to be) Los Angeles at the beginning of the movie and watching groups of men bonding. Then, of course, later in the movie, he drives down that same street, astonished to find that Jason Segel has launched an insane(ly hilarious) billboard series to help promote Rudd’s character’s realty skills. An entirely different song is playing in this scene, but “The Underdog” overrides it in my mind.

It’s THE I Love You, Man song to me.

(Imagine how jarring it was for me to hear this song when it appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming last year! The song fits, though—young Peter is, in fact, an underdog because he wants so desperately to be an Avenger and he feels he’s not being taken seriously. Excellent song choice, movie people.)

(Song recommendation by N. Alysha Lewis)

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