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Various Artists

Decaydance/New Line

Just five seconds into this movie soundtrack comes a sample of star Samuel L. Jackson’s Internet-spawned rant “I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!” But perhaps a more apt quote comes courtesy Cobra Starship, a less-than-super group of MySpace stalwarts led by Gabe Saporta of punky emo group Midtown. “Times are strange,” Saporta sings on the title track, called—what else—“Snakes on a Plane (Bring It).” “We got a free upgrade for Snakes on a Plane/Fuck ’em, I don’t care.” How strange are these times? Strange enough that New Line Cinema nearly changed the title of the movie to Pacific Air Flight 121, which Jackson talked the studio out of, and that an army of bloggers, enchanted solely by the film’s campy name, propelled it to the must-see movie of the summer. Even stranger, though, is that only three of the album’s 16 tracks stay on topic. Sure, the justly dubbed “Ophidiophobia,” featuring Gnarls Barkley crooner Cee-Lo Green, also samples Jackson’s “motherfucking snakes” bit. Twice. But the seemingly related “Black Mamba,” by Chicago pop troupe the Academy Is…, doesn’t even mention snakes. Or, for that matter, planes. Rappers Gym Class Heroes’ “New Friend Request” tells the tale of an Internet dater, a different kind of snake altogether. Blame Pete Wentz, bassist for pop-punk stars Fall Out Boy and owner of Decaydance, who produced the virtually hissless album. Wentz pulled some existing songs from his label’s roster—including one from MTV standouts Panic! at the Disco—and had them remixed. Three such touchup jobs are done by Brooklyn DJ Tommie Sunshine, whose only attempt to connect with the serpentine theme is to occasionally throw in tambourines and rattlesnake sound effects. More unforgivable is the exclusion of L.A.-based ravesploitation duo Captain Ahab. Back in June, Ahab beat out some 500 other bands in a snakes-related songwriting contest sponsored by New Line and Web networking site Tag World, thus reportedly earning a spot on the soundtrack. For their efforts, they were rewarded only with a spot as a bonus MP3 on the CD’s “enhanced content,” which is at least better than what happened to Palo Alto, Calif., experimental act Snakes on a Jefferson Airplane, who remain ignobly grounded on MySpace. Without these guys front and center, who’s gonna ask such pertinent questions as, “Don’t you want a plane without snakes?/Don’t you need a plane without snakes?”—Chris Shott