Fall Out Boy’s song “Uma Thurman”


Have you heard Fall Out Boy’s song “Uma Thurman”? It plays on the radio occasionally, and for some reason, right now I’m crazy about this song. I sense that some real thought and creativity went into the song “Uma Thurman,” and there’s a definite ’60s vibe in this song, interspersed with a more contemporary and edgy hard-driving approach. Right out of the gates, “Uma Thurman” opens up energetic and intense, with a background of repeating piano chords, which segues into a ’60s beach surf sounding guitar, followed by a funky bass sax, apparently borrowed from the opening theme song of the popular 60s television series The Munsters. Finally comes the song’s catchy chorus “She wants to dance like Uma Thurman.” The whole effect is fun and bizarre…the exhilarating drive of the song “Uma Thurman” is tempered by that ’60s sounding guitar…and wow, that brass…it remotely reminds me of some of the musical scores from the ’60s and ’70s James Bond films.

Uma Thurman in poster for the movie "Pulp Fiction"

Uma Thurman in poster for the movie “Pulp Fiction”

On Fall Out Boy’s website, bassist Pete Wentz tells the story of the song:

“Originally, when we came up with the idea, and there was this sample in it, which is a sample from The Munsters TV show, people kept saying ‘oh cool, like Quentin Tarantino, cool’ when we played it. We decided why don’t we kind of create this world around that?”

So it must have not been too far a stretch when Uma Thurman came to mind. The song’s title refers to actress Uma Thurman in Tarantino’s classic (and also violent and graphic) movie Pulp Fiction. I understand that the real Uma Thurman formally gave Fall Out Boy her permission to use her name in this song. As one of the band members was quoted in an article in Rolling Stone,

“We might have been able to get away with it under parody law, but we don’t know many lawyers. We do have a ragtag bunch of friends and someone was able to get it right to her [Uma Thurman] and explain the vibe.”

Thank you, Uma, for being so agreeable, because I think this song with your name all through it literally and totally rocks.

Even in real life, Thurman has always come across as striking, but also sort of funky and exotic. On the screen in Pulp Fiction, she’s fascinating, mysterious, and quirky, all at the same time. The “dancing” in Fall Out Boy’s song “Uma Thurman” refers to a memorable scene in Pulp Fiction when Thurman’s character does some pretty cool ’50s and ’60s moves with her partner played by John Travolta during a dance contest. Check out the scene here:Maybe you’ve listened to Fall Out Boy’s “Uma Thurman,” but have you seen the song’s official video? With all of the distractions in my life, I never considered watching the video until I read that it had earned the 2015 MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video. Check it out here:


The official video for Fall Out Boy’s “Uma Thurman” shows an adorable contestant Sara winning the chance to be an assistant to the band Fall Out Boy for twenty-four hours.

The band Fall Out Boy has a hit with "She Likes to Dance Like Uma Thurman"

The band Fall Out Boy

We see Sara interacting with the different band members throughout her twenty-four hours, all with the song “Uma Thurman” playing in the background. Sara gamely fetches coffee, plays paintball, sings karaoke, and rides a mechanical bull, among other things, with each of the different band members, and I couldn’t help but smile seeing Sara have all of those fun and quirky adventures with the Fall Out Boys for a day. I watched this video once, and then again, and found it even more clever and funnier the second time. This was a great way for the band Fall Out Boy to poke fun not only at themselves, but also at the doe-eyed fans who would think nothing of taking Joe Trohman’s pet zebra for a walk, for instance.

This official video of Fall Out Boy’s “Uma Thurman” has a more serious message in the final scene, when the band asks Sara to drive a tank that crushes a vehicle with “Section 1, Article 36.03” written on its side panel, a code section that refers to a former law in Alabama prohibiting gay marriage. It’s a scene that lets the viewer know where the band stands on human and gay rights. I’m totally fine with the band’s political stance, but to me, the tank scene seems like an unnecessary epilogue to a book…it just doesn’t quite fit with the tone of everything up to that point, and feels sort of tacked on.

Overall though, Fall Out Boy’s official video “Uma Thurman” is pretty darn entertaining. No, the video doesn’t have the ’60s vibe that I expected, considering the retro feel of the music.

Fall Out Boy sings about Uma Thurman

Fall Out Boy sings about Uma Thurman

That’s still okay…I found it refreshing to watch the lucky fan Sara having the time of her life as she hangs out with and caters to the quirky lifestyles of the rich, famous, and fun-loving members of Fall Out Boy.

–G

 

 

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