American Psycho • Hip to Be Square • Huey Lewis and the News

!The best soundtracks&movies of all time! Soundtrack from the 2000 Mary Harron film “American Psycho,” with Christian Bale, Jared Leto, Chloe Sevigny, Reese.

Hip to Be Square” is a song by Huey Lewis and the News, written by Bill Gibson, Sean Hopper, and Huey Lewis, and released in 1986 as the second single from the multi-platinum album Fore!.

The song features Pro Football Hall of Famers and then-San Francisco 49ers Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott singing backup vocals.The single reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. In concert, Huey Lewis now normally sings the song as “(Too) Hip to Be Square”, as performed on their live album, Live at 25.

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Composition

In a 2008 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Huey Lewis stated he originally wrote the song’s lyrics in the third person, “He used to be a renegade…”.He referenced the book Bobos in Paradise in describing the song’s inspiration, explaining that “Hip to Be Square” was about the “phenomenon where people from the ’60s started to drop back in, cut their hair, work out, that kind of crap, but they kept their bohemian tastes. … bourgeois bohemians.” Lewis later modified the lyrics to be in the first person as he believed it would enhance the joke, but stated this had unintentionally led to the interpretation of the song as an “anthem for square people”.

Appearances

American Psycho

The song is referred to in the novel American Psycho when the main character, Patrick Bateman, provides a lengthy critique of Huey Lewis and the News’ career.

The song was then featured in the film adaptation during a scene in which Bateman (played by Christian Bale) gives an abridged version of his critique from the novel to his coworker Paul Allen (Jared Leto) just before killing him in his house with an axe in a turning point of the film:

“In ’87, [sic] Huey released this … Fore!, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is ‘Hip to Be Square,’ a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself.”

The song was originally featured on the accompanying soundtrack, but shortly after it was released, the album was pulled from the shelves and the song was removed before being reissued, but a small number had already been sold. Reports erroneously claimed that Lewis had objected to the context in which his song was used in the film and demanded it be removed from the album. In reality, the film’s production team had paid for the rights to use the song in the film, but overlooked receiving the rights to include it on the soundtrack. When the soundtrack was released with the song on it, Lewis had it withdrawn, as the soundtrack rights had not been secured.

In 2013, Lewis himself guest starred in a parody of the scene with “Weird Al” Yankovic for comedy website Funny or Die.

in 2021, metalcore band Ice Nine Kills released “Hip to Be Scared” as the lead single from their album The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood. In addition to the title being a direct reference, the song and video featured an interpolation of the main melody from “Hip to Be Square” during a skit which parodies Patrick Bateman’s Huey Lewis critique.

Sesame Street

The popular children’s show Sesame Street created an educational parody of the song called “Hip to Be a Square” and used it during a cartoon portion of the program. Lewis said of the parody, “they contacted our publisher about doing it, and we were happy to let ‘em. I think it’s sweet.”

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