Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Music Makes Pictures

For the Filmmusic Blog-A-Thon at Windmills Of My Mind I thought that instead of picking one soundtrack to a movie (probably would have been the soundtrack to Grace Of My Heart) I am going to highlight several tracks from movies that I love.

Fandango I would argue that the dream sequence that happens at the end of this movie might be the most perfect marriage of music and film ever. The sequence begins with "September Fifteenth" by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays and ends with "It's For You" by the same duo. The sequence begins with hope, meets regret in the middle and finishes with the truth that all good things must come to an end. There's quite a story that's told in that few minutes. The guitar from both Metheny and Mays keeps the pace while adding just the right crescendos to the drama that unfolds. This entire soundtrack to Fandango is fantastic, but was never released because or rights issues. You can pick up these two songs from the album As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls.

Grace Of My Heart The first song on this album is "God Give Me Strength" performed by Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello. In the movie we watch Denise (Illeana Douglas) sing this song in the recording studio. Matt Dillon's over-reacting to the power of this son almost kills it for me, but fortunately this song is so powerful it's bullet-proof. Or at least Dillon-proof. I was able to see Costello perform this in Kansas City and honestly I was goose-pimply for about a week. This soundtrack is available used on Amazon for a good price.

Lost Highway I read that when David Lynch sat down with Trent Reznor for the soundtrack of Lost Highway, Lynch said that he wanted a song that conjured up images of snakes crawling all over your face. I don't know if the song "The Perfect Drug" does this or not, but I like it. It's fast and angry and a bright spot to this movie. The partial album of this is available on iTunes.

The Royal Tenenbaums I have grown up but haven't managed to grow out of my love for Devo. So naturally I track everything that Mark Mothersbaugh does. As much as I love Devo, I will say that in his work on soundtracks and with Wes Anderson specifically, Mark has shown a level of sophistication in his music I never knew existed. And no song better represents this statement than the short and sweet one that opens this movie titled "111 Arthur Avenue." This entire soundtrack is available on iTunes.

Bugsy Malone I have a sickness and it has a name: Paul Williams. What is it about that strange little man that I like so much? I don't know, I just go with it. At the end of this movie, just when you thought that all hell had broken loose with the splurge tommy guns, here comes "You Give A Little Love" and before you know it, the good guys and bad guys are singing arm in arm completely covered in cream. You can purchase this on Amazon, but it's an import.

Me and You and Everyone We Know This entire soundtrack by Michael Andrews is a perfectly reflection of the characters in the movie. Sweet, innocent and bit twisted. The song "Goldfish" is a wonderful example of this. It plays as the main character Christine follows a car that has accidentally left a goldfish in a bag of water on the back window. It's a strange yet sweet scene because Christine is so intent on making sure this goldfish survives and the song captures that perfectly. You can find this song and the entire album on iTunes.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off John Hughes has always had a knack for finding great music for his movies. But to me nothing captures John Hughes' vision of perfect teendom than "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" by The Smiths. This song plays while Ferris, Sloan and Cameron are walking through The Chicago Art Institute. The scenes cut back and forth from Ferris and Sloan who are happy in love to Cameron who is lost in love and about everything else. The song seems morose as Morrisey swoons, but we all know we're watching a John Hughes movie and everything will eventually turn out perfectly. Can't find this soundtrack anymore, but the individual song is all over the place.

The Last Temptation Of Christ Peter Gabriel has always done his own thing. The fact that "In Your Eyes" became the theme-song of every heart-broken teenager and ultimately one of the worst movie cliches ever doesn't do him much justice. Fortunately, one year earlier he put together an unforgettable soundtrack for Last Temptation Of Christ called Passion. A combination of drums and guitars and horns and a slew of organic items I can't put my finger on. My favorite song from this is "A Different Drum." All I can say is that it haunts me every time I play it. You can find the entire album on iTunes.

Lost In Translation The night that Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson go out in Tokyo, they end up in an apartment with a group of new friends. There they dance to the song "Too Young" by Phoenix and all is suddenly well with the world. You can tell that Murray's character is having the time of his life and the song reflects that feeling perfectly. Interesting bit of trivia: Sofia Coppola is married to the lead singer of Phoenix. You have to buy the entire soundtrack on iTunes to get this song, unless you just buy the individual song which can be found on the album United.

Toys Although I like this movie, I wish it were as good as the song "The Closing Of The Year" promises. It's strange, child-like fun written and performed by Wendy and Lisa of the old Revolution part of Prince and The Revolution. In the movie, the song is performed by Lisa and the children of the workers at the Toy plant. It's an amazing opening scene to the movie, but soon enough it becomes a platform for 'how crazy can Robin Williams get' and loses all the magic. iTunes does not offer this soundtrack, but you can get it used on Amazon pretty cheaply.


Anonymous said...

Interesting choices, Piper.

I am particularly thankful for "Ferris Bueller" because it introduced my brain to the musical crack known as Yello's "Oh Yeah."

Joseph Finn said...

Kudos for the Bugsy Malone love for such an odd fun little movie (really Alan Parker has had the weirdest career); most of the music in their is quite good, especially a sad little song called "Tomorrow."

And Toys also has a fabulous track by a fairly new Tori Amos titled "Happy Workers" with some subtly creepy lyrics.

Every time I hear "A Different Drum," I immediately rename it in my head as "March on Jerusalem," since I always see Willem Dafoe striding acros the sand and rocks with his apostles, ready to take charge and sweep out the corruption.

Larry Aydlette said...

Some good choices there. I've always loved little Paul, too. Back in the vinyl days, I even had some of his solo albums.

Damian Arlyn said...

Great post, Piper. I am also particularly fond of the soundtrack to Ferris Beuler.

Thanks for participating in the blog-a-thon! :)