>How ears compliment eyes.

>I feel like going off on a bit of a tangent today. After the dentist appointment from hell (one filling, one hour, massive head ache) I treated myself to a solo trip to see Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. The film was ace but that’s for another blog. However what struck me as integral to the film was the soundtrack. It is something I am extremely conscious of in the films I watch and thought I would share a few snippets of gems today. I am considering both scores for films and songs included in a movie for effect. The art of composing a series of pieces for a movie deserves huge respect, but so does compiling the perfect accompaniment to different scenes. I have often listened to a song and thought about how it would fit into a film.

Summer ’78 by Yann Tiersen (from Goodbye Lenin, 2003, Ger)

For those of you who haven’t seen GL it is yet another magnificent German film from the last decade looking at the impact of East German socialism on a single family. Tiersen (who also sound tracked Amelie) wrote the film’s score and he pitches the music perfectly to reflect the melancholic atmosphere of the film. For a film dealing with the fall of the Berlin Wall it must have been extremely tempting to go down a very obvious route of using music from the era yet Tiersen boldly ignores such influences to create a truly original, atmospheric score.

Summer in the City by the Lovin Spoonful (Die Hard with a Veangence, 1995, US)

Michael Kamen was wisely invited to return to soundtrack the third (and finest) movie of the Die Hard series. Kamen is well-respected in Hollywood and has been rewarded with high profile gigs like Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and X-Men. Arguably his finest to date was on the small screen as he scored the majestic Band of Brothers series. However in this instance it is his choice of song that I am heralding rather than his own composition. It is quite simply the perfect song to reflect the heat and bustle of NYC. On top of that (and perhaps the director takes the credit for this) the timing of the explosion cutting in is genius. Even though I have seen the film countless times I never quite guess the exact point the song is interrupted by an almighty boom. Brilliant.

Superstar by Sonic Youth and Sea of Love by Cat Power (Juno, 2007)

Pilgrim has obviously inspired me to link back to Michael C and Juno is genuinely one of my favourite movies of the last decade. It is quite rightly lauded for its use of music and many of you probably own or have heard the soundtrack. The soundtrack is dominated by The Moldy Peaches but it is actually two other cover versions which for me are the highlights of the soundtrack. Both are used to perfection at key moments in the film to indicate the development of relationships in the film. Sonic Youth’s deeply unsettling cover of The Carpenters encapsulates the differing outlooks of Mark and Juno and hint at something darker in Mark’s intentions. Cat Power’s fragile and beautiful cover of Phil Phillips I’m not ashamed to say moves me to tears every time in the film. I don’t want to spoil a key plot in the film so will be deliberately vague but it compliments the sublime acting skills of Ellen Page to produce a truly powerful emotionally moving scene.


I genuinely would love to hear your own favourite soundtrack moments and why so please sign up and leave a comment. 

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. >The opening of Die Hard 3 is excellent dude. It’s a great film, but the in my opinion disappointing third act prevents it from bettering the first.I’ve always been keen on Jackie Chan’s Theme to Police Story. It’s the Kanto-Pop equivalent of all the great 80s action film songs like You’re The Best from The Karate Kid.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S90M-N4gaM0

  2. >great shout on the yann tiersen score, although I would say it sounded a little to much like his Amelie soundtrack. That said, his work for Amelie is one of my favourite movie soundtracks: deeply evocative, beautiful and very individual and suited perfectly to, Audrey Tatou's amazing performance.Secondly I'd like to bring the work of Joe Hisaishi (veteran studio Ghibli composer) to the attention of this blog. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1ni1sVCgEk His soundtracks for My neighbor totoro, princess mononoke, spirited away and nausicaa are all definitly worth buying or importing and ultra listenable with or wihout the films. One summers day from spirited away for example never fails to give me the chills and instills that magical atmosphere of the bathhouse town.And finally a recent soundtrack, Inception for me was awesome- as in in left in awe. The urgency of it drove the film along making it all the more exciting and bewilderingand thanks again for another great post :]

  3. >Thanks for the comments – really good to hear your views and Hisaishi is a great call. I also completely agree on Inception – Zimmer's soundtrack really enhances and further supports the depth of the film. If you haven't read it already this may be of interest: http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/07/28/hans-zimmer-explains-the-intersection-between-edith-piaf-and-the-inception-score/.

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