20 July 2006

Your Neon Lights Will Shine

Sofia Coppola is public enemy number 1. I was masturbating and laughing reading all the negative reviews of her upcoming Marie Antoinette, when I stumbled across the soundtrack listing, which rendered me cold. That bitch. Why does she have to have such impecable taste in music and make such mediocre films? The track listing (or at least the music from the film) is as follows (I'm not including the classical music she used):

"Natural's Not In It" - Gang of Four
"I Don't Like It Like This" - The Radio Dept.
"Jynweythek Ylow" - Aphex Twin
"Pulling Our Weight" - The Radio Dept.
"Il Secondo Giorno Instrumental" - Air
"Keen on Boys" - The Radio Dept.
"I Want Candy (Kevin Shields Remix)" - Bow Wow Wow / Kevin Shields (uhhhh...?)
"Hong Kong Garden" - Siouxsie and the Banshees (fuck!)
"Aphrodisiac" - Bow Wow Wow
"Fools Rush In (Kevin Shields Remix)" - Bow Wow Wow / Kevin Shields
"Plainsong" - The Cure
"Ceremony" - New Order
"Tommib Help Buss" - Squarepusher
"Kings of the Wild Frontier" - Adam Ant & the Ants
"Avril 14th" - Aphex Twin
"What Ever Happened?" - The Strokes
"All Cats Are Grey" - The Cure (is this some weird Valley of the Dolls reference?)

The Radio Dept., a Swedish rock band, is apparently the band she's pimping here ("Keen on Boys" is sublime). You can see an uninteresting video for their wonderful song "Where Damage Isn't Already Done" here via YouTube. At least, New Order's "Age of Consent" which is featured in the trailer, won't be in the film. Apparently this plus a bunch of IDM (I fucking hate the name of the genre, but I think Squarepusher/Aphex Twin music should be in a category of its own) is how she sees the French Revolution. And I bet that bitch matches the images well with it. So on this note, here's a couple other amazing soundtracks to films of varying quality (if you know me, these choices will probably be a bit obvious).

Stephin Merritt's music lends itself beautifully to Pieces of April, a film I tried not to see and then, after hearing Merritt did the soundtrack, tried not to like. Surprisingly, I liked the film a lot -- and not surprisingly, I dug the soundtrack. I haven't seen Eban and Charley, nor do I plan to, but the soundtrack is equally as wonderful. On Pieces of April, he's credited alone, with The Magnetic Fields and his side-project The 6ths (his other side-project Future Bible Heroes doesn't make an appearance, though could you really tell that much of a difference?). "Maria, Maria, Maria" and "The Little Ukelele" off Eban are strongly recommended.

Like Merritt, Lou Barlow's soundtrack to Larry Clark's Kids features various incarnations of him. Most of the songs are attributed to his Folk Imposion, which garnered a hit out of "Natural One," but it's Sebadoh's (Barlow, again) "Spoiled" that's the highlight here and the film's stark, bleak closer. The song wonderfully puts perspective into the film, making you forget, seeing Casper on the couch naked and vacant before the credits go by, Clark's irresponsible sensationalism. Though I don't remember it in the film, Slint's "Good Morning, Captain" off their Spiderland and two Daniel Johnston songs are the non-Barlow tracks.

1. Can - I Want More
2. Aphex Twin - Goon Gumpas
3. Boards of Canada - Everything You Do Is a Balloon
4. Can - Spoon
5. Stereolab - Blue Milk
6. The Velvet Underground - I'm Sticking with You
7. Broadcast - You Can Fall
8. Gamelan Drumming
9. Holger Czukay - Cool in the Pool
10. Lee 'Scratch' Perry - Hold of Death
11. Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra - Hold of Death
12. Ween - Japanese Cowboy
13. Holger Czukay - Fragrance
14. Aphex Twin - Nannou

Though missing the final song in the film, The Mamas and the Papas' "Dedicated to the One I Love," Lynne Ramsay's soundtrack to Morvern Callar works on levels much more thoughtful than your typical compilation soundtrack. The music works as a plot device, the last present given to Morvern (Samantha Morton), by her dead boyfriend. I would have probably preferred that the soundtrack be entirely the mix tape; the Holger Czukay songs are used during parties Morvern attends and are not on the mix, though his band Can is. Yet it all works beautifully both within the film and, though to a slightly lesser extent, in your CD player.

Lost Highway is probably the only Lynch soundtrack that isn't totally consisting of Angelo Badalamenti's score, though he shows up a lot here, along with Trent Reznor who co-produced this (Nine Inch Nails' "The Perfect Drug" was the big hit off this album). And while certain music was completely of its time (would Lynch really want to use Rammstein in another of his films?), it still makes for moody (surprise) excellence. Some of the highlights are The Smashing Pumpkins' "Eye," Marilyn Manson's weirdly wonderful cover of "I Put a Spell on You," Lou Reed's "This Magic Moment," and David Bowie's "I'm Deranged," which is featured in the opening credit sequence. Naturally, I'd also recommend the soundtracks to Twin Peaks, Fire Walk with Me, Mulholland Drive, and The Straight Story. NOTE: Though used in the film, This Mortal Coil's "Song to the Siren," which Lynch wanted to use in Blue Velvet during the scene where Kyle Maclachlan dances with Laura Dern at the party, is not on here.

I'm a little biased in that Gregg Araki and I have even closer taste in music than Sofia. Mysterious Skin is a bit different, as its not a soundtrack as much as it is the score for the film composed by minimalist Harold Budd and Cocteau Twins' guitarist Robin Guthrie. Sure, the soundtracks for all his other films are awesome, but Mysterious Skin stands on its own as a work of art comperable to the film itself. Here's a list of the (awesome) songs featured in the film, but not on the soundtrack, in case you're wondering:

Slowdive - Golden Hair (a Syd Barrett cover)
Curve - Galaxy
Slowdive - Catch the Breeze
The Cocteau Twins - Crushed
Slowdive - Dagger
Ride - Drive Blind
Sigur Rós - Samskeyti

1. Hoover - 2 Wicky
2. Portishead - Glory Box
3. Axiom Funk - If 6 Was 9
4. John Lee Hooker - Annie Mae
5. Liz Phair - Rocket Boy
6. Stevie Wonder - Superstition
7. Nina Simone - My Baby Just Cares for Me
8. Billie Holiday - I'll Be Seeing You
9. Mazzy Star - Rhymes of an Hour
10. The Cocteau Twins - Alice
11. Lori Carson - You Won't Fall
12. Sam Phillips - I Need Love

Really the only thing going for Stealing Beauty was the visual landscape of the film and the music that accompanied it. Liv Tyler was remarkably unappealing as the American virgin out to come of age in Tuscany (where better?). The soundtrack mixes the music of a rebellious teenage girl (Liz Phair's "Rocket Boy" is perfect here, though Hole's "Rock Star" is not present on the soundtrack), mood setters ("Alice," "Glory Box," and "2 Wicky"), and the music of a man reflecting upon youth (Simone, Holiday, Wonder).

Like Mysterious Skin, the soundtrack to demonlover has a score from highly influential post-rockers; here, it's Sonic Youth. I find myself listening to this a lot, even though I'd imagine it to be even too sparce for most people to get into, outside of the film.

Don't think I'm just trying too hard to push hip soundtracks from movies I like. For the sake of redundancy, I didn't mention the soundtracks to Buffalo '66 and The Brown Bunny, though, as you can guess, I recommend them highly. I omitted some brilliant soundtracks, like Purple Rain and (of course) Xanadu, simply because they're musicals... and everyone knows how great they are (well, in the case of Xanadu, they should: c'mon, Gene Kelly, Olivia Newton-John, and ELO! on rollerskates). And you better believe I'm fucking excited about the Outkast musical, Idlewild, in theatres next month.


Sebastián Barros said...

This blog rocks!!

Kisses from Chile.

Seb :)

Hetero-Erotica said...

I keep telling you, Idlewild is going to suck. Forget the fact that Dre appears to be a decent actor in the mediocre films he's done, and forget the standout performance that Big Boi gives in the otherwise lame "ATL." From what I've heard, the music ain't gonna be enough to carry a musical. An album is iffy at this rate, even.
NICE post. I'm working on a big return for my blog. Get ready.