A few weeks ago, while watching The Oscars, I found myself thinking about the “magic” of the movies. Naturally, my mind then rolled around to music and how big of a role it plays in creating that magic, and how big a role the movies have on music. I decided to make my Monday mixer featuring songs and quotes from and about the movies. I was hoping it would shed light on the dabate going on in my mind. Does music make more of an influence on the movies, or the movies on music?
“Caring Is Creepy“– The Shins
“Good luck exploring the infinite abyss.” “Thank you, and hey, you too.” – Garden State
The Garden State soundtrack is, in my opinion, one of the great soundtracks in all of cinema. I bought the soundtrack before I ever saw the movie. When I finally got around to seeing it, I realized that the songs fit the movies perfectly, in tone, style and feeling. The soundtrack is a perfectly mellow soundtrack that is as good to listen to on a cross-country road trip, as it is to fall asleep to. Listening to the soundtrack was the first time I’d ever heard of The Shins. Now this song is on top of my iTunes “most played” with 235 plays (which is followed by New Slang with 199 plays).
“The Union Forever“– The White Stripes
“I don’t think there’s one word that can describe a man’s life.” – Citizen Kane
Orson Welle’s Citizen Kane is considered to be the best movie of all time by some schools of critics. The White Stripes did a perfect job writing a song that completely captured the tone of the dark film about a man’s life, money, influence and search for love. The song’s lyrics are actually all quotes from the movie itself, including a cover of a song featured in the movie itself.
“Quelqu’un m’a dit” – Carla Bruni
“Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate.” – (500) Days of Summer
The soundtrack of (500) Days of Summer is another one of those soundtracks that so perfectly fits its movie that it’s hard to believe the songs weren’t composed for the movie, including songs from Regina Spektor and Hall & Oates. I have no idea what this song is saying, but music mixed with the wonderful French language permeates my entire being. This ability to capture emotion perfectly is abundant throughout this soundtrack and is part of what makes this movie so unforgettable.
“Theme Of Rome” – Danger Mouse and Danielle Luppi
“To hell with them fellas. Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.” – The Outlaw Josey Wales
This is one of the few song on this list that did not come from a movie or movie soundtrack, however it was made to sound as if it did. This song immediately reminded me of the sounds of the old Westerns and actors like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Danger Mouse has a gift for imitating different styles of music while still adding his own influence to the sound. “Mogrel Heart” by Broken Bells had a similar “Western” sound in the middle of the song.
“Gimme Shelter” – The Rolling Stones
“When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals. Today, what I’m saying to you is this: when you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?” – The Departed
When I was 14 years old and watched this film for the first time I came out of the theater with a few thoughts, “ That was awesome, and that Rolling Stones song in the beginning was kick ass.” Between this song, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by Dropkick Murphys and Jack Nicholson’s acting, I was drawn into this movie immediately, and it remains one of my favorites to this day. Scorsese has a wonderful tradition of taking great classic rock songs and fitting perfectly into his films.
“For What It’s Worth” – Buffalo Springfield
“Now, let’s go get those Viet-Congs.” – Tropic Thunder
This song is just one of many songs to be featured in several movies about Vietnam, along with songs from Credence Clearwater Revival and other artists. These songs defined the music scene during the Vietnam era, and their presence in movies like this or Forrest Gump are what give the movies the distinct connection to the era.
“I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow“– The Soggy Bottom Boys
“Wooooooo-wee! Hot Damn, son I believe you did sell your soul to the devil.” – O Brother, Where Art Thou?
This is one of my favorite songs to ever come from a movie. The song starts with a great, bluesy guitar riff and then is carried by great harmonizing vocals that the Avett Brothers could have taken lessons from. Or possibly it’s just because whenever I hear it I visualize that it’s George Clooney singing.
“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds
“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” – The Breakfast Club
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who went through high school and doesn’t in some way identify himself or herself with a character in a John Hughes film. I also find it hard to listen to this song without being sentimental of my high school years. This is a song that was not made famous by itself but was boosted into fame by the movie industry and will never be forgotten.
“Chicago“– Sufjan Stevens
“You know, like it or not, we’re still your family, for better or worse…” – Little Miss Sunshine
There is something magical about this song. It is uplifting, inspiring and soothing all at the same time. I had already been listening to Sufjan Stevens for a while already by the time I first saw Little Miss Sunshine, however, after that I have always associated the song with road trips and try to listen to the song anytime I spend more than 2 hours in a car at a time, especially when I’m on my way home the Chicago area.
“Hotel California (Spanish Mix)” – Gipsy Kings
“That rug really tied the room together.” – The Big Lebowski
This song always makes me chuckle as I imagine a flamboyant man named Jesus licking his bowling ball before rolling it down the lane. This movie had a wonderful soundtrack that caused you to be happy that whoever took the Dude’s car didn’t take the tape deck and “the Credence”. If you like this tune you should also check the Gipsy King’s cover of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” featured in Toy Story 3.