1.22.2009

Oh, I got a live one here!

Although I love music, I would have to say that movies are probably my first entertainment love. Escaping to a pitch-black theater, sans annoying kids, and letting myself become absorbed within a story is one of my favorite things to do. Having a movie marathon at home sounds like a fine way to spend a weekend, and receiving my next DVD in the mail is akin to a birthday gift every three days.

Movies and music naturally work together, like bacon and sausage. Movies provide a narrative, and the music helps adds depth and texture to the story- the binding of the book- making it a multi-sensory experience. It can be a powerful moment when a soundtrack penetrates you in the same way as, or even deeper than, a film.
It was not Simon and Garfunkel who introduced this experience to me, or The Breakfast Club or friggin' Garden State, which I exclude because Zach Braff seems to focus more on creating a music video than actually telling a story or writing dialogue. (Watch "The Last Kiss" to see my point. The stoop scene in the rain made me angry). For me, it was Prince, although the movie was not Purple Rain. I certainly enjoyed the movie (Apollonia in the barn? Thank you!), but since that film was more of "Prince and the Revolution in Concert" doc anyway, and really sucked outside of the music and Morris Day and Jerome, it left no emotional imprint on me.
The movie was Batman. For a couple of reasons.

Regarding the music itself, I listened to that more than any other Prince album, My most dominant memory of the music is air-guitaring to "Batdance" up in my dormer room at my mom's house. I truly believe that this is not only one of Prince's greatest songs, but one of the best pop songs of the last twenty years- a great example of his genious as a composer: A seven-minute, five- part dance/funk/ electronic/ narrative with one of the best guiatr solos of the 1980s. It was like "Love in an Elevator" for the club set. (http://www.mtvmusic.com/video/?id=54162 )

As far as an album promoting elements of a movie, Batman stands out for another reason, because it was the first soundtrack in a film that really resonated an emotional reaction from me. The exact moment this happened for me had nothing to do with the film's narrative, not directly, anyway: It was the end credits, and the seductive sounds of "Scandolous" played over the rolling names in a dark theater, and I could feel the passion and intesity of the relationship between Bruce and Vicki (as silly as that now seems) coming through in the song. I immediately was in love with Kim Basinger, up until I Dreamed of Africa. I thought about that for a long time when I laid in bed, the darkness in my room recreating the same setting in the theater. It was not sexual, but certainly emotional, as I imagined what it would be like to feel that way about someone else. That's the power of music and film put together.

So, the question I pose to you all is, What was the first tune you heard in a movie ( or if that is too specific, what was the first soundtrack you heard) that left an imprint on you, and whose music will always be connected to the film?

-Chris

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

pump up the volume

besides the obvious aural onslaught of tasties from bands and artists from all ends of the spectrum (rollins to cohen, pure badassery) the soundtrack was a living, breathing character in the movie, giving it a weight that really resonated the angst and urgency i felt as a fifteen year old dipshit. i suddenly realized i COULD be a revolutionary in a small town as a teenager and i could tie it all into a soundtrack i loved. ahhh, idealism... where the fuck did that go?

Prince's batman soundtrack is pure gold. i remember buying danny elfman's orchestral soundtrack thinking it was prince's and feeling deep anxiety in the days it took for me to scrape together change to buy the right one. and you are correct in noting the solos, prince is a rock monster and doesn't get his due for the evil chops he has.
as for kim basinger i always think of her having having honey and milk rubbed on her boobs in 9 1/2 weeks... and it still gives me wood.
sol

Matt said...

Sol, dammit, you stole mine. I gotta second Pump up The Volume. I believe I stole the tape from my oldest sister when I was probably 12 or 13. That soundtrack is responsible for introducing me to Pixies, Sonic Youth, Soundgarden, Cowboy Junkies, Concrete Blond and Peter Murphy. Not to mention the cover of 'Kick Out The Jams' by Bad Brains w/ Henry Rollins on vocals is one of the best covers of any song, ever. The shear amount of bands I ended up getting into because of that record, including three (Pixies, SY & Soundgarden) that ended up being some of my favorite bands ever, is intense.

Before that the other Movie Soundtrack I obsessed about was from The Lost Boys. Not only is it an utterly brilliant piece of movie making (both Corey's) but it had a fun soundtrack as well. 'Good Times' is as good as most INXS songs and Echo and the Bunnymen's cover of 'People Are Strange' still does it for me to this day.

Chris said...

I was a big Lost Boys fan as well. INXS and Echo were my favorite as well (and that one with the kids chorus, although the name escapes). I remember the shirtless guy playing sax at the carnival was Tina Turner's sax player for a while.

I would also put in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. "Play with Me" by Extreme blew my mind. Although this one was much later and didn't really inspire me, "Pulp Fiction" is one that really blends the music well with thte movie, and I can't get the visuals out of my head when I hear the song.

cantsleepcatswilleatme said...

The first movie I ever remember seeing was in 1980 and that was Flash Gordon. The music wasn't anything to remember.

Here are a couple of my favorites though.



My #1 is Bladerunner.

Pump Up the Volume was an incredible influence on my vinyl purchases in High School.

The Commitments is a notable addition to the list.

The Last waltz, although not a
"movie" should be mentioned.

Of course we have to throw in Dazed and Confused. The Hurricane playing as the boys lope into the pool hall is classic.

A couple other movies off the top of my head that did a great job pairing music and film: Anything from The Shining, The subway scene from Risky Business :), The Sound of Music (shutup).....

Chris said...

I have to agree with all of those, catsleep...the list really can go on. With Dazed and Confuzed it was the opening credits with "Sweet Emotion" and Lynrd Skynrd as the party is ending. What an integral soundtrack for the film.

John Cusack playing The Beta Band in "High Fidelity"- I did go out and get that CD after that.

If we are looking into non-rock based soundtracks, No. 1 for me would be "Glory", with the Boys Choir of Harlem.

I also want to throw in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch", which is technically a musical, but it has an awesome soundtrack.

Wit said...

Maybe I'm too old. Fast Times at Ridgemont High holds a special place in my heart for the first time I associated music with an emotionally impacting film scene. Pheobe Cates, emerging from the pool, taking off that red bikini top, while The Cars' "Moving in Stereo" cranks in the background. Pure aural satisfaction. I still put that song on and imagine a high school girl is in my pool. (is that too much info to post on the internets?) Also, watching Jennifer Jason Leigh get semi-raped in a ballfield dugout while Jackson Browne croons "Somebody's Baby" was pretty fantastic. (Ironically, The Cars song didn't make it onto the Official Soundtrack. Some marketing/musical director should have been fired)

You crazy whippersnappers with your "Pump Up the Volume" and "High Fidelity" picks. Get off my lawn!

Chris said...

That's a valid pick. I didn't watch a lot of the teen movies, since I didn't have an older sibling to relate them to. I was limited to "Better Off Dead" and "Weird Science", which did have some good tunes, though. How about "Ferris Bueller" and Yello?

I feel like I am semi-raped every time I hear Jackson Browne..