Tuesday Ten: 083: Soundtracks

This week’s Tuesday Ten comes courtesy of two things, really: this article about soundtrack writers, and then Cyanotic’s recent re-working of the Terminator theme. Both of these got me thinking about soundtracks, as somehow I don’t think I’ve ever actually covered them in a Tuesday Ten. But I’m not going for the easy option of just listing ten soundtracks that I really love, instead thinking of ten songs that are evocative of the films they come from, in some way or another – and not all of the films in this list are actually that good, either.

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Anyway, I asked for some suggestions for this last week on Twitter and Facebook, and got an avalanche of suggestions. Oops. As always feel free to accost me with tracks that I forgot.

Film: The Crow
Song: The Cure

The soundtrack to The Crow is an album – with a couple of exceptions – that I can come back to time after time, as it was so well put together. The music fit the mood of the film perfectly, and a fair number of the tracks were career highs for the bands, or very well-done covers. The pick of the album, though, is The Cure’s slow-burning masterpiece that opens the album and, as I recall, is the first music you hear in the film too. Oddly, though, it’s use here seems to have meant that the Cure have not touched it since – apparently never played live [edit: it finally was played live in late 2013], and I’m not sure that it’s been released anywhere else, either.

Film: Donnie Darko
Song: Echo & The Bunnymen
The Killing Moon

Sod the cover of Mad World by Gary Jules that was a big hit some time after the film’s release, for me this film is defined by the opening song, the use of The Killing Moon in the opening sequence as Jake Gyllenhall cycles through the countryside. A classic song already by the time of the film, of course, it seemed to gain a new lease of life since the use in this film, and nowadays I have trouble associating the song with anything other than the film.

Film: Romeo + Juliet
Song: Gavin Friday

Daisy wanted me to include Radiohead’s Talk Show Host, but seeing as I’ve already mentioned Radiohead in a very recent list, it’s being omitted here, and instead I’m putting my choice from this film in. My young ears (I was only eighteen when this film was released!) had never heard of Gavin Friday at this point, although I never got any further than the album that this comes from (Shag Tobacco), so I’ve never really got ’round to hearing much of The Virgin Prunes. As for the film, though, this song for me just brings up images of the oh-so-pretty Claire Danes on the balcony…

Film: 28 Days Later
Song: Godspeed You! Black Emperor
East Hastings

This was a film that somehow took me by surprise. I’d missed all of the promotion for it, and went along to see it with a few friends upon release knowing next to nothing about it. Which made the film all the better, I reckon, and yet again it was a film that cleverly used music at the right points to help ratchet up the tension, and there is no better moment than the chase scene, which uses an edited version of this Godspeed track whose slow-burning dynamics pace the chase exactly. It also remains the only use of a Godspeed track, to my knowledge, outside of their own releases (it was only authorised for use in the film, not on the separately released soundtrack).

Film: Trainspotting
Song: Iggy Pop
Lust for Life

The inclusion of the soundtrack to a second Danny Boyle film is no accident. Much more so than 28 Days Later, this film was almost epoch-defining, but I was never exactly sure why. Certainly by the time I went to University in 1996, almost every single student room had a poster from the film, and just about everyone I knew could parrot most of the (many) great lines from the film. As it happens, I’ve not seen this film in years, something I should probably rectify by picking it up on DVD (we only have an old VHS copy). Why is this track here? Another near-perfect use of a track to pace a scene (the infamous beginning of the film as it introduces the protagonists), like the other Danny Boyle entry it’s also a chase scene on foot, funnily enough. I’d also go as far to suggest that the big success of this film probably gave Iggy Pop’s career something of a shot in the arm (if you’ll excuse the pun), too.

Film: Hardware
Song: Ministry

Pretty much a long-forgotten film, in some respects (certainly I’d say it’s ten years at least since I last saw this), but I’ve got my friend “mark13” (funny that) to thank for reminding me of it. The soundtrack is ace, too, although long-since deleted (and you can download it here, too). Another film I’m now going to have to search out again, although either way this song rules and is thus included here (one of many soundtrack appearances by Ministry over the years).

Film: Judgement Night
Song: Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.
Another Body Murdered

Not all films that have great soundtracks are great films, and this and the next entry prove this point perfectly. This film was plainly and simply, an absolute stinker, but is remembered purely, I think, for the awesome soundtrack that did the then-new idea of getting metal/alternative and rap/hip-hop acts to collaborate on each track, and the results were striking. Some of them weren’t as great as others, but some were fantastic (including the only good thing House of Pain ever did – their collaboration with Helmet). Pick of the bunch, though, was this track, an ultra-dark track that basically was FNM doing probably their heaviest music ever, the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. providing the vocals, and then Mike Patton filling the gaps with wordless melodies and screaming. If you’ve never heard it, go hunt it out. It’s simply awesome.

Film: Spawn
Song: Filter & The Crystal Method
(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do

Spawn was a similarly crap film (although I’m sure some may disagree) that pulled a similar collaborative trick a few years later, but this time brought together metal/alternative acts with acts from the then-trendy “electronica” scene, presumably as a way of attempting to “break” some of them stateside. Cynical reasoning or not, there is no denying that some of this album worked spectactularly. Slayer & Atari Teenage Riot’s gleefully noisy No Remorse (I Wanna Die) was awesome fun (and suggested, perhaps, that they should collaborate some more), but it was (again) the opening track on the soundtrack that was by far the best. A re-working (as a number of tracks were here) of a Crystal Method track, where Filter added guitars and vocals to it, it worked brilliantly and I seem to recall that both artists have used the track since independently, in various versions.

Film: Hackers
Song: Leftfield
Inspection (Check One)

Another one where I’ve already mentioned probably the best track on the soundtrack (Underworld and their immortal Cowgirl, since you ask) recently, so instead let’s turn to this titanic, ultra-bass heavy track. Very much a product of it’s time, this soundtrack, a-then ultra-hip electronica soundtrack with an ultra-hip film subject. The film looks rather dated nowadays, but the soundtrack is still pretty damned good…

Film: Fight Club
Song: Pixies
Where Is My Mind?

While, yes, the Dust Brothers score for the film is ace (and This Is Your Life plainly rules), it’s all about the final scene for the genius bit of soundtracking. This slightly strange, otherworldly Pixies track works perfectly as the final scene of the film unfolds and reveals what exactly has been going on…

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