Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Motion Picture Soundtrack
Ah, the film soundtrack. You've gotta love 'em. They generally come in two flavours. The first builds it's magic from records that already exist, arranging them into an aural montage following the contours of the movie. The second creates it's mood from scratch, scoring brand new passages to follow the film. Most movies have both, of course, and they're equally lovely when done well.
I like to stick them on my mp3 player so ,as I wander around the streets of London, I can be magically transported to another world. Perhaps the technicolour Paris of Amelie, the jetlagged neon Toyko of Lost In Translation, the opulent Vegas of Ocean's Eleven, the 70's glow of The Virgin Suicides, the dreamlike amnesia of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, the black and white nostalgia of Manhattan. Sigh.
But as Thom Yorke so correctly sang on the title track to this post, 'It's not like the movies, they fed us on little white lies.' Instead, I guess we all have our own personal soundtrack. Only today, I was swept away from a mundane journey to the supermarket, back to a moment in my past, triggered by Telepopmusik's delightful 'Breathe'. It took me to a few years ago, when I was dating a girl who lived in Leicester. We didn't go out all that long, but I went and stayed with her for a while, and the music took me back to that happy time. It's weird, isn't it? Dipping in and out of people's lives like that. I was suddenly back there. And then the next track came on and I was away again...
And then back to Radiohead's 'Motion Picture Soundtrack'. As perfect a miserable break up track as has ever been written. But when it's parent album Kid A came out, I was loved up with a girl at uni. I remember drily musing at the time that it seemed a terrible waste for such a wonderfully miserable track to land in my lap when life seemed oh so sweet. As a music fan I've always savoured the profoundly gloomy as much as the euphoric. Perhaps even moreso. King of the celluloid muso geeks, Rob in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity sums it up nicely:
"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"
Mercifully, all was resolved when the girl dumped me on New Year's Day. Heheh. Lucky I've got a suitably twisted sense of humour. And the song meant even more after that. Ironic, don'tcha think?
Hard to imagine why some people would want to wipe those memories! Maybe one day I'll score the story of my life. Then again, it might make me go crazy once and for all. And as attractive as Mr Barkley makes that out to be, I'll try and avoid it for the time being.
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