Good day, friends! Guess what? I’ve got another guest edition of Song and Screen for you! This one is coming atcha from the awesome Mr. Alex Raphael! If you guys know me, I’m sure you know Alex, too. He truly has a little bit of everything on his blog, so if you haven’t already, definitely pop over and say hello! Anyway, here are a few songs Alex can’t hear without thinking of movies!
I don’t know how she does it, but Cara is always coming up with great ideas for blogathons. Film and music work so well together, I just had to be part of this one. After some very careful thought, here are my favourite uses of songs in films.
Carl Orff – “Gassenhauer” in Badlands
I’ve never been able to look at a xylophone the same way since I heard this tune on the magnificent Badlands. The stunning debut from the reclusive Terence Malick, it tells of two young lovers who run away on a violent rampage and just want to be left alone from the world. As the film is filled with stunning imagery, it had to be accompanied by a fine piece of music to work, and after little parts are played throughout the film, it is heard in its entirety as the film closes.
Desire – “Under Your Spell” in Drive
I have listened to this song far more than I should admit. It really is oddly hypnotic. If you read the lyrics on paper they would be nothing special, but in the song their simplicity works brilliantly. For a film where the main character is inhibited with his emotions, doesn’t even have a name and is experiencing love for the first time, it really is a very neat match. I wouldn’t mind having that Scorpion Jacket either.
Steelers Wheel – Stuck in the Middle with You in Reservoir Dogs
There is no way I could not have put this in. It really is the definitive choice. It’s no surprise Tarantino himself knew how powerful this song would be and fought really hard to get the rights. Even now, whenever this song comes up I still pretend to shave and do that sway walk.
The Doors – “The End” in Apocalypse Now
Playing a song called The End at the beginning of a film is far from traditional, but then Apocalypse Now is far from your average film. Whenever I hear the opening slow chords from the soft opening that gradually builds, I picture the helicopters and their whirling sound, the fire, the gorgeous colours and the provocative montage. An incredible use of a song from of the greatest bands ever.
Tears For Fears – “Head over Heels” in Donnie Darko
The opening lines of this song are so delightfully quaint I’ve actually used them as a Line(s) of the Day on my site, but I will always associate the song most with Richard Kelly’s debut film. Being a fan of the band long before, it would take something special to add something to Head over Heels, but seeing Jake Gylleenhal walk across the school corridor, bringing back all those teenage thoughts and memories, is impossible to shift. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Pixies – “Where Is My Mind” in Fight Club
I know the song has been used on countless other films and TV shows since, and was written about an experience underwater of all things, but for me this song was written for Fight Club. I just can’t picture the world not collapsing around me when I hear the deceptively quiet intro, power chords, rock vocal and eerie background sounds. Is there a better example of a song closing a film and leading to the credits?
The Rolling Stones – “Jumping Jack Flash” in Mean Streets
Mean Streets wouldn’t make my top 5 Scorcese films, or Jumping Jack Flash my top 5 Rolling Stones songs, but you put the two together in this scene and it is unstoppable. The electric energy is ramped up as the out of control Johnny Boy (played by De Niro) makes his first appearance, swaggering across the bar accompanied by a woman in each arm. The red filter it is shot in adds to that wild edge.
Simon and Garfunkel – “The Sound of Silence” in The Graduate
“Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again”, begins this Simon and Garfunkel classic, and I will always think of Dustin Hoffman’s character Benjamin Braddock in the pool staring into the distance, lost in his thoughts. The film set out to explain the complications going from boy to man, and the soundtrack helped set the tone, and was one of the reasons this film became such a huge smash.
Thanks so much, Alex! Thrilled to have another excellent write-up from a guest for this series! 🙂 As I’ve said before, Song and Screen is super casual, so if you’re interested in contributing, send something my way (firstname.lastname@example.org) absolutely any time. Have a good one, my peeps!