I was going to drop the themes this month and just start drip-feeding the songs I’ve discovered instead. But then I thought “it’s a bit late for that, you’re two months into a themed feature – you can’t go back. Just imagine how fragile you’d look if all two people that read your blog posts saw the doubt in your mind” so here we are month three and without a theme.
At least that was the case until my laziness in writing another post about a subject other than music left that subject matter open to treat as a theme. Although the world won’t be getting the joy that is my Oscar on the Oscars post where I review the films I’ve watched that year (maybe 2019, hey?), you certainly will be getting my film-themed Set The Record Straight.
A good selection of music is always something that can improve a film for me, and then the very same music can improve my day-to-day life as well. So here’s an insight into just some of the songs (and the films they went with) that I’ve kept with me since watching (and listening).
His Master’s Voice – Monsters of Folk (Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri)
I suppose there is no better place to start a replacement film-themed article than with the film that was set to feature so heavily in the original. Three Billboards is a film I have been looking forward to in pants-wetting excitement since I first saw Film 4 tweet that a McDonagh/Rockwell collaboration was on the cards again. Aside from swearing (and dialogue generally), one thing about McDonagh’s films that stand them out as some of my favourites is the soundtrack. In amongst Carter Burwell’s brilliant compositions are littered a fine selection of songs, and there has been none finer that this one. Any supergroup that combines Conor Oberst, M. Ward and Jim James is something to get excited about. Combining Conor (one of my favourite musicians) with Martin McDonagh (one of my favourite writers and directors) is something of a match made in heaven for me.
Tell Me – Johnny Jewel feat. Saoirse Ronan (Lost River)
Although she didn’t win anything Saoirse Ronan’s performance in Lady Bird has certainly earned a few plaudits, and rightly so. Ronan is a fine actress and in Lost River (a film I must be one of very few people to actually go to the cinema to watch) she showed off something of a musical ability. There is something hypnotic about this song that really encapsulates the twisted fairytale that is Lost River and provides an ideal soundtrack to the romance in a lifeless town. Although this is the version that appears in the OST itself, the version Ronan sings on screen – stripped back with just a synthesiser for company, played in pink neon lighting – really is seductively haunting.
The Moon Song – Karen O (Her)
It’s no secret to anyone that has ever had to put up with me talk about him, that Spike Jonze is absolutely one of my favourite people to ever grace the planet. From running some of my favourite skate companies, to directing videos for some of my favourite musicians – Spike is ever-present in everything I do seemingly. His Oscar-winning film Her was at a time comfortably my favourite film, and the Arcade Fire composed soundtrack certainly went some way to contributing towards that. However, it is this song, by his then-partner Karen O that really stands out for me – especially when sung by Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) and Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix). Delicately beautiful, this song combines perfectly with the intimate visuals from the film in this trailer put together by Warner Brothers.
Stuck on the Puzzle – Alex Turner (Submarine)
Submarine is a film that stayed with me for a long period of time. Generally not because of the film itself, but rather the fact that I had think long hair and a duffel coat that enabled people to draw similarities between myself and the film’s star Craig Roberts. I say that Roberts is the star, and although his performance is great – the real standout in this film is Alex Turner’s delicate soundtrack. Stuck on the Puzzle is a track that I have played out frequently on Sundays and autumn walks, and is a song that ranks very highly in my list of favourite songs from films. That compliment to the song isn’t to take away from the film as a whole though, as although I haven’t watched the film as much as I have some of the others in the list – it certainly is a film that I enjoy whole-heartedly. I also think that me not returning the DVD for this film may have helped put Blockbuster out of business.
You and Me – Penny and the Quarters (Blue Valentine)
Story has it that no one knew who performed this song, and so the band name was given to However, I’m not hear to talk about that in the way Youtube comments sections and message boards do, I’m hear to discuss how amazing Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine is. The two collaboarations between Cianfrance and the film’s male lead Ryan Gosling have differed greatly in tone, but this film really captures the reality of the process of falling in (and subsequently out of) love. Loosely scripted action and dialogue, beautiful cinematography, and a sonically pleasing soundtrack combine to create a truly wonderful film. This song is probably the track that stands out most from the film. Well, this or Gosling’s version of You Always Hurt The One You Love, but I didn’t really want to overdo the “film stars playing the ukulele” in one blog post.