Music and movies have always gone hand in hand. Whether it be a pivotal scene, an opening credit or an explosive ending, the two almost always work simultaneously to get the best reaction from an audience. How tragic is a scene without a heartbreaking melody to accompany it? How in love are two characters without a romantic track playing around them? Songs can lift a scene up and break characters down, it can create anticipation and even true fear. Films like The Exorcist
, and Psycho
have some of the most intense and terrifying scores that provoke true fear and anxiety from its viewers.
Music can without doubt enhance a scene, but sometimes the tables turn and its is the film being overshadowed by its songs. After seeing 500 Days of Summer
, for example, the first words out of everyones mouth were “I can’t wait to get the soundtrack”. The same thing happened with Drive
, an excellent movie all round, but the first thing everyone did after seeing it was download Kavinsky’s ‘Nightcall’. The truth is, a song can become famous from the right movie and vice versa. Would The Bodyguard
have been quite as tragic without Whitney Houston’s rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’? Would Trainspotting
have kept its preppy dark humor without the help of Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust for Life’? I truly can’t imagine some movies without their allotted soundtracks just as I can’t imagine finding some songs as appealing without their connection to a particular scene.
The Breakfast Club for example, when I think of this film I have visions of 80s fashion, dancing in libraries, skidding down hallways, and a triumphant fist being thrown into the air. All of this, of course, to the sound of Simple Mind’s ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’. The song evokes a feeling of joy and fulfillment that can only be found within a John Hughes movie. Would the song give me such cheesy happiness without its connection to Bender? I think not. Like any good 80s movie the songs, much like the fashion, are essential to the character’s development and ultimately the film’s success.
Quentin Tarantino is famous for his music choices as he likes to pair light pop songs to some of his most lethal scenes. Whether it be The 5678’s singing “Woo Hoo” before an almightily slaughter occurs between The Bride and The Crazy 88 in Kill Bill, or my personal favorite The Steve Miller Band’s ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ playing over a horrific torture scene in Reservoir Dogs. The songs upbeat tempo turns from cheerful to sadistic as Mr. Blonde sings and twirls his away around the victim’s chair before slicing an ear off. A cheerfully gruesome scene if there ever was one.
From sadistic to humorous we go to the wonderful world of Queen, a band that have provided songs for some of the most memorable scenes in cinema. In the fantastic Sean of the Dead, Simon Pegg and his apocalypse surviving friends attack a zombie with pool cues to the beat of Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. At this moment, I cannot really think of more comic genius. While in Wayne’s World, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is honored by a car of head-banging rockers in one of the finest opening scenes I’ve seen to date. Queen are one of the most famous bands in the world, their songs need no further promotion but no matter how hard I try I can’t help but envision myself head banging along with Mike Myers every time I hear that song!
As I mentioned before, music and movies are thoroughly entwined, just as they should be. They enhance one another in an effortless way, going hand in hand to make a scene or a song more memorable and meaningful to its audience. Agree? Disagree? Have some of your own music/movie choices? Tweet them to @moviefiednyc
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