My Super Seven Soundtracks

Our regular guest blogger Polly Taylor reflects on afternoons and evenings lost in the fantasy arena of the cinema / movies, aided and abetted by great soundtracks……

Lost Boys (1987)

Let’s face it, any album containing 2 INXS tracks was always going to  win me over. The opening duet, ‘Good Times’, sung by Michael Hutchence  and Jimmy Barnes (of Australian band Cold Chisel), is a corker. If  there’s one song that I’d love to hear performed live, it’s this one.  Not just anywhere, though – it would have to be at the Coogee Bay  Hotel in Sydney, where both the former band and the latter artist have  played in years gone by; in fact the Australian National Portrait  Gallery even has a picture of Barnes, singing on that very stage.

That will never happen now, of course – barring someone inventing a  time travel machine that works (DeLorean or otherwise), to transport  me back to 1984 (rather then 1985) when the aforementioned photo was  taken, and Hutchence was still alive.

I also love Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘People are Strange’ and the theme  tune ‘Cry little Sister’. All the tunes are good, with no sign of  filler tracks whatsoever. They evoke the kitsch horror of the movie  perfectly; the motion picture and accompanying soundtrack in perfect  harmony.

Grease (1978)

I know, I know – from the cool as Lost Boys to the super cheesy  Grease? You have a point, but hear me out. If you’ve ever been a  teenage girl – and there’s fairly good odds that you might have been,  at some stage – you should understand. Singing your heart out to the  jolly ditties ‘Summer Nights’,  ‘We go Together’, or ‘You’re the One  that I Want’; the grittier (and dirtier) ‘Greased Lighting’; or the  slushy, soppy song that is ‘Hopelessly Devoted’ – it’s all part and  parcel of female puberty and frankly, an essential rite of passage.

Trainspotting (1996)

From Rydell High School to the grubbier parts of Edinburgh now, for  what is possibly THE film soundtrack of the 1990s. Released right in  the midst of the dance club and Britpop band ‘Madchester’ era, this  film was huge, making massive stars of director Danny Boyle and actors  including Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle. Jonny Lee Miller was even  married to the mighty A-lister Angelina Jolie back then.

The track list reads like a Who’s Who of the mid-1990s – Blur,  Sleeper, Primal Scream, Leftfield, New Order, Pulp, Elastica… even the  ‘Godfather of Punk’ Iggy Pop has two tracks on there. Lou Reed’s  ‘Perfect Day’, used as it is in the film, is pure genius. If you think  it glorifies drug-taking, just keep watching, until the very bitter  end, of this groundbreaking movie.

 

The Beach (2000)

Phew. From the frenetic, gritty backstreets of the Scottish capital to  a tropical paradise. ‘The Beach’ is set on a picture postcard Thai  island, boasting the most pristine peach of a beach. Things gradually  start to sour, though, until the benign ‘cancer in the corals’ of Alex  Garland’s novel turn malignant. The clear blue waters become sullied  by blood, and the islanders begin to lose their grip on their Utopian  universe. The soundtrack fits both the film and the book beautifully,  from ‘Pure Shores’ to ‘Spinning away’, ‘Brutal’ and ‘Out of Control’.

 

 

Romeo and Juliet (1996)

This modern take on Shakespeare was released the same year as  Trainspotting, and despite being a love story, it also shines a light  on the grimier side of life. Mostly filmed in Mexico City and Boca del  Rio (also in Mexico), parts were also shot in Miami; a city almost as  infamous for its seedier side, as it is renowned as a sunbaked holiday  spot.

Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, after all. Some songs are, as you might  expect, all ‘Young hearts run free’; while ‘Kissing you’ seems like  something of a lament. My favourite is the Wannadies’ ‘You and Me  song’, and not only because I once spent a crazy evening with one of  my backpacking chums, literally jumping up and down on the floor like  kids on a bed in a Sydney flat-share. We caused the manager of the  block to hammer on our door and tell us to belt up. Perhaps not my  finest hour, but it was one of the funniest…

The Doors (1991)

I first watched ‘The Doors’ film some months before the mad half hour  in Sydney had even happened, on a farm in South Australia near the  Murray river, where I spent a few happy months picking apricots,  scoffing peaches and mixing (for a change) with real Australians.

Atmospheric is the word that springs to mind; both for the film and  for the Doors’ musical output, ‘Riders on the Storm’ being the  ultimate – but not the only – case in point. ‘Light my Fire’ is of  course a veritable anthem, although it is ethereal, as opposed to  downright eerie, which I find ‘Riders on the Storm’ to be. Eerie isn’t  a bad thing; I love a bit of gothic horror, and the Doors could  deliver that in spades through their songwriting and performance. Not  to mention the trance-like, hypnotic quality of much of their music.

Val Kilmer, previously known to me as ‘Iceman’ in Top Gun, was  brilliant and a thoroughly convincing Jim Morrison, and his Top Gun  co-star Meg Ryan nailed it, too. Great film, intriguing story and a  fabulous soundtrack to boot.

Dirty Dancing (1987)

The release of this perennial girls’ film favourite coincided  agreeably with my entering my teens – I was 13 when it came out. I was  developing physically, and mentally, was starting to discover the  power of a serious crush. All the girls, in 1987, had a crush on  Patrick Swayze, but it wasn’t only his hip-swivelling that gripped our  hearts (and nether regions). The movie’s music was utterly  captivating, too.

I must point out, at this juncture, that the edition you want – if you  so desire – is ‘Ultimate Dirty Dancing’, rather than the ‘Original  motion picture soundtrack’. The latter omits Solomon Burke’s ‘Cry to  Me’, for one thing – the very song to which Johnny and Baby finally  get it on. A heinous crime (the omission, I mean, not the getting it  on).

‘Do You Love Me’ is missing, too – the very song that plays, right  there in that oversized barn-type place, where the whole love story  begins and we first see some proper dirty dancing. Otis Redding is  even disregarded, which is, frankly, unforgivable. ‘Ultimate Dirty  Dancing’ is one of my top picks; what a shame the bigwigs saw fit to  omit some of the most seminal tracks from the official version.


 

This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @ BloggerByTheSea.com

 

 

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