Saturday, October 20, 2007

Soundtrack Serendipity (Not the soundtrack to Serendipity)

Recently I've gotten back on the Netflix horse and have been watching a fairly steady stream of movies...instead of studying. I find it a much more pleasant option to watch "The Paper Chase" than actually live it (although I might give hitting the books a shot if I got to sleep around with the Bionic Woman too). So I'm watching these movies and every once in a while afterwards I'll hear a totally random song and think to myself "that would go well with 'x' movie".

This sort of thing seems to happen every so often, a song and a movie separated by time and circumstances with no direct connections at all inexplicably complement each other, with the song fitting like a glove in the film's soundtrack. I'm not talking about meticulously setting your Pink Floyd records up at specific time signature or anything; it's just general connections that make me wonder if only they had existed at the same time. I don't think it's necessarily irony. It might be dramatic irony, but I think that only exists works of fiction. It might just be the kind of erroneous psedo-irony you see the classic Alanis Morressete song "Ironic" which (everybody all together now) is ironic since there's nothing ironic about it. For now I think I'll just categorize it as bad timing or cosmic mis-scheduling.

"Gold" - Spandau Ballet (1983)


GoldenEye (1995)

Has there ever been a band, past or present, that was more in tune with the ascetics and spirit of James Bond then these guys? I mean look at the guys in the band, it's a like it's made up of a bunch of James Bonds. Personally I actually prefer "Gold" to "True" as my favorite Spandau Ballet song. The song itself fits all the requirements of a truly classic Bond theme without it being an actual theme. It has the grand soaring vocals, the inherent sexiness, the cryptic lyrics about danger and intrigue, and some exotic sounding drums for good measure. Stack "Gold" against my all time favorite Bond song "A View to A Kill" by Duran Duran and it still holds its own. Even the video itself pays out like a Bond thriller (or at the very least a Duran Duran thriller, which is just as good). I'm fairly confident that had Spandau Ballet been able to hold onto their success a little longer they would have been tagged to write a theme for at least one of the Dalton films.

Lyrically, it is quite relevant to the general story of GoldenEye; although relevance to the plot is pretty much optional when crafting a Bond song. The song seems to be about two old friends meeting possibly under shady pretenses a la 007 and 006. The themes of gold and lust for power seems to abstractly follow along with the lines of the main plot of the film. Actually the song might also work with the other auric themed Bond classic "Goldfinger" but it already has one of the all time classic Bond themes. I figured "GoldenEye" deserved better than that forgettable, Bono and Edge penned, number with Tina Turner.

Particularly Serendipitous Lyrics: "After the rush has gone/I hope you find a little more time/remember we were partners in crime."


The Warriors (1979)

One of the all time great two hit wonders, Scandal, have some similarities with the classic 1979 Walter Hill movie aside from the name of the single. They both originate from New York. There's that sort of tough street persona. They're both of that late 70s early 80s punk rock, new wave sort of scene. In fact I think it's quite plausible that the Warriors when they weren't fleeing for their lives through dark subways and streets of New York might have been listening to Scandal (had they existed only a few years prior..and if they were real). The music video for "The Warrior", aside from being the most ludicrously choreographed and flagrantly homoerotic video not to be directed by Russell Mulcahy, seems to exist in the sort of exaggerated, street gang world of "the Warriors" where the band itself looks like its own gang (still less ridiculous than the Baseball Furies) .

Lyrically the song goes well with the movie. The general themes of running away, trying to survive, night time activities, all go hand and hand. You can even extrapolate the bang bang chorus to the shooting of Griff or the Lizzies and their guns. The song itself with it's demands of passion and love almost seem from the perspective of Mercy, the girl who begins to falls in love with Swan and her declaration that she is now a member of the Warriors. I'm surprised the band never claimed any inspiration from the film.

Particularly Serendipitous Lyrics:
"I am the warrior/Well I am the warrior/And heart to heart you'll win/If you survive"

"All That She Wants" - Ace of Base (1992)


The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992)

This song and movie combo actually comes the closest to crossing paths. "All that She Wants" was released in late 1992 while "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle"came out at the beginning. In a perfect world both would have come together. There really isn't much on the surface connecting a Swedish dance pop outfit and an American thriller. On a deeper level though you can say that they existed purely in their times. The eurodance sounds of Ace of Base were right at the crest of a wave of such groups in the early 90s a la Real McCoy, Blackbox, C+C Music Factory, Snap!, while "The Hand" was a prime example of the whole "disturbed intruder tries to destroy our once happy life" series of thrillers that had their heyday in the early 90s like "Single White Female", "Basic Instinct", "Sleeping with the Enemy", "Poison Ivy", the "Cape Fear" remake. With both being the defining examples of their respective early 90's pop cultural touchstones, it would have seemed all the more appropriate had they come together.

If you read the "she" as the Rebecca DeMornay character the lyrics are eerily reflective of the main thrust of the story. She indeed "leads a lonely life" due to the actions of Annabella Sciorra and her revenge is basically to usurp her of her happy home and baby to replace the happy life that she could have had. The song is most likely about a maneater-like woman who's hunting for a man but if you take it literally she really does want "another baby" after the miscarriage of her first child. She is literally hunting people, not to get with them, but to actually kill them. Innocuous dance pop or a harrowing look in the troubled mind of a killer?

Particularly Serendipitous Lyrics: So if you are in sight and the day is right/She's a hunter you're the fox/The gentle voice that talks to you/Won't talk forever.

Friend and fellow Twisted Mister Andrew U. made the brilliant prediction that if they review "Hollow Man" for the inevitable I Love to 00's they would definitely play the Clay Aiken tune in the background. I can't see any other song being considered a fitting companion piece to the film. The song would be a perfect fit with "Hollow Man" even just on the basis that there are practically no other songs about invisible men (I can only think of "Invisible Man" by 98 Degrees and they make it a lot clearer it's a metaphor). The most amazing thing about "Invisible" is however the fact that one of the purest adult contemporary mainstream pop tunes by one of the most vanilla of American Idol stars somehow manages to unintentionally reflects all the creepy and disturbing elements of control and voyeurism that the movie "Hollow Man" addresses. Where people so seduced by the sleek production and toothy smile that nobody paid any attention to what was going on in this song?

Seriously was Clay Aiken watching a dvd of "Hollow Man" when he was writing this song? This is clearly written from the point of view of the Kevin Bacon villain. The woman that he is pining for is obviously Elizabeth Shue his ex-girlfriend that he is still obsessed with. All the actions that the song lays out as hypothetical, Kevin Bacon does or attempts i.e. "watch you in your room", "make you mine tonight" , "tracing your steps", "make you see that I'm alive". Even the psychotic ego and arrogance of Kevin Bacon's scientist character is referenced to when he sings if I was invisible I would be the smartest man and the subtle line of changing the word "invisible" to the malicious "invincible" later in the chorus. For me though, the creepiest moment in the song comes at the end of the "if I was invisible" chorus when he sinisterly states "oh wait...I already am". So disturbing!!

Particularly Serendipitous Lyrics: The whole song, every last disturbing lyric.


  1. Haha you could have just based the entire post around the Clay Aiken - "Hollow Man" comparison. Although not as hilarious/terrifying as N'Sync's "Digital Get-Down", "Invisible" reeks of sinister intentions. Well-played.

  2. One that I've always considered quite creepily similar was the similarities between Weezer's "Pink Triangle" as well as Kevin Smith's indie comeback flick "Chasing Amy" The most serendiptous lyric could be played in the club scene when Joey-Lauren Adams pulls a girl out and starts tounging her mouth and Ben Affleck is all red in the face. Take the lyric "I'm dumb she's a lesbian/I thought I had found the one/We were good as married in my mind/But married in my mind's no good/Pink triangle on her sleeve..."

  3. Man "Digital Get Down" is pretty dirty...almost Jordon Knight "Give it to You" dirty.

    Pink Triangle/Chasing Amy totally works too. I mean how many other songs/movies have that incredibly specific theme?