Thursday, May 19, 2011

Have we all got Soundtracks to our Lives?

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Soundtracks are pretty great:
They often (help) create the proper mood. Let us know if we're supposed to feel anxious or afraid or to feel giddy and glad or to feel melancholy and sad.
But - and sometimes they throw us for a loop and create some sort of false expectation - like when ominous music is playing and then some very pleasant surprise walks in the door - you know what I mean?
And then there are soundtracks that are just epic - or at least they think they're epic - and they fit the scene just right, if you have the properly sophisticated mind. (which I wish I did, but don't.)
Dropkick Murphys' I'm Shipping Up to Boston is one of those songs - the sound and the words just seem to be linked inextricably to that scene from The Departed when they're cruising around the highways of Boston about to take somebody down.
And then too there are soundtracks that fittingly extend the amusing lamity of films like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. (Beck wrote a whole EP of songs for the film, sung by the [fake] slacker-punk band The Sex Bob-ombs. And they're fantastic.)
And (finally) there are soundtracks that are there (mostly?) to promote an up-and-coming or an until-then-lesser-known-indie band's music. The Graduate sorta does this with the music of Simon & Garfunkel musing and ca-rooning in the back-(or maybe more the fore-)ground. And Dan in Real Life (starring Steve Carell) does this with the playfully sweet music of Sondre Lerche.
Brief synopsis: Single dad has to navigate being a good dad for his three daughters and facing the fact that the gal he just fell for (Juliette Binoche) is already dating his brother. Bummer.
I wonder, Does the music sometimes overwhelm the plot of the movie? Is it so good and so catchy, the film being so mellow and awkward (as family gatherings often are), that we're too often listening more to the music than watching the film? And is that a problem?
I dunno. All I know is, I liked Dan in Real Life, and might not ever have heard of the Norwegian Sondre Lerche if it weren't for the film. So I'm happy.
And if I, like so many friendly others, walked around more often with earphones in my ears, I'd want Sondre Lerche to star in my life soundtrack.

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