Last night I watched one of my favourite films and it made me realise that almost all of my most loved films also hold my most loved soundtracks. Now, I’m not sure whether I like these films so much due to their soundtracks, or I like the soundtracks due to the film they belong to…All I know is, whatever the correlation, some of my favourite films of all time have some of my favourite songs to go with them. So, I decided to put together a ‘Soundtrack’ playlist (making playlists has become a new-found hobby of mine over the summer) and I’m now gonna share with you what I am calling, ‘The Soundtrack of My Life’.
The Royal Tenenbaums
These Days by Nico is probably the first song I think of when it comes to The Royal Tenenbaums. Margot stepping off the bus and Richie’s face when she walks over to him in her AMAZING fur coat and tells him to “stand up straight” so she can “get a better look” at him is all I see when I listen to this. Tenenbaum magic.
Needle in The Hay by Elliott Smith is a song I hadn’t heard before watching this Anderson classic, but when I heard it I fell in love with not only the song, but even more so with the film (if that’s possible). This track is accompanied by possibly the most iconic scene of the film, when Richie cuts his hair, beard, moustache, EVERYTHING off and is transformed from downtrodden Lacoste tennis player chic to a sophisticate. Seriously, if you haven’t heard this song, you should stop reading and do it now.
However, my favourite song of this soundtrack has to be Stephanie Says by The Velvet Underground. It’s just one of the dreamiest songs ever and I think it encapsulates Margot’s character SO perfectly. This film is brilliant. Wes Anderson is fantastic. The soundtrack is amazing. Margot Tenenbaum is my girl crush.
About A Boy
The soundtrack to About A Boy is all by Badly Drawn Boy, and the whole thing complements the film and the characters beautifully, therefore I am only going to mention Something To Talk About, which is, if you’ve seen the film, probably the most recognisable as a soundtrack. The lyrics in this song go so perfectly with the relationship between Marcus and Will, I don’t know how they did it. The bond formed between rich, single, hasn’t worked a day in his life Will, and poor, bullied, sings aloud in class Marcus is one of my favourite character relationships ever, and that is a statement! Forget Tony from Skins, this is by far the best character that Nicholas Hoult has ever played.
Lost in Translation
Ok so I found it stupidly hard not to include the whole of this film’s sountrack in this post, but I managed to whittle it down to three. I think that Girls by Death in Vegas is the first track to appear on the film, and if I’m not mistaken it is played to Bob Harris waking up in his car travelling through late night Tokyo. I’m going to use the word dreamy again as this song (as is the rest of the soundtrack) is oh so dreamy.
Air’s Alone in Kyoto is the second track added from Lost in Translation to the soundtrack of my life, half due to the fact it is such a beautiful, oriental-inspired track, and half due to the fact I want to be Charlotte walking through Tokyo and looking at flowers in adoration.
Last but not least, the best track of the lot, and the final track of the film, Just Like Honey by The Jesus and Mary Chain. This final scene, with this final song makes me cry every single time. I won’t ruin it for those of you who haven’t seen it (if that is you I am ashamed and you should all immediately watch it (that is a demand)) but when Bob finds Charlotte through the crowds to say goodbye and this song starts to play, I get butterflies and my heart turns to butter.
The Breakfast Club
It wouldn’t be a soundtrack of my life if I didn’t include a John Hughes film somewhere (and I’ve included two…oh well). I doubt many people know Dream Montage by Keith Foresey (I didn’t) until you hear it and are immediately humming along and picturing all five kids in detention bored out of their minds. This track accompanies one of my favourite scenes in the film where none of them talk, they have no idea what to do with themselves, and are probably all thinking how five extremely different characters got lumped into the same Saturday detention. Bender setting fire to his shoe, a sexually frustrated Brian and Allison showing her artistic talent along to this song is like film magic.
And, obviously, who can talk about The Breakfast Club without talking about Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds? No one. The final scene in this film (again) is one of my favourites. All five of The Breakfast Club leave as different people than when they entered detention that morning, and they basically all fall in love. Being as cool as Claire is when she gives Bender her earring is what I aspire to be. And the only thing I think of when I hear this song is Bender walking across the school field, fist in air. Iconic.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Ok then, this film is slightly different to the others in that it is not one of my favourite films, however holds one of my favourite soundtracks. Don’t get me wrong, I like the film, I just don’t love it. But the soundtrack is out of this world so it’s all relative really. I remember reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower when I was 12 and when it kept mentioning Asleep by The Smiths I had to listen to it, and I’m so glad I did because that is where my unconditonal love for them began, so I have Stephen Chbosky to thank for that. It’s not my favourite Smiths song by any means, but the way it’s so thoughtfully included in this film is beautiful and resonates perfectly to Charlie’s character.
Dear God by XTC is the next song in this soundtrack which made it on to my list (I was deciding between this and Temptation by New Order but this made the final cut). This song is only very subtly included in this film, when Charlie learns about Brad and Patrick’s relationship, but it is so well timed and the tune adds to the film so well. I love it.
And, finally, the one and only ‘tunnel song’ – Heroes by the legend, David Bowie. A perfect song to end this film. Not only is the song filled with promise, optimisim and power, it is also the best accompaniment to driving through that tunnel holding your arms up…Like seriously whenever this song comes on I can imagine myself doing it. No other song would ever live up to this scene. RIP every day, Bowie.
Only one song from one of the best rom-coms of our life time, but it makes me feel things that almost none of these other songs do. I am sorry but you are lying if you say any other film moment lives up to the beauty and romance of Anna Scott’s smile after saying “indefinitely” when asked how long she will be staying in London. And then She by Elvis Costello starts playing and William Thacker and Anna Scott smile and stare at each other through crowds of people and it is just the most beautiful moment in all of film history (I mean, it probably isn’t, but it is to me). I am practically crying just thinking about it.
Pretty In Pink
Last but not least, another John Hughes classic that I have spoken about too much on this blog but who cares. Of course, I wouldn’t be talking about Pretty in Pink without first talking about Pretty in Pink by The Psychedelic Furs, would I? This song is on par with Don’t You (Forget About Me) for The Breakfast Club, due wholly to the fact that whenever I listen to this song, all I can think of is Andie sewing pink dresses and wearing incredibly lavish and wonderful clothes (this may be due to the title, but the tune resonates with me very much).
Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding is played to the best scene of the whole film (I think). Duckie Dale throwing himself around to this song in Andie’s record shop basically declaring his undying love for her is one of the most iconic scenes…Ever. I may like this song so much because I am very much head-over-heels in love with Duckie BUT that doesn’t stop it being an absolute classic soundtrack to one of the best films of all time.
And again, the final soundtrack I am talking about is the final song of the film, and (again) another hopelessly romantic ending to a movie. If You Leave by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark is accompanied by the scene where Andie goes to prom alone, and where Duckie Dale waits for her, looking wonderfully handsome and incredibly cool in his shades, suit and ‘duck man’ shoes. And then the song really gets going and Duckie lets his one true love go and in that moment of love and friendship I bawl my eyes out. I think I have too much love for this film (and D.D.).
So, that concludes the soundtrack of my life. I got far too invested in writing this post and at some points most definitely lost my way and thought I was a character in these films purely due to the soundtracks that accompany them. Also, I would just like to include a special recognition to Drive which I thought about putting in, but then realised I couldn’t pick just 3 songs from this soundtrack. If you haven’t seen the Ryan Gosling epic, or listened to the soundtrack, please do, right now. I suggest watch first and listen later, but whatever order you do it in, do BOTH!