This is the next entry in a series from 2012 that looks at the use of “needle dropped” songs, many of them popular tunes, in movies. Specifically, in more than one. Yet they are not officially considered part of a film’s score. A score consists of those orchestral, choral, or instrumental pieces some consider background music. Both music forms are equally utilized as cues by filmmakers for a specific purpose or to elicit certain reactions by the audience.
I’m fascinated by this in general, and movie soundtracks have long intrigued me. This convergence of the music and film arts I’ve spent much time toward. My wife can confirm this. Some (not all) movie soundtracks have incorporated those songs the director or music programmer showcased in their production along with the film’s score.
A few filmmakers have made it part of their work to incorporate well-known or popular song as a recurrent element. Why not? Music and movies make for a wonderful tandem, and I regularly watch out for them. As usual, I give credit to my blogging colleague over at Fog’s Movie Review for helping to ignite this series care of his excellent post, Tossin’ It Out There: What’s YOUR Favorite Song From a Movie?:
“… there’s a deep connection between the two arts, and sometimes that winds up creating an inseparable bond between the two in the viewer’s mind.”
For the second entry of 2014, a year already flying by, and since I’m working on Part 8 of the summer music series I’ve going, I thought to get this one out before it posted. New Wave band Talking Heads formed in 1975, but had their greatest effect on the 80s and its music. The almost quirky song by David Byrne (in collaboration with band members Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison) garnered my full attention in ’83 with This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody). No stranger to offering song to movies, this found a sweet spot for two of my favorites.
Wall Street (1987)
As mentioned prior, director Oliver Stone’s response to the excesses ushered in with the decade of the 80s, in general, and Reagan capitalism, specifically, centered on the financial district of New York City. Stewart Copeland wrote Wall Street‘s original score, but among its needle-dropped moments, the callow Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) was featured once more in a standout. His attempt at domesticity — his “This is it. This is home.” moment — as he purchased his Manhattan condo to please his materialistic girl (Daryl Hannah), and himself. Byrne’s lyrics lent themselves perfectly to this. Right from the start with its uncanny opening:
Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb, born with a weak heart
I guess I must be having fun
Forgive the Italian dubbed dialogue as this was the only YouTube clip that covered this sequence. You’ll still get its drift, nevertheless.
Crazy Stupid Love (2011)
Still, all the posturing Stone read into the song, no doubt influenced by the parenthetical portion of Talking Head’s title (Naive Melody) for his lead character, it still came down to this. It’s a love song. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s romantic-dramedy, Crazy Stupid Love, scored by Christophe Beck and Nick Urata, would better emphasize it all with their use of tune and protagonist. The tale’s separated husband (Steve Carell) nightmarish dream he’s been replaced scene. Symbolized via yard work. His wife’s heart personified as the lawn and garden he once tended. Prompting his secretive return to his former backyard to do the needed upkeep. ’This Must Be The Place’ emphasizing the point. Denoting the love he maintains for her, and the life he once had, by this simple, steadfast act. A “…real honest kind of love song.” David Byrne always maintained the song1 was about.
The entire series can be found here.