Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Soundtrack Reviews: V.

I think the last time I reviewed soundtracks, I was in China. It’s been that long. (Readem and weep.) So be kind to me if I’m a little ring rusty. I’ll get there eventually.

To redeem my crappy writing, I’ve uploaded some of the songs from the soundtrack (the ones I consider best) for your listening pleasure. So you see, it’s not all bad.

Vanilla Sky (various)
Tom Cruise’s playboy lifestyle gets a hip, eclectic soundtrack with “All the Right Friends” from REM to the melancholic, wistful Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead. Many of the songs here stand out for their random lyrics, and I speak chiefly of Paul McCartney’s Oscar nominated song, Vanilla Sky. But who needs sense when his vocals are so sublime, the guitar so perfect? The tonal modulations that feature in the film echo in the music too, as Salsbury Hill switches to the freaky “I Fall Apart” by Julianna Gianni. Overall, the OST is of high quality, though some of the songs which featured in the film did not really deserve a running time on the CD. That said, Mondo ’77 has a funky beat, Have You Forgotten is a nicely laid-back track and one of my favourites, Jeff Buckley even makes an appearance, with his song Last Goodbye. But, like with Cameron Crowe’s other film, Almost Famous, the song which dominates for me is sung by the incomparable Todd Rundgren, in his rendition of one of my favourite songs of all time, Can We Still Be Friends. Sing along, everyone. B+.

The Virgin Suicides (Air)
Ah, Air. Air, Air, Air. One of the few things I could abide about the cringeworthy Lost in Translation, this French, blissed out dream band is too good to be true, and their score to Sofia Coppola’s debut transforms it from a well-delivered story about alienated schoolgirls to a near-masterpiece, effortlessly cool, and one of the sexiest films of the 90s. The soundtrack opens with Playground Love, an ode to 10CC in its cheesy-slow chords and vocals, but one that sets the tone for the movie, with a tune so hummable that it reoccurs later in the soundtrack, sin vocals, in Highschool Lover. Along the way, there are some oddities that even I can’t endorse (The Word Hurricane and Afternoon Sister come to mind here), but overall, this is coolness in the making. And yes, I realise I’ve said that word too many times already, but it just… is. What other way is there to describe Clouds Up, a melody so, well, cool, that it’s been pinched for the advert to Spooks? :P A-

Volver (Alberto Iglesias)
In my review of the score to The Constant Gardener, I spoke of how that film didn’t feature his best work, and it was Almodovar’s Hable Con Ella that this man’s strength was shown. Well, where Almodovar found his niche in Volver, so has Iglesias. Being a violinist and a guitarist myself, I was obviously highly orgasmic when I heard the pizzicatos in the background, and it resonates throughout the score, because this is actually my sixth favourite film score to feature pizzicato of all time. And whilst it would have been easy for Iglesias to just bung in random plucks for the sake of it, the score here accompanies the film and the mindset of the characters together, crescendos and diminuendos and all. No instrument feels out of place and every note accompanies the other perfectly, and this is accentuated in the lovely Comida Casera, where clarinet, cello and pizzicato dance around beautifully. The reason terms like “eargasm” were created, you just never want it to end. What a pity it is, then, that the album has to end on two non-Iglesias tracks, Las Espigadoras and a Good Thing, the latter sounding so cheap and un-Almodovar that you wonder how the hell it got onto the soundtrack. A-.

Best of these OSTs…

01. Highschool Lover (Air, The Virgin Suicides OST)
02. Comida Casera (Alberto Iglesias, Volver)
03. Can We Still Be Friends (Todd Rundgren, Vanilla Sky OST)
04. Clouds Up (Air, The Virgin Suicides OST)
05. Vanilla Sky (Paul McCartney, Vanilla Sky OST)
06. Volver (Estrella Morente, Volver)
07. Where Do I Begin (The Chemical Brothers, Vanilla Sky OST)
08. Playground Love (Air, The Virgin Suicides OST)
09. Everything In Its Right Place (Radiohead, Vanilla Sky OST)
10. Las Vecinas – Variacion (Alberto Iglesias, Volver)

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Anonymous said...

Thanks Emma! Glad you're back.

Emma said...

Hehe. Thanks.

SoFetch said...

I second that! Thanks for the songs.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm confused. My copy of The Virgin Suicides soundtrack only has two songs by Air. Is there more than one copy?

Emma said...

Not as far as I know. What's the tracklisting to your version?

Anonymous said...

1. Magic Man - Heart.
2. Hello It's Me - Todd Rundgren.
3. Everything You've Done Wrong - Sloan.
4. Ce Matin La - Air.
5. The Air That I Breathe - The Hollies.
6. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart - Al Green.
7. Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilbert O'Sullivan.
8. I'm Not in Love - 10CC.
9. A Dream Goes on Forever - Todd Rundgren.
10. Crazy on You - Heart.
11. Playground Love (Vibraphone Version) - Air.
12. Come Sail Away - Styx.


I know in your deepest soul you love me like a sickness. :)

Jose said...

I can not believe you called Saint Etienne cheap.
Bad girl!

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son said...

Good Job.....

Emma said...

Thanks, random dude from The Haven! :D

Anonymous said...



In a prison meeting room full of teenage offenders, various people walk into the room and sit at the desk of their meeting person. A fourteen year old girl, Miko Pei, enters the room, hugging a heavy notebook in her arms. She spots the person who she wants to see and saunters up to him.

The boy looks up at her. He is Charlie Stone, a tall boy in his mid teens with messy ginger hair. Charlie doesn’t seem to be able to control his staring at people. He looks at her wearily.

You’re Miko?


Miko holds out her hand to greet Charlie, he shakes his head.

Don’t touch me, please.

Miko stares at him, then sits down in a chair.

Before we start anything, I would like to ask you a burning question which I have. And please, answer honestly.

Sure, go ahead.

Why are you really here? I don’t believe for a second what you fed me about how your care. We never even spoke. In fact, I don’t think I ever even noticed you around. Why do you care about me at all?

Miko puts her notebook down on her table and turns her body to Charlie.

When I first heard about the case, and how you were guilty, I knew there was something odd. A fifteen year old boy couldn’t do that, right?

Charlie shrugs like he doesn’t care.

So then I came to the court cases, and looked at all the evidence presented against you. There was a lot, but that still didn’t make me disbelieve that you were innocent.

You’re probably the only one, then.

Then, when the jury said that they thought you were guilty, and you cried, I looked at your tears. They were real tears. From that minute onwards, I knew for a fact that you were innocent. So I want to help you.

Charlie sighs.

Thanks for the thought, but, there’s really nothing you can do. Even my lawyer can’t help me. I’ll be stuck in here for the rest of my life.

Don’t say that!

Charlie looks at Miko.

I’m going to put my all into proving your innocence, okay? I’ll go undercover, bribe, whatever it takes!

You don’t even know me.

Oh, but I do.

Charlie frowns at Miko, confused. Miko looks straight down on the floor, embarrassed.

Since you first came to this school, I’ve been sort of obsessed with you. I found out some things about you, and, yeah.


I don’t quite know… you were mysterious, and that intrigued me.

I’m mysterious. Great.

Sorry, I know it was wrong, but I want to help you still, if that’s okay?

Charlie stares at Miko in a way as if he almost feels sorry for her.

Christ, I need help. Why not?

Yes! You won’t regret this, I promise! I’m dead reliable and I’ll look at every aspect, okay?

Okay, Sherlock.

Miko is so infatuated with Charlie that she doesn’t even mind him making fun of her. She stands up and picks up her notebook.

I have to go home, do my homework now, but I’ll be here first thing at the weekend, we’ll try and find out as much as we can about what happened, okay?

I look forward to it.


Hesitantly, Miko holds out her left hand again for Charlie to shake. He stares at her hand, and shakes it.