I Don’t Like Bad Soundtracks
Sometimes its hard to notice, but one of my biggest pet peeves while watching a movie is hearing a song that feels out of place. This usually doesn’t occur in movies with soundtracks that are original compositions. The worst culprits seem to be indie movies whose soundtrack is someone’s playlist. When I’m watching a movie, I don’t want my mind to start wandering and thinking about the pretentious music supervisor who happened to be the DP’s cousin and plugged his favorite 80’s avant garde punk bands into this movie indie movie about a father and daughter reconciling (what? I’m the only one whose mind wanders like that. Well fuck me then). The idea for this post came a few months ago when I was watching the Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones pet project called Celeste and Jesse Forever. Its essentially a typical modern indie love story about young urban professionals struggling to find the balance between romance and friendship, where each of the leads plays an unfunny version of themselves. The movie was largely forgettable, except for the soundtrack. The moment that really caught my attention was during a lighter scene in which Rashida Jones is getting back on her feet after her breakup, and she’s going for a jog before meeting a friend. The scene begins with a sharp cut, and out of no where I hear Moody by ESG. ESG was a short lived, eccentric, genre bending Brooklyn band from the late 70’s/early 80’s, comprised primarily of sisters. While not well known today, ESG are credited with helping to create the niche sub-genre of dance-punk, or disco-punk. I happen to love ESG, which helps explain why reaction was so visceral. Rashida Jones’ character has no reason to be listening to this song, especially not while she’s running. The song is slow, brooding, and has elements of late 70’s galactic funk that would be horrible to run to. Even worse, the rest of the soundtrack sounds nothing like that. It’s neither a punk or disco based soundtrack, but your standard indie movie fare (Lily Allen, Vetiver, Mr. Little Jeans). Take a listen to the song and tell me if you agree. I’ll write another post (or add to this one) when I think of more examples. But it really distracted me when I heard that song come on originally, enough that I had to write nearly 500 words about it.