Listen uP: Two for Tuesday

15 12 2009

Selections from the New Moon Soundtrack

I was a big fan of the Twilight books, citing them as my #1 guilty pleasure of 2008. And while I’m not nearly as enthusiastic about the horrifically acted movies, I give two big thumbs up to the guy or gal who assembled the soundtrack. In my humble opinion, anyone who can put Thom Yorke and Die Fledermaus on the same album and make it work deserves special accolades.

Download #1: “Hearing Damage” by Thom Yorke. I’m a huge Radiohead fan and when I first heard this song I literally couldn’t move (“A tear in my brain/allows the voices in/…you can do no wrong/in my eyes”).  Not to mention they also made fantastic use of the song within the movie, rather than wasting it on the closing credits.

Download #2: “The Violet Hour” by Sea Wolf. This song sounds like something from alternative ‘80’s heaven with pop shadings of bands like The Jam and The Smiths. One of the few up-tempo tracks, “The Violet Hour” is the meat in the middle of the New Moon soundtrack.

Honorable Mention: Death Cab for Cutie’s “Meet Me on the Equinox” is a fantastic opening track, however I’m afraid that excessive radio play will make us all hate it by 2010. That being said, it’s still a great song that’s definitely worth a listen.

For those that are embarrassed to download the New Moon soundtrack, I urge you to throw your pride aside and take a chance. You’ll be richly rewarded.


Listen uP: 20 Greatest Movie Soundtracks

13 07 2009

This spring, I decided to start running. Over the past few months I’ve gone from five minutes to five miles and am now signing up for races. In the beginning I would make running mixes for my iPod but later discovered, quite by accident, that the best thing to listen to when I was pounding the pavement was the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. Something about the drums and the Indian music propelled me along and got me thinking about the best movie soundtracks of all time. With a little help from some friends, I’ve compiled a list (in no particular order because my brain would probably explode if I tried to rate them too) of the top 20 movie soundtracks of all time.

1.) Reservoir Dogs– Tarantino is a soundtrack genius. Probably the most named of everyone who participated. Defining track: “Stuck in the Middle with You”

2.) Royal Tenenbaums– Anyone who can put the Ramones and Paul Simon together and make it work gets a huge thumbs up from me. Defining track: “Judy is a Punk”

3.) Romeo+Juliet–  A sentimental favorite of the ladies it seems, R+J soundtrack shaped my mid-college years. Defining track: “#1 Crush”

4.) Almost Famous– The only negative here is that “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” wasn’t included. Still not a deal breaker. Defining track: “Tiny Dancer”

5.) Stealing Beauty– A beautiful, little seen Liv Tyler movie set in Italy with a killer soundtrack. Defining track: “If 6 Was 9”

6.) Harold and Maude– I normally don’t like one artist dominating a soundtrack but this is Cat Stevens. And it’s Harold and Maude. Defining track: “Don’t Be Shy”

7.) O Brother, Where Art Thou?– T. Bone Burnett+The Coen brothers=movie soundtrack gold. Bluegrass never sounded so modern. Defining track: “Didn’t Leave Nobody but the Baby”

8.) Trainspotting– The first was so good they needed to release a second.  This soundtrack becomes one of the characters. Defining track: “Lust for Life”

9.) Dirty Dancing– I’ll put up with the ridiculous Kellermans’ theme for Solomon Burke any day of the week. Deflower her, Johnny Castle! Defining track: “Cry to Me”

10) Singles- 1992: Seattle grunge rock galore! And somewhere in Jersey, a 15-year old girl puts away the hair band tapes for good. Defining track: “Seasons”

11.) Pulp Fiction– Back to Tarantino country, where Dick Dale and Dusty Springfield blissfully coexist. Defining track: “Son of a Preacher Man”

12.) Grosse Pointe Blank– Best of the cool kids’ 80’s. The scene where Cusack has a moment with the baby is movie soundtrack perfection. Defining track: “Let My Love Open the Door”

13.) Rushmore– Classic British invasion tunes perfectly shade this twisted little movie. “I saved Latin. What did you ever do?”  Defining track: “Ooh La La”

14.) I’m Not There– 20+ artists doing solid Dylan covers? Sign me up! Defining track: “Mama You’ve Been on My Mind/A Fraction of Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie”

15) Grease– The only musical that made the list. Honestly, I was just afraid to go there. Defining track: “You’re the One that I Want”

16.) Juno– Quirky, silly and sentimental.  And it includes my wedding song. Defining track: “Sea of Love”

17.) Saturday Night Fever– I hate disco but I have a soft spot for the Bee Gees. Defining track: “Staying Alive”

18.) Purple Rain– 25 years later, Prince still packs the dance floor. Defining track: “Let’s Go Crazy”

19.) Garden State– Probably the most played soundtrack of all time in the salon and I still love it. Defining track: “Only Living Boy in New York”

20.) The Last Waltz– Though technically a documentary, Scorsese gives us a bird’s eye view of one of the greatest concerts ever filmed. Defining track: “Caravan”

Honorable Mentions: The Commitments, Good Will Hunting, Into the Wild, Dazed and Confused, Goodfellas