The topic chosen this week was movies with soundtracks that were better than the film itself.
OK. confession time. I’m not exactly sure I should admit this… I’ve spent years building a reputation. One of impeccable taste, class and sophistication. Not successfully, but I’ve tried. But… *sigh* OK, here it is.
The Spider-Man soundtrack is one of my favourite albums of all time. Not my favourite movie soundtrack. Favourite album. Of all the albums made. Ever.
Judge away. And I’ll wait until you’ve cleaned up the horrific spit-take from your anguished cry of “WHAT?!”. Your keyboard could probably use a clean anyway, I know the kinds of websites you visit. Dirty.
OK, back? Good.
So the Spider-Man soundtrack came out in 2002, which is around the time the movie was released, conveniently. I heard and loved some of the songs before the album was released. And this was prior to Janet Jackson’s boobs inadvertently invented YouTube, so I had to watch music channels on repeat to hear my favourite tracks.
Luckily this film lived up to its soundtrack. Some are not so lucky.
Sometimes a fairly mediocre film can become memorable thanks to a great song. I Will Always Love You ironically manages to save The Bodyguard. Bryan Adams said that (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, but apparently decided against getting Robin Hood to have an English accent for us. And I’d let Tom Cruise take me in the Danger Zone any day.
But I think the most interesting relationship between music and film is when the two manage to feed off each other and become inseparable. For me this is summed up best by my relationship with the film Stardust.
When this film came out, I was not a Take That fan. Spoiler alert: I’m still not. But I kind of thought the song Rule the World was alright. I guess.
Then I saw the trailer for Stardust, which it was the soundtrack for. I’d never heard of Neil Gaiman at that stage, so had no idea what it was. But the trailer looked… quite good, maybe?
These two emotions started to feed on each other, the trailer made me like the song more, which made me like the trailer even more. Then I saw the film, which I had really positive emotions going into, and the story made the song even better. And so the two fed off each other, growing. Like two snakes eating each other, or a double ouroboros. Or audiouroboros.
A great song can hit us on a more emotional, primal level than a film ever can – just look at the popularity of Let It Go from Frozen. But a song, no matter how good, can never save a terrible, terrible film. Even the awesome 80’s power of Starship can’t save Mannequin.
(Except Getting Away With Murder for the Chronicles of Riddick. Because fuck you, it’s awesome.)