Day Six: UHF
The soundtrack’s amazing, so is the movie.
Perfect score for both regardless of the rating system!
Intentionally brief write-up today for day 6 of the summer movie soundtrack series.
On the 7th day, instead of a day of rest, I’ll have lots more to say about “Weird Al.” Stay tuned.
Thanks for reading & writing, I’ve enjoyed joining in the blogging theme week fun!
Day Five: Shaft
Why youtube can be fantastic:
Newsradio is among my favourite sitcoms.
In the first season, there was an episode where the news director (Dave Foley) was asked by his boss (Stephen Root) to give one person a $3,000 bonus, most of the staff a $400 bonus, and one unlucky employee a bonus of $0. That dreaded $0 bonus was better known as the Shaft.
There’s a fun bit at the 11 minute mark where Phil Hartman and Joe Rogan’s characters begin quoting the theme from Shaft, much to the chagrin of Andy Dick’s reporter character (and typical shaft recipient) Matthew.
Thank you Tubes of You!
Why youtube can be frustrating:
I couldn’t find a physical copy of the Shaft soundtrack and so I once again turned to the world wide web.
Take a look at this version I found:
The ads were excessive and curiously placed (TD Bank really seemed to think that Shaft soundtrack streamers are a key demographic). Without exaggerating, the adverts were about 10x the volume of the instrumental pieces that led into the commercial breaks, making it a free, but far from ideal listening experience.
I did not dig it.
Why libraries are amazing:
My local library system came through with the Shaft DVD. And it was great!
Really enjoyed the film and the songs & score make much more sense in the context of the movie. The Isaac Hayes music enhanced the Shaft experience, helping to establish the early-70s setting in some not-so-tourist-friendly parts of NYC.
As for the title character, he may be a complicated man but I certainly understand Shaft’s appeal.
If I see the Shaft soundtrack, I may or may not invest in a physical copy.
But am I likely to borrow the movie again from my wonderful local library?
Day Four: Back to the Future
I have absolutely no perspective on this movie. It’s far too sacred.
For the soundtrack however, I think I’ve managed to muster at least a smidgen of objectivity.
It’s funny when star power does not dazzle like it could/should.
On side A, Lindsey Buckingham and Eric Clapton each make song contributions.
Bonus marks if you can remember the song titles.
Did you say Time Bomb Town and Heaven is One Step Away?
While neither track is inherently offensive, neither is terribly memorable either.
To be fair, I can’t remember either track being featured prominently in the film.
But still, given their respective talent levels…
That being said, the remaining 8 tracks are sensational.
Huey Lewis & The News bookended side A with a pair of timeless gems, The Power of Love and Back in Time.
The Outtatime Orchestra plays a pair of variations on the brilliant Back to the Future theme.
And then the four-pack to end side B is one for the ages:
a. The Wallflower (Dance with me Henry), or the song that’s playing in the 50s cafe
b. Night Train, the tune heard while George is waiting at the dance
c. Earth Angel, the ballad Marty accompanies, subbing in for the injured Marvin Berry
d. The blues riff in B, the source material for most of my attempted blues/rock soloing, Johnny B. Goode.
So that’s 8 awesome tunes, 2 adequate tracks.
The super more than makes up for the satisfactory here though, giving the album a final score of:
(out of 100)
Day Three: A Hard Day’s Night
What is that opening chord?
A question that has haunted Beatle enthusiasts & even academics for years.
I could never quite get it right myself on the guitar…but I think I’m close on the banjo!
Top 5 reasons even non-Beatle enthusiasts can find something to like here:
5. There’s cowbell! Ringo’s a little more restrained than he was a few years later on Everybody’s Got Something to Hide…but that instant-smile-generating quarter note percussion still makes a couple of appearances here.
4. A song like And I Love Her has the beautiful contrast between minor chords & optimistic lyrics
3. The song lengths are remarkably even, varying between a minimum of 1:46 and a maximum of 2:43. To awkwardly modify a Jennifer Garner movie title, that’s pretty efficient to have 13 (tracks) going on (in) 30 (minutes).
2. If you’re a math teacher, side two (the side with the songs not featured in A Hard Day’s Night or 13 Going On 30) lends itself beautifully to lesson intros.
Can you ever have a zero in the numerator of a fraction? Any Time at All. How about the denominator? You Can’t Do That.
At the end of the note, say “remember The Things We Said Today. I’ll Be Back tomorrow if you have any questions.”
Though after some challenging lessons, I fear students may say When I Get Home, I’ll Cry Instead.
1.There are no Beatlemania fans screaming during the songs on the studio album, meaning you can actually hear the music.
And a good thing too, as many of these songs are worth screaming about.
Day Two: So I Married an Axe Murderer
Track by track time!
1. Boo Radleys, There She Goes
Surely one of the stronger opening title sequences of the 1990s, following the journey of a cappuccino from the dishwasher to the end customer. Disappointingly, the song video cut out before the “large cappuccino” line. So here’s the song and the line, in two installments! Love the James Hetfield-esque “There she goes-AHH” in this cover.
2. Toad the Wet Sprocket, Brother
I’ve always enjoyed their songs: Crowded House-y, pleasant without feeling generic. Brother‘s no exception.
3. Soul Asylum, The Break
If you took the best songs from Grave Dancers Union (1992) & Let Your Dim Light Shine (1995), and added The Break to the running order, that would be a great record.
4. Chris Whitley, Starve to Death
Disrupts the album flow a bit.
5. Big Audio Dynamite II, Rush.
Feels like a textbook montage track, I think that’s how it was used in the film.
6. Mike Myers, This Poem Sucks
Fun spoken verse worthy of an embedded video!
7. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Saturday Night
Might be my favourite Saturday night-themed song, another solid cover.
8. The Darling Buds, Long Day in the Universe
The (comparable in sound and quality) Dumb & Dumber soundtrack didn’t meet my stringent summer release date requirement. This Darling Buds song feels like it would fit nicely there too, one of those mid-tempo tracks that I quite like by an artist whom I haven’t heard elsewhere.
9. The Spin Doctors, Two Princes
Might have been on most 1990s soundtracks! The song may have suffered from overexposure but it still puts me in a good mood.
10. Suede, My Insatiable One
My introduction to Suede, thank you So I Married an Axe Murderer for the introduction!
11. Sun-60s, Maybe Baby
One of those songs that works well in movies, not particularly intrusive nor memorable.
12. The La’s, There She Goes
The simple lead pattern remains irresistible 25 years after its initial release.
Overall, more consistent from start-to-finish than its front-loaded (but what a first 45 minutes or so) movie affiliate.
The movie might be a 3.5 out of 5 in my books.
I’ll round the soundtrack up to the nearest whole number and award it:
4 out of a possible 5 Heeds!
I haven’t seen the 1995 movie Angus.
Though after listening to (& loving) Weezer’s initial soundtrack contribution, Wanda, I feel like I have.
The song ended up being rejected, in part because the lyrics essentially described the entire movie. So instead, the soundtrack featured another Weezer track, You Gave Your Love To Me Softly, a 2-minute beauty by any measurement system.
That was the first time I can remember a song being rejected for being TOO closely related to its parent film.
I haven’t seen the 1972 movie Superfly.
Though thanks to Curtis Mayfield’s vivid lyrical descriptions…
Now I’m not sure if Mr. Mayfield had any tracks or lyrics rejected for explicitly referencing the film & characters; but even during the first listen, I felt transported to the Superfly world.
While the world of pushermen & poverty Mayfield described didn’t sound like my kind of place, the Superfly soundtrack is my kind of soundtrack.
People (myself included) go to the movies as an escape, to temporarily disconnect from a current situation & immerse in another setting for a while.
The best movies are able to draw me in for a couple of hours, as the Billy Joel Piano Man lyric says, “to forget about life for a while.” Life is good but it’s a nice feeling when a movie is able to attract & keep my undivided attention.
Which makes me think Superfly ought to be an interesting flick.
If its completely engaging soundtrack is any indication at least.
Film soundtracks are few and far between on the 1001 list.
Perhaps the main reason?
Compilations spanning multiple years (e.g. Greatest Hits) are not eligible, nor are compilations featuring multiple artists (e.g. most movie soundtracks).
But a few single-artist soundtracks made the cut and at least 3 of these were also released in the summer, conveniently meeting the rigorous eligibility requirements in my ongoing summer series!
So a series-within-a-series then, with a couple non-1001 soundtracks that I enjoy thrown in for good measure.
Enjoy the week!