Tuesday, 27 October 2009

You can't beat a good list

Last weekend I bought the Karen O movie soundtrack for Where the Wild Things Are and I can’t stop listening to it. I have been ridiculously excited about the forthcoming film as the book was one of my childhood favourites. If I ever come in sniffing distance of a child I’m like a Jehovah Witness with a copy of The Watchtower. (What you’re only three and the monsters scare you? Oh grow up you little cry baby!)

The soundtrack by Karen O only added to my excitement. The score features Karen on most tracks with an “untrained children’s choir” who bring a ram-shackled charm. Rather than the sugary sweetness of most children’s choirs, The Kids sound as mischievous as our hero, Max.

The album got me thinking about other great movie soundtracks. These are my favourites – what are yours?

  1. Tommy: The only time you will hear me saying I like Elton John and Tina Turner is in the context of this soundtrack. Both performances walk a fine line between genius and madness.
  2. Trainspotting: This could be the soundtrack to my youth with 90s big hitters Underworld, Blur and Leftfield sitting along side the classics such as Blondie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.
  3. The Piano: This rarely makes it into top ten lists, or even top 100 lists for that matter, but this was one of the first soundtrack albums I bought. Michael Nyman’s unrelenting flurry of plaintive piano scales make me want to weep. I felt utterly privileged to see him at this year’s Bestival.
  4. The Jungle Book: Who doesn’t love the jazz/swing classic I Wanna Be Like You (monkey song). I’m such a fan I named my cat after the permanently stroppy jungle panther, Bagheera.
  5. The Graduate: Simon and Garfunkle’s ethereal, dreamlike soundtrack is the perfect accompaniment to Dustin Hoffman’s aimless, lay-about Benjamin Braddock.
  6. Superfly: I’ve never actually seen the film but the album I played until I nearly wore the grooves out. It’s been described as a pioneering soul record, yet Mayfield's death seemed to go almost unnoticed on Boxing Day 1999, aged just 57 years old.
  7. O’ Brother Where Art Thou: This was probably my first introduction to bluegrass, having previously had an allergic reaction to anything vaguely country. The soundtrack left me feeling like I’d had an unexpected homosexual experience – all flustered and at odds with myself, yet undeniably excited.
  8. Withnail and I: I knew Whiter Shade of Pale long before I had seen the film, yet now when I hear it I instantly think of that grotty Camden flat and Richard E Grant walking around in an overcoat and y-fronts. The film changed the meaning of the song to me, yet somehow it still seemed a perfect fit.
  9. Juno: There are a number of bands who try and do the unpolished anti-folk thing, yet nobody pulls it off quite like the Moldy Peaches, who dominate this soundtrack. Just as Simon and Garfunkle captured Benjamin Braddock, Kimya Dawson, with her shouty, rough round the edges vocals, captured the spirit of Juno.
  10. The Rocky Horror Picture Show: This has been so done-to-death that it’s easy to forget the genius gems, like the outrageous Sweet Transvestite or the hilarious rock and roll pastiche, Eddie.

Today I was mostly listening to Karen O and The XX and somebody told me I looked like a female Johnny Cash


  1. Not long to go for the film release - and thanks to you I'm off to track down the soundtrack.

    As for the soundtrack to The Piano, we all have our embarassing secrets;)

  2. Glad to be of service.

    But I definately don't have any guilty secrets - I'm out and proud when it comes to Mr Nyman :0)