Listening to movies with St. Paul: an emotional journey through the best soundtracks This Friday, DJ St. Paul and VJ Switchdoctor will host the premiere of Binge Dancing, an evening full of key musical moments from films and series. For Front, St. Paul wrote a column about the emotional journey through time on which soundtracks can take you. While writing, he also highlights his favorite musical moments from films and series - both full of nostalgia and loving the present - and also asks a number of favorite professional enthusiasts of their own choice
Written by: Paul Nederveen
Once upon a time, there was a Brad Pitt in Hollywood. As he races away in his ocean-blue car and the camera soars over L.A., "Summertime" by Billie Stewart is heard in the background. Correction, the intro to 'Summertime' by Billie Stewart. Correction, an excerpt from the intro to 'Summertime' by Billie Stewart. Even the song's suggestion is enough to bounce you out of your sticky popcorn chair.
The biggest downside to OCD is that you can only have one obsession at a time. In my case those are beautiful songs. But if I was also blessed with a split personality, I would spend all day at the cinema. Movies and songs. Songs and movies. The two cherries on top of a dull life.
Ink creeps where it can't go. That's why I write this column for Front about soundtracks. Not so much about composed soundtracks, as about composite soundtracks. The right song at the right time under the right scene in the right movie. Or in the right series. We've got an entire century to choose from, so let's dive right in. Like Bill Murray in Rushmore. But then enthusiastic. 'Never Ending Story!' The use of this Giorgio Moroder production in Stranger Things 3 is the first to come to mind. Especially because it's not necessarily the most beautiful song ever made, it even comes from another movie, and still works. The song is single-handedly the soundtrack to the never-ending nostalgia loop in which pop culture now seems to find itself. Cover bands occupy the pop stages, 80s productions do the same on the dance floor and Professor Barabas wins every Oscar for Best Direction.
The favorite musical movie scene of… Spinvis
Echo & The Bunnymen – 'The Killing Moon', Donnie Darko
“The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
With this quote from Albert Einstein, the German series Dark begins. Advanced Stranger Things. Time travel elevated to an art form. No, better, elevated to the norm. There is a scene where a little boy - trapped in a wormhole - is forced to watch the clip of Dead Or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" (on repeat). Metaphor galore! Everything connects to everything. If nothing is new, nothing is old. Take a look at your carefully composed playlists with those glasses. Or to one of the coolest dance scenes of this year from Gaspar Noe's Climax. You hear a disco track from the 1970s (by Cerrone) that has been adapted by the disco king of the 1990s (Thomas Banghalter from Daft Punk) into one of this year's disco anthems.
Dancing a losing battle. Partying in the big nothing. Climax is also reminiscent of Trainspotting. During my brief flirtation with college life, there wasn't a college room that didn't have the poster of this movie. We all had cut the grunge hair back, loved Britpop and hated choice stress. A job. A career. A family. Just pick a favorite song from the soundtrack!?! Despite Iggy Pop in the opening, Brian Eno on the loo or Underworld at the end, I still go for 'Temptation' by New Order. Because of the song, but also because of the subtle use in the film. Protagonist Ewan McGregor meets a girl at the club while ‘Heaven 17's "Temptation" is on the rise. The next day he finds out that she is underage and you hear "Temptation" from New Order. Two different versions of the same title for two different perspectives on a situation.
Sometimes one and the same song lends itself to several conflicting moods. Such is the case with the wonderfully chosen song 'It Takes A Muscle To Fall In Love' in the film Prins. For the soundtrack, director Sam de Jong collaborated with Palmbomen, who not only wrote music for the film, but also suggested using a song by the forgotten Dutch synthpop act Spectral Display. 'It Takes A Muscle To Fall In Love' returns twice in Prins. But where you feel melancholy and sadness the first time, you experience hope later in the film.
The favorite musical film scene of… Job Roggeveen (including Job, Joris & Marieke)
Nico – 'These Days', The Royal Tenenbaums
The advantage of an unknown song is that it has not yet been emotionally colored by the viewer himself. The director can manipulate the blank mind as needed. That becomes a lot more complicated with an evergreen like 'Non Je Ne Regrette Rien'. It is therefore extra surprising that the entire(!) soundtrack of Inception is built on this song. Inception is about parallel experiences of time. An hour can suddenly be a year, and a week a second. Hans Zimmer has slowed down or accelerated Edith Piaff's music in the same proportions as the story. I've seen the movie three times and still think it's one of the best songs ever made. Something went very well there.
Favorite songs under scenes can also be misleading. "Is that 'There She Goes' by The La's in the first episode of Gilmore Girls? WHERE CAN I BUY THAT DVD BOX?!!" And that after actually only seeing Lorelai's knitted hat. 153 episodes of Gilmore Girls resulted. In total I lived a full week of my life in Stars Hollow: no regrets. But when a director uses songs too often to say something he can't do himself, something goes wrong. 25 years later, Reality Bites turns out to be little more than a cool soundtrack. How different is that with the series Sex Education. If the DVD box phenomenon still existed, I bought a new copy after every scene. In Sex Education, music and images constantly reinforce each other. Pop culture squared. Take the abortion by one of the main characters with 'Asleep' in the background by The Smiths For that, even the apathetic Morrissey himself will have to grab his stuffed animal.
The favorite musical film scene of… Anna van Rij (The Visual)
Audrey Hepburn – 'Moon River', Breakfast at Tiffany's
Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, Michel Gondry and Sofia Coppola are those directors who always seem to select their music directly from my record collection. Dancing by the water to Françoise Hardy in Moonrise Kingdom. Seeing the artwork The Squid & The Whale for the first time, accompanied by Lou Reed's 'Street Hassle'. Get lost in your own head while 'Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes' is on in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Literally every song in Lost In Translation. And yet it is perhaps the coolest thing when you discover a song through a movie. 'Throw It Down' by Dominique Young Unique has been in my DJ sets since the fantastic Booksmart. If there were Oscars for Mindblowing Modern Day Coming Of Age Pop Soundtracks, they would all go to Booksmart. Just this pool scene…
You say pool, then you sing Rocket Man. The musical about Elton John is actually one long video clip. Musicals, Bollywood (Jaan Pehchan Ho!) and for me personally more Blaxploitation movies are in their own league in terms of song usage. Shaft, Superfly, They Call Me Mister Tibbs, Trouble Man, I've seen them all several times but still only remember the music. Spike Lee may be the first director to change this. Public Enemy's 'Fight The Power' reminds me just as much of those fat James Brown drums, the iconic lyrics (“Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamp”) and sweltering dance floors as I do of the sweltering Bedford-Stuyvesant , Brooklyn from de gettoblaster uit Do the Right Thing.
The favorite musical film scene of… Thijs Schrik (culture journalist for, among others, NRC)
Elton John – 'Tiny Dancer', Almost Famous
During Binge Dancing in TivoliVredenburg there is of course an emphasis on the more danceable songs in films. VJ Switchdoctor will provide the accompanying images throughout the evening. Four hours of songs from movies. And the feeling still prevails of having to kill darlings. My preference would be a dedicated Tarantino foyer, two identical Wes Anderson balconies, and a full moon rooftop deck for all the dance scenes from movies. The latter category alone is worth its own Sound and Vision Institute. Dancing in Hollywood (Singin' In The Rain, La La Land, Saturday Night Fever, Love Simon, Jungle Book). Dancing in indie movies (Call Me By Your Name, Ex Machina, Dogtooth, 500 Days Of Summer, The Big Lebowski, The Breakfast Club). Dancing in a Foreign Language (Chunking Express, La Grande Bellezza, House Of Flying Daggers, Beau Travail, Anna). Shuffling in a foreign language (Cold War, Cold War and Cold War). Before I organize my favorite subway dance battles per city in America and Front has no visitors left, I just want some extra attention for Anna and especially Beau Travail. In an interview with Cineville, director Claire Denis says, "People blame me for being uncomfortable, while my films tap into subjects so close to the surface that you're fooling yourself by denying them." I'm picking up this gauntlet and going to play Corona for the first time in my life on Friday.
As a DJ it is remarkable to see that the songs that have momentum are not necessarily the most progressive productions anymore. It could be an Italo edit of a Bollywood track picked up by DJs. It could be a Sex Education song reaching generations again ("Love Really Hurts Without You"). Where prime-time hits that unite everyone to the farthest corners of the dance floor used to be a radio hit or a number 1 hit, or a counter-culture revolution that cannot be ignored, it is now often an old song that is broadcast via streaming channels. creeps back into the communal experience. Until ten years ago, I could not have imagined that a room full of early twenties starts cheering en masse at 'Mad World' or 'Enjoy The Silence'.
This brings us back to the nostalgia loop. The time machines that are both songs and movies. Where am I, when Stranger Things refers to my first favorite song from my first favorite movie (Stand By Me)? In the now of the series? In the eighties of the movie? In the sixties of the song? Rutger Hauer would say it's all tears in the rain. I wish him a better end and because in the “upside down” of pop culture nothing is out of place anymore, I decide for myself how we call it a day…
One minute before the deadline (it's a serious matter, choosing your favourites!) Job still chose The Royal Tenenbaums and not a song from Casino. That's why I want to pay attention to one of the most beautiful Scorsese scenes in my own directors cut: the one-take restaurant shot from Goodfellas with The Crystals in the background.
MIA also loved 'It Takes A Muscle To Fall In Love' by the Dutch Spectral Display and covered it for her album MAYA. At Jools Holland she performed it together with The Specials. Unfortunately, the videos have been removed from YouTube.
Loved Spinvis' choice, but it wouldn't have mattered if INXS had been under the opening scene. In Donnie Darko's director's cut, the soundtrack looks very different. As originally intended. The wonderful world of copyright.
One minute before the deadline (it's a serious matter, choosing your favourites!) Job still chose The Royal Tennenbaums and not a song from Casino. That's why I want to pay attention to one of the most beautiful Scorsese scenes in my own directors cut: the one-take restaurant shot from Goodfellas with The Crystals in the background.
For those like me who can't get enough of the final scene of The 40 Year Old Virgin, there is also an extended version.
You should be Binge Dancing. This one should not be missing. Not a favorite song in a movie. But a favorite song as a movie.
Editor's note: this article was originally published in Dutch. Some quotes may have been altered in the translation.