Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Soundtrack Frenzy

OK, maybe it's not a frenzy per se, but I've always appreciated a good movie soundtrack album. And often, when I'm stumped as to what to purchase in my good ol' fashioned record store (scarce and getting scarcer), I head over to the soundtrack section and see what's going on over there.

What's going on in the world of soundtrack selection? I've compiled a small list of favorites. Some of these I have yet to purchase. They're "on the list"!

The Big Lebowski is a cult favorite and with good reason. It's a genuinely weird movie about slackers and bowling with a great cast headed by Jeff Bridges. If you possess a Type "A" personality, you might find Lebowski a little too laid back, but clearly, the big lummox is not just a happy person. He's content. Of course the Coen brothers mess him up as much as possible (their trademark), but he is basically and unusually content with himself and his simple existence.

Kenny Rogers & the First Edition delve into psychedelia with "Just Dropped In." While this scene is not as elaborate as Busby Berkeley would have staged it, it's quite satisfying for a bowling musical number. Plus you get Bob Dylan, Captain Beefheart, Elvis Costello, Nina Simone, Townes Zandt and Yma Sumac, to name just a few of the fine artists on this, one of my favorite soundtracks.

Mad Men was so sexist in its first season that it was actually gloriously surreal in making its feminist points. The early workings of Peggy Olsen's bright and struggling future as a talented copywriter is brilliantly and visually set to David Carbonara's "Lipstick" on the Mad Men: Vol. 1 soundtrack. Plus gems like Ella Fitzgerald doing "Manhattan" and Robert Maxwell's Shangri-La.

(actual Robert Maxwell tune, ignore the image)

The room full of dying circuits that electronic composers Louis and Bebe Barron built and recorded for the Forbidden Planet soundtrack might not be to everyone's taste, but it's still one of the best soundtracks ever. The Barrons were up to the challenge of creating not just Krell music, but also all the blips and bleeps and Id monster howls from another world.

O Brother Where Art Thou? - This is one I still have to get. The Coen Brothers' ode to American roots music. And George Clooney is fi-ii-ine.

John Hartford, "Indian War Whoop"

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