|by Natasha Theobald
I’ve been listening to a lot of different soundtracks lately, trying to land on one to write about this week. Nothing has been clicking particularly well with my mood of the moment. There has been a song that I have had in my head for the last few days, and it happens to appear on a soundtrack. So, that’s where we are. You knew it had to happen sooner or later with a column called Sonic Death Monkey. We must pay respect and honor to a movie so much about music that it has left its mark on our very column. If you were making a top five list of best movie soundtracks, would this one be on it?
How’s this for a mix: Bob Dylan, The Kinks, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, The Velvet Underground, and Stevie Wonder. Throw in a track hugely referenced in the film from The Beta Band, a couple of love songs, Stereolab, and Jack Black singing “Let’s Get it On,” and I think you’ve got yourself a modern classic in the making. This is the soundtrack from High Fidelity.
I’ll start with the song that has been floating around in my head all week for no justifiable reason, though it appears last on the soundtrack itself, “I Believe” from Stevie Wonder. Really I should write the whole title, because it is the phrase that has been on repeat in my wee little brain, I believe when I fall in love with you it will be forever. The sound is as sweet as the sentiment and so hopeful that even the most cynical may truly believe. Low on cheese and high on sincerity, the mushiness is forgivable, even somewhat welcome, as good things finally might happen to good people.
The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, tracking back to the beginning for a moment, in contrast, start things off with a wail, “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” While most people probably have someone they hope regrets them, at least every once in a while, I am always reminded of an old joke. I think it was Larry Miller who would recount a story of an ex-girlfriend telling him he would never find someone like her, to which he thought, “I should hope not. If I don’t want you, why would I want someone like you?” It makes my teeth hurt to think about the truth in this, and, if any man has ever had this thought about me, I curse him now. Remember me fondly or not at all. Please.
The Kinks keep things on an upswing tempo-wise with “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy,” but the good times can only last so long. The next guy, John Wesley Harding, sings a little ditty called “I’m Wrong About Everything,” something I feel fairly certain most men have uttered in frustration at one time or another, just to make the talking stop. This really is a guy song, and, though I am technically a girl, I feel genuine sympathy. I get it when he describes trying to win her over with a little warmth but, in the end, resigns himself to the knowledge that she will win every fight. I feel it – I do.
Skipping ahead in the misery sweepstakes, we land at Bob Dylan with “Most of the Time.” I love his voice on this song. Play this back to back with “Blood in My Eyes,” and see if your heart can take it. Don’t even remember what her lips felt like on mine, most of the time. Was it even real? He’s not sure. Did it happen? Was he happy? Memories are so hard to keep safe from the wear of time, from erosion or dilution or simple neglect. And it doesn’t even hurt, most of the time.
And then there is unrequited love -- Sheila Nichols with another of my favorite songs on this disc, “Fallen for You.” Her voice is so lovely and the piano is so haunting and sad/sweet. Did you ever see me? Ahhhh. Can anyone feel empathy for this one? He never noticed her, so she has to walk away. She never even got close. On my own little mix, I like to follow this with Aimee Mann and “Driving with One Hand on the Wheel.” It takes some of the sting out. She’s gives the other person some shit for the whole thing, too, which makes it feel a little better. You made me an offer, I called your bluff, now you’re an amnesiac. Yeah, take that! Your loss, asshole!
There is too much here to do justice to everything. I’m skipping to the second of The Velvet Underground songs, “Who Loves the Sun?” The basic gist is who cares about anything since you broke my heart. Grief is so much like that, no matter how you lose the person. It sucks if the sun shines; it sucks if it doesn’t. It is so hard to stand at a funeral on a beautiful, sunny day. It seems really unfair and wrong.
Thank goodness the next track is “I Believe,” and we have come full circle back to the end, where the article began. This song leaves you on more of a high note, emotionally speaking, than many of the other offerings. The whole rollercoaster journey of this disc is worth it, though. Of course, that’s easy for me to say. Maybe beware if you are suffering from a freshly broken heart.
My life-lesson nonsense and heartache synchrony not-withstanding (Yes, I re-read the article, but I’m not changing everything NOW), this is a must-own for any soundtrack collector. Uh-huh. Everybody says so. And, I agree.
Thanks for your time.
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originally posted: 04/06/07 17:21:18
last updated: 04/06/07 17:28:55