Sunday, January 30, 2011

Open Post: William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet: Music From The Motion Picture

An absolutely perfect film soundtrack is extremely hard to come by. Most everybody has at least a few that come to mind, but I have recently found that many of my old go to favorites don't really hold up anymore (I'm not goofing. This used to be my shit when I was 11. Inappropriate, I know.) I guess that's to be expected. I mean, half the time certain movies I love(d) don't cut the mustard anymore, so it stands to reason that their accompanying scores have become little more than spotty playlists- a few solid gems sprinkled in there for sure, but straight through playability? Not happening.

At its best, an OST can serve as an amazing mix tape, a Cliff Notes like musical recap that triggers your recollection of certain scenes and exchanges of dialogue or a completely amazing stand alone record that regardless of any film's association, you would like to own. At its worst, it can be well, this.

But, in case you were curious (you weren't) the soundtrack of my really complex and important middle school life (the amount of side eye I am giving my childhood self right now is not even quantifiable) still holds up! Solid. Solid as a rock!

Baz Luhrmann's tropicalia drenched post-apocalyptic Mexico City take on the star crossed lovers will still, without any doubt, make me cry. The last montage of their (two week) courtship? Peering at each other through the fish tank? Those angel wings? The pool scene? Losing your virginity to your husband at 14 surrounded by a million saint candles and dolls? Leonardo DiCaprio's smooth as a baby's bottom chest peeping out from the most awesome of awesome Hawaiian shirts? Visually, the film is truly breathtaking, but then again, that's what Baz does best. That's a given. I mean, say what you will about Moulin Rouge! (wait, don't I'll get mad) it is nothing if not lush and gorgeous. His reconstructed Monte Marte is like a pop up book on absinthe (which was the point) and his attention to visual detail is always impressive. In Romeo + Juliet, he pulls off creating a world lost in a very specific aesthetic past (think Cuba), where everyone speaks in Shakespearean tongue, but hangs out with cholas and cross dressing disco loving gun toting roll dogs AND listens to the best of what the '90s had to offer sonically. That is not an easy task.

This soundtrack has it all. Garbage (I would die for you). Radiohead. The Cardigans (so I cry, and I beg, for you to, love me love meeeeeeeee). Butthole Surfers. DES'REE (no. words.). Everclear. Future B2K affiliated Quindon Tarver, who, when he appeared in the film as a young choir boy, literally had the voice of an angel (his cover of "When Doves Cry" is unfathomably magical, but, although featured in the film, it is technically only found on the second volume of the soundtrack along with the instrumentals). Kym Mazelle's cover of Candi Stanton's "Young Hearts Run Free" is one of the greatest disco/house tunes in my (not so) humble opinion. The pseudo creepy babytalk singing style of Stina Nordenstam that then takes a surprising turn and delves into a very decent and actually not awful sax solo breakdown on "Little Star" is understated wistful longing at its finest. There isn't a bad jam on this album. Don't believe me? Full track listing:

1. "#1 Crush" - Garbage
2. "Local God" - Everclear
3. "Angel" - Gavin Friday
4. "Pretty Piece of Flesh" - One Inch Punch
5. "Kissing You (Love Theme from Romeo + Juliet)" - Des'ree
6. "Whatever (I Had a Dream)" - Butthole Surfers
7. "Lovefool" - The Cardigans
8. "Young Hearts Run Free" - Kym Mazelle
9. "Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)" - Quindon Tarver
10. "To You I Bestow" - Mundy
11. "Talk Show Host" - Radiohead
12. "Little Star" - Stina Nordenstam
13. "You and Me Song" - The Wannadies

Flawless. Watch this if you still have a fence post up your butt:

Whaaaaaaaaaaaat. Give me my sin again indeed.

Don't be no fool when love really don't love you. PREACH.

Later, I'm busy weeping in my room.

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