Mixtape | Wicked jams 👻

I don’t know about you guys, but Halloween is my favourite celebration of the year – it really should be a holiday!

It’s a shame London doesn’t celebrate it properly but fortunately not too far, about 4:30hrs by train from us, Edinburgh does an incredible parade of the yearly battle between summer and winter. If you ever get a chance to see it, I HIGHLY recommend it!

img_0016Anyway, Halloween is not just a time to dress up in spooky costumes, scare your friends without guilt (as if I felt guilty any other time of the year!), work on your pumpkin art and stuff your face with chocolate. It’s also a time to binge-watch classics such as Hocus Pocus and The Craft. I mean, it’s also an excellent excuse for a playlist!

Obviously, we’ve got all of those anyone expects in a respectable Halloween mix: Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Ramones, Black Sabbath…even “I Put a Spell On You” (I know, so predictable!) with its million covers makes an appearance and of course we chose the Marilyn Manson version. I mean, only because Spotify doesn’t have the Bette Middler one from Hocus Pocus…now THAT is a true Halloween classic.

weirdos

But anyway, besides covering the pre-requisite and adding half of The Craft soundtrack, we also added a shitload more tracks from, as usual with a playlist like this, a mix of genre but, funnily enough, with a majority of 80s sounds…what happened to the chilling, dark music of the past?! Maybe people should take a break from making wrist-slitting music and get back to the haunting themes.

 

Trivia: iconic “Singles” soundtrack turns 24!

Trivia of the day: 24 years ago today the soundtrack to Singles was released.

Legendary director Cameron Crowe was a long time friend of Pearl Jam‘s manager, Kelly Curtis.
It was around 1990 on the night of Andy Wood‘s (Mother Love Bone) death that, following a gathering at Curtis’ house, Crowe decided to rewrite the old script he had for Singles.

But the “Seattle sound” wasn’t going to be only heard in the soundtrack. During the rewrite, Crowe immersed himself in the grunge music scene spending a lot of time with Pearl Jam & co. for inspiration. The influence was such that the director actually wrote parts for some of them with Jeff, Eddie and Stone featuring as members of the fictitious band Citizen Dick, fronted by Cliff Poncier, played by Matt Dillon (who really was a dick in the movie!)

 
pj20
 Cameron Crowe went on to direct Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary documentary, PJ20. It was out in the cinemas for one night only, if I remember correctly. I’d never seen the cinema so packed as on that 20 Sept 2011.

The value of soundtracks

I’ve been meaning to write about soundtracks for a long time but there’s just so much to consider, I never thought I could do the subject justice, but Synchtank recently shared this Mental Floss article on Facebook on how important soundtracks are for movies that it inspired me to share a few other thoughts about it.

Last month I went to a special preview of Richard Linklater‘s latest movie “Everybody Wants Some” followed by a Q&A with the man himself at Brixton’s Ritzy and somebody asked IMG_1777him about soundtracks and how he goes about putting them together.

He talked about how the one for this movie in particular was made of mainly the songs he used to listen to when in college in the 80s – where and when the movie takes place – and that they usually start with about 200 tracks, but since licensing is both expensive and sometimes not approved, that helps the team narrow it down.

The funny thing was when he talked about the need to change a song because the one originally picked is too above the budget

“You can’t get Michael Jackson, so you get Jermaine Jackson!”

Picking a song for a scene, whether it’s a movie, TV show or even an ad, is as important as casting the right actor. A song is paramount to conveying a certain message or emotion to the audience and it is often more memorable than anything else in the video.

Another gem from Synchtank was this episode of their SynchStories podcast I listened to a few months ago where they interviewed music supervisor Thomas Golubič (Breaking Bad).

“Many people who tried to get into music supervision but don’t quite make it is because they are ultimately champions of music but not of storytelling”

He reveals the process of understanding a character/story and finding and picking the right tracks to match them:

“if you can really think in terms of the story and the characters and get a sense of what is really truthful to those characters…as you get to know them [characters], you hope that you can kind of navigate the truth of who they are with music”

There’s a lot more to it and I highly recommend you actually listen to the whole interview if you’re interested in the subject.

From an audience point of view, not only it helps us connect with a scene, a character, a storyline, but it often introduces us to new music we might otherwise never hear about. How many artists have you discovered through soundtracks? I don’t know about you, but my list is pretty endless.

Dawson’s Creek, The Craft, Romeo + Juliet, Cruel Intentiotheocns (can you listen to Bittersweet Symphony and NOT picture Reese Witherspoon driving away?), The OC and its gazillion Mixes, Gossip Girl. These are just a few of the most popular soundtracks that had some of its songs be as important as the actors playing the scene they soundtracked.

Recently a dear teenage human in my life made me watch Pretty Little Liars (I tell ya, getting hooked on a show that is already going to season 7 is a big mistake if you had any kind of life plan, even if it’s just showering and going for a Sunday brunch!). As the episodes went on, I realised my constant Shazam‘ing was getting in the way of helping the girls find out who pll-introA was (sorry, you’ve got to watch it to get this one), so I went on good ol’ Spotify and quickly found a playlist with pretty much all of the songs featured in the show. That’s  two of my favourite things in the world – soundtracks AND playlists – coming together and beautifully making life sweeter. But I’ll leave the playlist subject for another day as it deserves a whole other long post of its own.

For the moment I’ll leave you with ABC‘s PLL soundtrack, which also inspired this post but I’ll try to put an “OST” playlist together at some point as there are many other shows and movies also deserving of the spotlight.

More on soundtracks:

Aaaaand…more playlists!

Slowly I’ve been updating this website with more music news, soundtracks and the latest pop culture tips (I’ve been meaning to talk about the Another Round podcast for 2 months now!) but I’ve got a Master thesis to write so it’ll take some time.

However, this whole weekly playlist thing I’ve been doing for work has got me really pumped and reminded me of this project I did for Far Out Recordings a few years ago when the BBC broadcasted the travel show “Brazil with Michael Palin”.

It was a 4-episode series where Michael travelled around Brazil and talked about a particular region each episode and, the morning after every show, I wrote about the music scene of said region and made a playlist with the songs that featured on the previous night’s episode and added others by artists from the same area.

You can now read all full texts and check out the playlists right here!

It was one of my favourite things to do during my time at Far Out, we got amazing feedback at the time and even The Telegraph’s Rob Fitzpatrick retweet one of our texts saying something along the lines of “loving it!” – it made my day!

Little boxes on the hillside…Weeds

This is a great example of sync done right.

It’s funny/sad how a song from the 60s is still so accurate today in 2014. Two.Thousand.FOURTEEN. And the video to which it was synched was not only a perfect reflection of life (at least in the Western world!), but also did a pristine job in representing life in the fictional town of Agrestic. At least in the first few episodes when everyone’s madness hadn’t yet been uncovered…

The last few seasons were kind of stupid, especially that whole Mexican plot. “Weeds” went from taking the piss out of the status quo to focusing on Nancy’s bad decisions – she wasn’t even the cool, smart, witty Nancy from the beginning anymore.

*FUN FACT: Shane (Alexander Gould), that cute little boy who grew up to *SPOILER ALERT* defend his mother’s honour at any price, was also the voice of Nemo in Finding Nemo.