Table Talk: The Soundtrack

It’s that moment. The moment in the movie where the storyline comes to a peak. And then … cue music … the drama unfolds.

And it’s in that moment, the moment the music plays, that makes everything in that moment a little more climactic. It just gives the moment more.

I love soundtracks. In fact, my love of music developed from soundtracks.

My first encounter with “the soundtrack” was the cassette tape and one lazy summer afternoon. My aunt left her cassette player out in the living room so I jumped at the change to play with. There was a tape already inside and the first song that came blaring out of the speakers was “In the Still of the Night.” At the song’s end, the automatic rewind triggered and more songs kept playing.

I realized that there were different artists and there didn’t seem to be a theme or anything to the songs playing. Curious, I stopped the tape, popped the eject, and took a look at the cassette. It said “Dirty Dancing–Original Soundtrack.” When I asked my aunt about the tape, she mentioned that it was songs from the movie Dirty Dancing. I remember thinking about that–a tape filled with music from a movie. It was intriguing. From that moment on, I paid attention to sounds and music in the movies I watched. I remember waiting for the end credits to scroll so I could see the titles of the songs and who sang them. I paid more attention if I heard a song I loved. And when I got older and started making my own money, I would buy soundtracks (by then CDs had replaced cassettes) and relive the movie while listening to the album.

And I think that’s what I love most about soundtracks. They take you to that one scene where the where the villain is introduced, where the hero reflects on the day he had, where the guy finally gets the girl. The music encompasses all the feels you had at watching that scene and slams you back no matter where you are, even if it’s for a brief moment.

Tell me you don’t have a grin on your face, or give an eye roll, whenever you hear “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life (Dirty Dancing)” or freak out just a little when you hear “Cry Little Sister (The Lost Boys)” (I can’t listen to at night. I’ll sleep with nightmares. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie, but yeah. I’d rather keep it out of my head when I’m about to sleep).

Composer Howard Shore, an award winner for The Lord of the Rings music score had this to say about music in movies:

“I like to work around the edges and try to give the film another level of subtext, which is what music can do. I love painting around the corners of the frames and staying out of the middles. What you want to do is bring the audience right in the scene with the characters, so they’re living and breathing as part of the film.”[1]

Music is the glue that binds the moment. It’s the best part of movie magic because it is so subtle. You don’t know you are in that moment until the moment is gone and that’s because the music lead you there.


Reference
1. Hutchinson, Lydia. The Big Score: A Timeline of Music. 2012.
2. Gerard de Marigny.

A few words on music … and the theatre

I love all things entertainment. Anything that helps people pass the time and helps them to enjoy themselves. This includes things like books, television, movies, theatre, and music. Yes, music.

Growing up, music was a huge part of my life. Both of my parents would play their favorite tunes whenever we were in the car. They would also pop our children tapes so my brothers and I could sing “we all live in a yellow submarine” or every child’s favorite “John Jacob Jingle Himer Smith.” You know the ones I mean. Not only did my parents play their favorite songs, they sang them as well, which encouraged us kids to sing as well. Whether we were good at singing was another matter, but we were taught to enjoy the music. And my father would play his guitar and sing some of the local songs.

So, music was a huge part of my life.

But you haven’t written much about music! Or theatre for that matter.

The trouble I’m having with reviewing music is I don’t really know how to comment on music. With books and film, you can comment on plot lines and/or acting and graphics. With music, I suppose you could break down whether the notes are conjunct or disjunct. I also suppose you could mention the mood or how it makes you feel. I’m not one to really enjoy lyrics, but I suppose I could make an effort to see whether or not a song makes lyrical sense. One of my favorite things about paying attention to lyrics, is they tell a story. It’s whether or not I can make sense of that story. Often times I find myself looking up the lyrics to a song to see if I can figure out what the artist is talking about and then I explore different perspectives those lyrics could talk about, like maybe they’re not taking about loosing their spouse, but maybe a child.

Another challenge I have about reviewing music and/or songs, is that I feel inadequate since it’s been a while since I’ve played in the school band. Yeppers. You’re looking (well, reading, but you know what I mean) at the 1st chair of the Flute section. Don’t you laugh! (general populace who may be laughing) Flutes may not be as cool as the saxophone or drums, but they have merit! But, I have to admit, my first choice was the clarinet. In middle school, I’m pretty sure my classmates didn’t think about their future with instruments, but there was a whole slew of classmates who wanted to play the clarinet. We had over ten, I want to say about fifteen, clarinet players. I don’t know their reasons for choosing the clarinet, but I knew mine. I wanted to learn it for their flexibility across different genres of music. Don’t ask me how I knew that at the age of thirteen. I probably looked it up or something. But the clarinet appealed to me because even though this would be for a school band, clarinets could also be played in jazz music. And I though jazz was the coolest thing as a thirteen year old. My reason was, saxophones were too big for me and too popular. I didn’t really want to play the trumpet or the trombone. So, as far as jazz went, clarinets were it.

But my band teacher convinced me to switch to the flute, if only because the sheer numbers of clarinet players she had and that the flute section had only two players. So, for the sake of music diversity for the middle school band, off I went to join the two flute players.

We didn’t have an orchestra, so strings were out and therefore the piano or the violin. If we did have strings, I would have jumped on the violin bandwagon. That instrument has always fascinated me. And while I always thought I loved the piano, my mom said I was never interested in piano lessons. She wanted to sign me up, but I told her no. What was I thinking?! Anyway.

So, music is hard for me to write about … (of course I say this 600 words later) but I suppose I should give it another shot. After all, I did write these posts about it:

Music 411: Another form of entertainment

Music 411: Weekly Top 10

Music 411: 04/21/14 – Weekly Top 10

Music 411: Weekly Top 10 Playlist, 04/28/14

Music 411: Beyond by William Joseph

Perhaps I should get back on that bandwagon.

And about theatre, I may have mentioned it before but there isn’t much theatre where I live. There are plays and such, but I’m not critiquing children. The Hawaiian Children’s Theatre is the one who usually puts out the plays we do get to see here and well, they always do a good job. But, perhaps I can find some things to do regarding theatre.

We shall see. I have to perfect what I have before I can think of other stuff to add, but it’s in the works.

Wise Words: Music makes memories …

Today, out of the blue, I thought of a music album I used to listen to over and over again. There I was, listening to my Christmas playlist, driving in the thick of traffic (okay, it wasn’t that bad, but that isn’t as dramatic as “the thick of …” 😉 ), when I started to think of a song I haven’t heard in years. It was so random! Right in the middle of Michael Buble wishing me a merry little Christmas.

I decided to see if I could find the album. I did! I couldn’t believe it. I decided to listen to it on the way home. It was the most fun I had driving home this week. I couldn’t believe I still knew most of the lyrics to most of the songs! And I ended up smiling all thirty minutes home because I could remember certain things I did while listening to a particular song. Like, during one song, I remember I brought my CD player to school so I could listen to CDs before class started. And during another, I remember rehearsing my high school senior class song and goofing off most of the practice with friends. I remembered soccer practices, sleepovers, and Friday nights at the local movie theatre just to pass the time away. Little memories like that came to mind while I listened to this album.

Music …

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… is amazing. It really is.

Music 411: Beyond by William Joseph

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What an album!

I first heard William Joseph on my Piano Guys Pandora Station. It was his song Beyond and of course I clicked on the thumbs up! I loved that it has a haunting sound to it. When I hear it I picture a cloudy day, maybe some rain and a mist. It’s beautiful.

The second song I heard was Once A Love. A bit more sunshine than Beyond but still leaves that haunting sound. I don’t know if haunting is the right word. Just … memorable.

It was then I had to preview the rest of his album. It’s the first time I’ve heard of William Joseph and I hope to purchase his album soon. It’s a lovely compilation. He’s such a good artist. His melodies leave a lasting impression. If you’re a concert music aficionado like I am, you definitely need to add this to your collection.

Favorite Track
I like Apasionada, but I also enjoy Kashmir featuring Lucia Micarelli.

Music 411: Weekly Top 10 Playlist, 04/28/14

Last week I showcased the Josh Vetti album, Best of Both Worlds, as my top 10. I wasn’t disappointed and I think Empire State of Mind is still in the running.

Here’s this week’s playlist:

  1. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Jersey Boys: Original Broadway Cast Recording – I know there are better versions of this song, but I enjoy this version too.
  2. Ces Soirees-La – Jersey Boys: Original Broadway Cast Recording – Because how cool is it to hear “Oh What a Night” in french!
  3. Silhouettes – The Rays
  4. Knock Three Times – Tony Orlando & Dawn – Darned that catchy beat. I need to find an instrumental version of this somewhere.
  5. Our Song – Matchbox 20 – The will never get old! 
  6. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga  –  Lol, this has to go on one of those guilty pleasure lists. Anyway, I wouldn’t mind finding a good instrumental version of this song too.
  7. Poker Face – Lady Gaga – Loved it even more after Percy Jackson: Lightening Theif, lol.
  8. She’s So Mean – Matchbox 20 – I like the music video on this one and it’s one of those songs that I love the lyrics too.
  9. In the Still of the Night – The Five Satins – Yep, still on my list, because … well, it’s fun. 
  10. Save the Last Dance for Me – Michael Buble – Love the music video, and for you Eureka fans, Jo is in a dress AND she’s dancing!

 

Music 411: 04/21/14 – Weekly Top 10

This week on my playlist is the entire Josh Vetti, Best of Both World Album!

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I went ahead and purchased it on iTunes with my “play” money. Consider it a treat to myself, but I couldn’t resist it. After hearing it on Pandora about a month ago, I immediately added it to my iTunes wishlist.

He’s a great violinist and I’m glad to have come across his music. I have yet to pick a “favorite” off the album, but Empire State of Mind is in the running so far.

Next buy I look forward to is Lindsey Stirling …

Happy Monday!