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Here in Torontopia, we’re smack dab in the middle of the epic “Toronto International Film Festival,” the festival for film lovers that attracts celebs and industry high-rollers from around the globe. Now personally, I haven’t really attended much in terms of the festival, except for a couple press events and interviews with directors, etc., but I am deep into film and keep an eye on what gets buzz and catch it later on in the year. So to commemorate the fest, this week’s edition of “Put Yr Heart Into It” is a collection of my favourite songs from soundtracks. Just a warning to you young ones, this is very 90s heavy, and isn’t so much about “soundtrack” as it is “songs.” These are songs that when I hear I immediately think of the movie they are from, and more or less (I’m looking at you “Once”) rock.
1. “Eye” by the Smashing Pumpkins from “Lost Highway” (1997)
I’m probably of the few people that I know that even watched and enjoyed “Lost Highway” (and no, it doesn’t really make sense to me either). With that said, the soundtrack was amazing… I could have picked NIN easily, but this was the song that I couldn’t resist to crank up when I caught it on the radio. I think this song in particular sparked my own interest in drum machines and trying to combine that with usual “rock” sounds.
2. “Degenerated” by The Lone Rangers from “Airheads” (1994)
This is the only “fake band” on the playlist this week, and yes, those are the vocals of Brendan Fraser on the hit single at the center of his rock movie, “Airheads,” when a rock trio holds the crew of a radio station hostage with fake guns. I believe the White Zombie guitarist provides the solos… I should also mention the song is originally by Reagan Youth. And again, I could have picked many songs from this soundtrack, like the collab between Ice-T and Motorhead. (On that note, I didn’t pick anything from “Wayne’s World,” which takes place musically within the same Airheads world. But hey, I’m not Jared and I don’t need to have four Queen songs in my podcast. Just kidding Jared!)
3. “State of Love and Trust” by Pearl Jam from “Singles” (1992)
This one is for the Pearl Jam nerds… you know why this song is important, and I won’t bore the rest of you with minor trivia. But heres a little anyways: “Singles” was set in the heady early days of grunge in Seattle, and featured lots of grunge royalty in minor cameo appearances. Personally, I’m a Soundgarden man, and I loved Chris Cornell’s weird psycho character. And furthermore, the members of Pearl Jam play “Citizen Dick,” Matt Dillon’s band in the movie… this was filmed when the band was still known as Mookie Blaylock.
4. “Soul to Squeeze” by Red Hot Chili Peppers from “Coneheads” (1993)
People forget that this was originally from SNL-based movie, but there it is. It did appear as the B-side to “Under the Bridge,” but became a bonafide hit after the soundtrack. The video did feature a reference to the Coneheads, but the band reportedly nixed the idea of having scenes from the movie put in the clip. The video was also filmed after John Frusciante left the band. The Chili Peppers at one point were on everybody’s soundtracks… just off the top of my head, they were also on the “Wayne’s World” soundtrack and the “Beavis and Butthead” soundtrack with “Love Rollercoaster.”
5. “A Girl Like You” by Edwyn Collins from “Empire Records” (1995)
Another old one… I remember it being very sinister, with that crazy, fuzzy guitar solo. I don’t remember how it fit in exactly with the movie, and maybe I should have picked the Gin Blossoms from the album, but let’s face it, this scuzzy Iggy Pop tribute song still rocks.
6. “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” by Urge Overkill from “Pulp Fiction” (1994)
I bet you can already imagine Uma Thurman in her black wig, dancing around, right? Tarantino, master of the movie soundtrack, right?
7. “Goin’ to Acapulco” by Calexico & Jim James from “I’m Not There” (2007)
This is probably the only “new” song in the playlist, but I think it’s only because I’m drawing songs from memory here, or songs that have met the test of time. I saw the quasi-bio pic “I’m Not There” last October, and yeah, it’s a pretty difficult movie made for people who know their Bob Dylan history, and yeah, the soundtrack has lots of amazing covers, but this track was actually in the movie, and would actually make for a great “video” on it’s own. It’s from the Richard Gere movement in the moment, with the “in hiding” Bob Dylan character, watching the band perform this during some kind of rural carnival. I could have also picked either one of Christian Bale’s performances from the film, because both were outstanding… but this song is the best representation of the flick: slow, haunting, and heartfelt.
8. “Trees Lounge” by Hayden from “Trees Lounge” (1996)
Okay, I haven’t seen this movie, but I’ve seen the video countless times, which features a lot of the movie, so that counts right? Regardless, this song encapsulates the spirit of getting blasted by yourself at your local watering hole. I would also say this is a “top five” Hayden track, easily. This guy needs to learn how to rock again.
9. “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova from “Once” (2006)
So I didn’t particularly like “Once,” and I had to watch it with the subtitles on because I couldn’t understand what anybody was saying. It’s safe to say this made the awfulness of the lyrics even worse, but distracted from Glen’s often-used Dave Matthews impersonation (the falsetto, the screaming). But this song also won an Oscar, and shows exactly why music needs to be incorporated into film these days.
10. “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins and Giorgio Moroder from “Top Gun” (1986)
I know you’ve probably heard this song a million times, but don’t forget, this is Giorgio Moroder’s biggest mainstream hit… he’s an eccentric electronic artist from the 80s, and is a cult hero to many. Supposedly Bryan Adams was supposed to sing this track, and it would have been amazing. I remember one Halloween when two friends dressed up as Iceman and Goose, and wandered around Kingston in a cardboard jet plane, blasting this song on repeat on a little ghettoblaster.
11. “To Live and Die in L.A.” by Wang Chung from “To Live and Die in L.A.” (1985)
One of my “new favourite” movies, “To Live and Die” is a very dark Raymond Chandler style detective noir starring William Petersen (Grissom from CSI). It’s cheesy, intense and features a great soundtrack by 80s new wavers Wang Chung. (Check out my list of movies to watch before you die here).
12. “I Would Die 4 U” by Prince from “Purple Rain” (1984)
Soundtrack perfection? “Purple Rain” is thy name. Every song is perfect… slickly produced, amazing songwriting, and heartfelt performances from the paisley one. Let’s all do the hand movements together.
13. “Bang Bang” by Nancy Sinatra from “Kill Bill, Vol. 1″ (2003)
I really couldn’t leave you with a high, happy song like “I Would Die 4 U” could I? Nope! Instead I’ll return to another masterful Tarantino pick which scored the opening to “Kill Bill.” In my mind, this is what every Tarantino movie sounds like. Got to love that tremelo on the guitar, too.