My daytime gig involves opening a lot of beer bottles and making complex cocktails like bourbon gingers and vodka tonics. Unless there is a sportsball thing folks are wanting to watch, I usually have the TVs turned to a movie channel of some variety. The music that plays in the bar usually runs the gamut from Redbone's "Come And Get Your Love" to Childish Gambino's "Redbone" to Kavinsky's "Nightcall" to Flanagan and Allen's "Run Rabbit Run." Along with many other songs, these are usually mixed together with little to no silence between tracks. The tie that binds these songs are movies. From Guardians Of The Galaxy to Drive to Get Out, these songs have played an intricate part in the films that utilized them, serving as introductions to character or plot. I can't hear one without thinking of Starlord dancing and singing into a spacerat. I always think of Driver coolly driving around town while pink cursive credits rolled when I hear another song. I'll always remember the threat of man in a knight helmet and the immediate comfort of young love thanks to two stylistically different songs from the same film.
Obviously, my love of movies has infected my taste in music as well. I get a weird nerd kick when I hear a patron say to another, "You know what? This song reminds me of that scene in ( )."
Over the years, I started making notes of songs I love based solely off my memory of the film that utilized it. It's become a very long list. Here are but five of them:
The Pixies, "Where Is My Mind"
What if you spent a large chunk of your time as a person traveling around meeting single serving friends in the midst of it all? What if one of those single serving friends turned out to be just what you needed in life to make yourself a whole you? What if your new not-buddy wanted you to burn it all down? You may question their/your sanity. You may even ask, "Where is my mind?" Even as you watch it all collapse around you, you can be secure in the knowledge your possibly imaginary pal passed on to you: Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.
Strange Behavior (a.k.a. Dead Kids)Lou Christie, "Lightnin' Strikes"
Of the five songs listed, this one is likely the most arcane thanks to the movie and the song itself. In 1966, Christie, a singer-songwriter that performed ditties with a Four Seasons' leaning, released this peppy number featuring his trademark falsetto complemented with a catchy chorus. In the 1981 sci-fi horror film, there is your typical teenage costume party that's going on while a killer is on the loose. As the scene begins, our protagonist and a female friend engage in friendly 1981 banter then, because this is a teenage costume party, the kids dance to the music playing on the stereo. The next minute we're treated to a fun little dance sequence that is equal parts fun and creepy, thanks in particular to one partygoer's expressionless Pippi Longstocking mask.
Steeler's Wheel, "Stuck In The Middle With You"
Collectively a whole generation can't hear Steeler's Wheel's "Stuck In The Middle With You" without thinking of a pop culture spewing, lazily dancing gangster slicing off some poor soul's ear. I know I can't. I'm sure it was just a 1972 song by a Scottish folk/rock band, led by Gerry Rafferty, that's stonily about the music industry but all I see is Michael Madsen's Mr. Blonde dancing with a razor in hand.
Silence Of The Lambs / Clerks II
Q Lazzurus, "Goodbye Horses"
- View Askew Productions
- "Clerks II"
Whenever I play this song at work, a random dude will, for good reason, touch his nipple area. For better or worse, this is the song to tuck to. Film enthusiasts think of Ted Levin's Buffalo Bill dancing while stashing his goodies between his legs. Kevin Smith fans think of Jay doing his take on it while standing in the Mooby's parking lot. Either way white males break the fourth wall to ask, "Would you fuck me? I'd fuck me."
Making Time, "The Creation"
When people think of the ever-so motivated Max Fischer in Wes Anderson's film, this song seems to come to mind thanks to its use in a montage of all of the extracurricular activities he takes part in. Thanks to The Creation's debut single, their rollicking '60s Brit stylings make the youngster who: saved Latin, served as Yankee Review editor-in-chief, represented Russia in the model UN, was VP of the Stamp & Coin Club, was debate team captain, lacrosse team manager, Calligraphy Club president, founded The Astronomy Society, was captain of the fencing team, took part in the track & field J. V. decathlon, was 2nd Chorale choirmaster, was a yellow belt in the Kung Fu Club, founded a Trap & Skeet Club, The Bombardment Society, the Backgammon Society, the Trap & Skeet Club as well as the Yankee Racers, was president of The French Club, The Rushmore Beekeepers, and The Calligraphy Club, and director of the Max Fischer Players — sound like a rebel in his own mind.