Saturday 19 March 2011

Desert Island CD Blogathon: 12 Tracks From Soundtracks

I’ve blogged briefly on favourite movie music before but couldn’t resist Castor Troy's invitation to participate in the Desert Island CD Blogathon. The concept: you are stranded on a desert island with only one CD (and a CD player etc...). What are 12 tracks that you would want to have with you? The one requirement is that each track comes from a movie soundtrack... Choosing just 12 favourite songs or instrumental pieces is both a delightful and a daunting task so this list has been compiled, in truth, without too much cogitation: these are simply the tracks that came to mind first. Some songs here are ones that I'd heard before seeing the film in question; others I learned about because of the movie, and are forever associated with it. Click on the titles/artist names to link to the songs.

1. "A Night In" by Tindersticks  - Intimacy (Chereau, 2001)
If one thing’s for sure, it’s that French filmmakers love them some Tindersticks. Claire Denis’s collaborations with the band are the most well known, but since Denis is already represented on this list twice, I’ve opted instead for the band’s stunning “A Night In” as featured over images of the slumbering Mark Rylance in the wonderfully portentous opening credit sequence to Patrice Chereau’s Intimacy.

2. "Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen - Philadelphia (Demme, 1993)
Demme’s use of music across his work has been superb, and you could stick a pin in the Philadelphia soundtrack and find a song I love. But I have to go with the movie's most famous track, a mournful plea for brotherhood that's become one of my all-time favourite Springsteen songs. It accompanies another of my all-time favourite credit sequences too.

3. “Cambodia” by Kim Wilde - Dans Paris (Honore, 2006)
A nostalgic encounter with Kim Wilde’s “Cambodia” starts to lure Romain Duris out of the break-up blues. What a great pop song, and few scenes convey our solitary bedroom music moments quite like this one.

4. "Against the Wind" by Bob Seger - Forrest Gump (Zemeckis, 1994)
Seger was never cool but who cares? I’m always, always moved by “Against the Wind.” The trajectory of a life in three verses. Gorgeous and timeless.

5. "Momentum" by Aimee Mann - Magnolia (Anderson, 1999)
Mann's songs are such an integral part of the experience of Magnolia that it's hard to pick favourites, but the awesome "Momentum" just takes it for me.

6. "Ne Me Quitte Pas" by Maysa Mataraso  - Law of Desire (Almodovar, 1986)
"How can I explain why seeing the little girl in Law of Desire singing 'Ne Me Quitte Pas' in playback was for me so heart-rending?" wonders Frederic Strauss. How indeed. The mystery and magic of Almodovar at his best; a classic piece of Brel and a great version by Ms. Mataraso.

7. "Where Is My Mind?" by Pixies  - Fight Club (Fincher, 1999) 

8. "Sweetness" by Yes - Buffalo ‘66 (Gallo, 1998)
King Crimson's "Moonchild" in the bowling alley sequence cuts it close but I can never resist this wonderful Yes song, used at Buffalo '66 's redemptive close.   

9. "The Rhythm of the Night" by Corona - Beau Travail (Denis, 1999)
After seeing Beau Travail it’s pretty much impossible to hear "The Rhythm of the Night" without Denis Lavant's amazing display at the end of the movie coming to mind. A while on a desert island should give me time to perfect some of those moves... Also nicely used in Ozon’s Sitcom (1998).

10. "Dan" by Michael Nyman - Wonderland (Winterbottom, 1999)
Each of Wonderland's characters gets a theme of their own. "Dan" is the one that's most indelibly associated with the movie for me.

11. "Siren" by Tori Amos - Great Expectations (Cuaron, 1998)
Because I probably wouldn’t survive for too long on this desert island without the sound of Tori’s voice and piano-playing for inspiration.

12. "Nightshift" by The Commodores - 35 Shots of Rum (Denis, 2008)
Honestly, I'm not sure that I'd ever heard "Nightshift" before seeing 35 Shots of Rum. Now it's a song that I can't imagine doing without.


  1. The Commodores are pretty awesome. I would certainly miss Tori Amos after awhile too. We're getting a great assortment here!

  2. As a big magnolia fan - and a huge foan of that particular track - it gives me great joy to see "Momentum" on your mix. Nicely done.

  3. Thanks, guys. Enjoyed your lists as well. Fun to do.

  4. hummmmm
    so interesting.... I ONLY liked "Ne Me Quitte Pas" by Maysa Mataraso
    can you believe that?
    yes I guess you would!!!!
    nice to see the blog back!!!!!
    ps may nick ne me quitte pas for my blog....LOVED it

  5. Glad that *one* of the choices pleased you, Mr. Gray! ;)

  6. A good mix of popular and unusual choices, several songs I 've never even heard before, the Tindersticks and Wilde song I like, I have still yet to listen to all.

    I considered Magnolia soundtrack, and Fight club track for my own list, and the great expectations music, is well, great ( :

  7. Well, we definitely share some common ground - I, like many, have Where Is My Mind on my list, and I own the Great Expectations soundtrack and dig that Tori song.

    Against the Wind is a good track, but wouldn't make my list. The rest...either not a fan of or not familiar with (more of the latter), which the links will help with. Eclectic!

  8. Oooh, I dig that Cambodia song...

  9. Thanks, Fletch. Just checked out your list which is excellent. Can't believe I forgot to include anything from Tarantino!!

    And yes, "Cambodia" is truly awesome!