Sunday, 19 February 2017

Movie soundtracks I love, part 1

I was recently at a meeting in Rome where the partner wanted The Godfather theme played at every break. An interesting choice I think we can all agree. Anyway, it got me thinking about my favourite movie themes. By this, I mean soundtracks, not songs written for movies like The Time Of My Life or My Heart Will Go On.

Let's hit it! Hans Zimmer is a genius and I absolutely adore his score for Thelma and Louise. Listening to this makes me think of the desert. I love it when it plays at the beginning of the film and the camera pans over the famous road to Monument Valley. I also love it at the end when they drive into the godamned Grand Canyon!



I am not a big fan of Gladiator. However, when we weren't playing The Godfather theme at the aforementioned meeting, we were playing this. Look, we were in Rome, ok? And I had forgotten how good it is. So good, it made me wonder if I should rewatch the film. Maybe I'd like it better now. That's the power of a great soundtrack.



I have always adored the South American Getaway music from Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. All the music in this is wonderful because of Burt Bacharach but this is a masterpiece.



I make no apologies for my Titanic love. I bought the soundtrack at the time and still listen to it. I will never forget going to the cinema to see this and this music played and I thought, "I am going to love this film." How right I was.  I love the heart of this film and the music plays a massive part of that. It's very moving. This is one of my favourite pieces. RIP James Horner.



There is no 80s kid alive who doesn't love ET and the soundtrack when they fly on the bikes. I well up just thinking about it. It makes me think nothing bad can happen. John Williams is derivative but who cares when it's this good?



At this point, others would include Star Wars. Regular readers will know I am not a Star Wars nerd. I like it well enough but I don't lose my mind about it. Yes, the soundtrack is good but this is my list so go create your own and include Star Wars. OK?

Moving on to Gone With The Wind. The whole soundtrack is a work of utter genius. You can listen to it all on YouTube and I just spent 20 minutes listening to my favourite scenes and grinning like a fool. I have to include the opening credits here. Listening to them makes me want to watch the whole film. Good work Max Steiner.


OK, that's enough for now. I'll be back with part two. Let me know in the comments what soundtracks you love.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

This Is Us


Let's move on from people dying shall we? Here is a lovely new TV series that I highly recommend. If you liked Parenthood (and if you didn't, why? you weirdo!) then I think you'll like This Is Us. It stars Jess from Gilmore Girls (yay!) and Mandy Moore. Both of whom are excellent. It's about triplets and their lives and it's wonderful. It's brilliantly written and acted, it's delightfully touching and perfect viewing to balm a worried soul.

The world needs TV like this right now and it's perfect for cold January nights. Snuggle down and watch it and shut the door on the Trump world happening for 40 minutes. It will be there waiting for you when you're done.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

RIP Carrie Fisher


I have no words left. I certainly can't add any new words to the zillions the internet has written about Carrie's demise. I promise I am not going to talk about the damn gold bikini.

I am not a Star Wars fanatic. I like the first one (and I mean the first one made, I can't care enough to get into naming conventions) well enough. But anyone with a passing interest in the Star Wars films can see that Princess Leia is what makes it zing. Carrie's performance is punchy and fun and she has proper chemistry with the gorgeous Harrison Ford (and now we know why, eh Carrie?)

The thing about Carrie Fisher is she made everything better. When Harry Met Sally would still have been a great film regardless but Carrie makes it wonderful. When she is on the screen, you don't watch anyone else. She was so funny, she was a feminist, she will be missed deeply by anyone who appreciates honest and hilarious women. My heart is heavy.

Then in news that they couldn't make up, Debbie Reynolds followed her up to showbiz heaven two days later.


At 84, she was going to go sooner rather than later but really? REALLY 2016? I've only seen Debbie in one film but what a film it is. Singin' In The Rain is the blueprint of all Hollywood musicals and never fails to cheer me up. Debbie is a ray of sunshine in it.

Farewell to two dames we'll never see the likes of again. Bye bye 2016, don't let the door hit you on your way out you bastard.



Wednesday, 28 December 2016

George Michael


Well, I went too early with my RIP post didn't I? Readers, I am ok. I appreciate the tweets, the texts, the emails and the general concern for my welfare regarding George's death. This one hurt more than any others this year and there has been an outpouring of grief at Teen Towers.

George sang like the god he is and wrote effortless pop and soul. I always hoped he could overcome his monumental writers block and stage a massive comeback but alas, it wasn't to be. He leaves us with songs that I will never not listen to. Songs that soundtrack my life and make me happy.

He didn't make many albums but whittling down my top 10 George songs has been quite the task let me tell you. To do this, I have listened to Wham and George non-stop for 24 hours. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

In reverse order:

I'm Your Man
I didn't love this when it came out but I now appreciate it for the pure pop it is.

Jesus To A Child
This is simply beautiful. You can hear the pain in his voice.

Fast Love
I loved this from the moment I heard it and I still do.

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day. Nobody else wrote pop like this. A video of sheer joy.

Wham Rap
Fantastic. Enjoy what you do.

Club Tropicana
This song and video sums up the 80s.

Father Figure
I still maintain this is a bit breathy but it showcases George's voice. It's the song that made me cry on Boxing Day when it came on the radio.

Last Christmas
Come on. A list without Last Christmas is unthinkable.

Everything She Wants
The finest single ever released was the double A side of Last Christmas/Everything She Wants. George did lovelorn lyrics with such heart.

Young Guns
I want this played at my funeral and I want the entire congregation to join in the rap. Don't bother turning up if you're not prepared to do this. I shall be watching.

Leaving out Freedom 90 (cleverest lyrics he wrote) and Careless Whisper (another video that sums up the 80s) is a wrench. I am not counting the duets because that's all just too difficult and I am feeling fragile.

He may have been quiet lately, his best songs may have been behind him but the world is a much dimmer place for me with no George. I am somewhat comforted by the amount of coverage his death received. It's nice to know others loved him as much as me.  I really do mean it when I say RIP George and thank you for the magic.


Monday, 19 December 2016

RIP 2016

It's with a heavy heart and a strong cup of coffee that I approach this blog post. Firstly, apologies for my leave of absence. I've not been inspired by popular culture much this year and who can blame me? The year kicked off with the devastating news about David Bowie and didn't seem to stop with the blows.

I am not going to list everyone who died this year because I don't have the whole day. I am editing it to the list of people who meant something to me.

Bowie. Obviously.


Glenn Frey. Thanks for the roadtrips soundtrack Glenn.


Prince. Prince was my proper kick in the gut of the year. Too young, too much talent and he has soundtracked much of my life.


Alan Rickman. Forget Snape and those godawful Potter films and go watch Die Hard and Truly, Madly, Deeply.


Terry Wogan. Radio 2, Eurovision, Blankety Blank, Children in Need (umm, actually I never watch that), Wogan chat show of the 80s. Terry Wogan was a complete legend and so utterly British (I know he was Irish). Hard for people outside of the country to understand the sadness that his death brought to me.


While we're in the childhood nostalgia phase, Paul Daniels. I used to absolutely love his show and remember being taken to see him live. Beside myself I was. He was funny and a great magician.


Ronnie Corbett. The Two Ronnies. They simply don't make them like that anymore.


Caroline Aherne. The Royle Family was a work of genius. Again, far too young.


Gene Wilder. What a lovely man and hilariously funny. I'll never forget watching Silver Streak as a kid.


Leonard Cohen. I didn't think he'd ever die somehow. I hope he forgave all those wannabes who ruined his song.


Finally, as of today, Zsa Zsa Gabor. She made it to 99! Great name, proper star, nine marriages. Legend.


Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Way We Were and Barbra's costumes

The Way We Were is on Netflix. Happy, happy, happy days. It's actually a bit of a mess of a film but you get two hours of Robert Redford at his finest and the title song and Barbra being Barbra. All of which is enough for me.

I rewatched it this week and was bowled over by how perfect Katie's clothes are in this. For someone who is meant to be a communist, she sure cares about her hair, her nails and what she wears. I'm not saying communists can't care about how they look and I know this is just a film but Barbra clearly said she wasn't doing this unless they glammed her up.







There is a scene where she plays beach volleyball in a silky looking floor length jumpsuit! Respect.

I don't think there is a woman who looks as good as Barbra does with her hair up. In this scene in the Malibu beach house she looks gorgeous.


You could watch the entire film with the sound off and just soak up the costumes, the cars, the beautiful locations and Robert. But then you wouldn't be able to hum along with Barbra and that would be a waste.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Frankie Goes To Hollywood


I am not sure any group quite sums up the 80s like Frankie. Recently I have rediscovered the masterpiece that is Welcome To The Pleasuredome. Have you listened to this lately? It sounds fresh as a daisy and is still wonderful. I've become a bit obsessed with it having not listened to it for about 30 years, I can't stop listening to it.

Trevor Horn was a genius. The production on this is so good, the songs transition beautifully and when the introduction to Welcome To The Pleasuredome starts, it transports me back to 1984. I think that's the best track on the album but who doesn't love Relax? That song could be released now and would be a massive hit. There's also a lovely cover of Do You Know The Way To San Jose? Holly Johnson had a great voice. I like Two Tribes but it's not my top Frankie song. What strikes me listening to it again is how well put together it is, it's a proper album designed to listen in one go rather than lift the singles out.  Even Teenboy agrees on the genius of Frankie.

They had such a stunning debut and then it all fell apart so quickly. They burned bright and faded fast but this is a wonderful album and I recommend you all listen to it again and dig out your Frankie says relax t-shirts.

Here's the best song.

Friday, 8 July 2016

My love for Will Smith


I love Will Smith's musical output. I don't know why he kept on with the acting (not that I have a particular problem with his acting) but I adore DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.

I consider Boom! Shake The Room to be a masterpiece. Honestly, is there any song finer to jump around to?



I've already discussed Summertime which I also adore.

And then there is Miami. The song I insisted on us playing as we drove into Miami on our holiday in 2008. TeenBoy nearly threw me out on the highway.


Last weekend I saw a friend I've not seen properly for years. It was apparent to me that we are soulmates when at midnight, rather inebriated, we danced around to Boom! Shake The Room and she knew every line of the rap.

That is what I call a friend for life.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Adele


I've never been to Glastonbury and have no desire to spend four days in mud. I watch it and I think, "don't you people realise that it's all on TV and accessible from your clean, dry, warm sofa without all those other people around you?"

This year was different. For a start the country is in despair post Brexit and it rained and rained. We all needed cheering up and there, in a field in Somerset, the stars did their best to cheer us up. I found myself glued to Glasto this year. Normally I watch the Legends act and that's that. This year I tuned into Adele and wow. I've never really got Adele before. The songs are a bit samey and I'd rather listen to Streisand. To be honest, I'd always rather listen to Streisand.

But can the lady sing or what? I found myself spellbound as she belted out her songs note perfect and with such power. She's properly talented. Why did none of you inform me of this? I know I've been quiet on here of late but you know, there are ways to let me know.

Also, she's funny. Sweary, proper funny. The bit when she said someone in the crowd looked like Brian Harvey had me laughing for about five minutes. To connect with the crowd when there's just you is no mean feat and she pulled it off and looked really emotional. Hell, I was really emotional. I finally understood why people go to Glasto because singing along with 100,000 other people is an experience like no other.

Hello Adele. I am now listening to you with an entirely new perspective.

Upcoming post-Glasto posts include the wonders of ELO and how have I not covered them yet. Plus Coldplay: maybe not as terrible as I've thought for the past 16 years? Maybe. Glastonbury changed me and I didn't even have to eat a lentil burger and stand in wellies.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Prince


This year my blog is going to be about people who have died. Because 2016 SUCKS. Stop dying. Stop it.

I am more upset about Prince than Bowie because I have loved Prince pretty much non-stop since the 80s. A fact I talk about here and here.

I have no more words to add except I am quite devastated and I plan to listen to all his albums this weekend from beginning to end and weep a bit. Read this and cry with me.


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