Attention all haters: I love greatest hits albums. There, I said it. I love the hits. I love singing along with a song and knowing the words, and I refuse to be ashamed of it. You know what's even worse? I like plain old songs more than I like entire artists' catalogs and entire albums. Yeah, take that!
I always think of songs as little portals to a specific time and place in our lives. Celine Dion's Power of Love reminds me of middle school dances, and that's why I love it and that's why it's on my iPod. I just connect with songs . . . so, sue me!
Honestly, I don't even think that iTunes is to blame for my love of individual songs. (Mostly because I'm too damn old to be considered the iPod generation). Instead, I will blame my mother. When I was a kid, my sister and I would spend hours holed up in the corner of our basement between the green chair and the wood stove listening to my mother's collection of 45's on the turntable. This happily resulted in several dramatic interpretations of Leader of the Pack and Chapel of Love. Not to mention, at age 7, every trip to the mall eventually found me wide-eyed in front of the single cassette tape wall at Sam Goody with a sweaty five dollar bill in my hand deliberating the merits of Janet Jackson vs. Bryan Adams. (Everything I do, I do it for the Rhythm Nation).
So, today I consider single songs that I love because I heard it in a movie. I don't know any other songs by these artists, and I really don't care to. I don't even think that they're necessarily the best use of a song in movies. I just remember seeing them on the screen, and thinking that those songs were awesome. You never know where you're going to find your new favorite song of the week, but because I'm such a movie person, it's usually on the screen.
Here goes. . .
Tracks of My Tears - Platoon
I don't really like Platoon. I don't particularly like Oliver Stone. I don't particularly like drug use in movies - which is the scene its used in. But, this song is great, and the first time I heard it was in this movie. Now, it's in constant rotation on my iPod. Go figure. Check out this random YouTube movie montage thing. . . (honestly, who has the time and will to put these videos together?) Link
Try a Little Tenderness - Pretty in Pink
Pretty in Pink sucks. (Sorry John Hughes, but you didn't direct, that must be why it's so lame.) However, this movie has some great moments, including Jon Cryer's Otis Redding impression. Great song, blah movie. Link
This Woman's Work - She's Having a Baby
I'm sure that all of Kate Bush's music is this emotionally charged and heartbreaking. But, I don't really know. Because the only song of hers I've ever heard is This Woman's Work which scores a hysterical crying Kevin Bacon as he recalls why he loves his wife while in a hospital waiting room. Sigh. Another music moment that elevates an otherwise okay movie. Link
Ask Me Anything - Dedication
Dedication is actually a great movie. It's basically a hipster's take on As Good As It Gets. The music used in it is pretty pretentious, but one song had me all a-google after I saw the movie. It's the Strokes Ask Me Anything and it hits at about 1:30 in this clip. You can YouTube the whole movie, I seriously recommend. Link
Stuck in the Middle with you - Reservoir Dogs
This song will make you move and dance . . . even if you're a dancing while torturing someone! Again, I'm not using the real clip here, for fear of squeamish readers. Link
Songs I learned about in movies is somewhat tough. I think nowadays it's harder to do that - simply because the medium available to listen is so huge. I think it's harder for an artist to breakout by debuting in a film, only because odds are at least some people would have heard of you via Pandora or Myspace or something like that. Anyhow, here are my Top 5 songs I only heard of because of movies.
5. American Beauty: The Seeker by The Who
I saw this movie when it came out and blew my mind. When the seeker came on, it was during Lester's realization he could take his life back. I loved the way I imagined that felt, and loved the song that went with it. I knew other stuff by The Who - but not that track. It immediately made me go out and pick up a Who album.
4. American Psycho: Hip To Be Square by Huey Lewis And The News
"Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now you f***ing stupid bastard!" Yeah, I love this movie. I saw this in high school, and can really say anything by Huey Lewis wasn't a priority for me in life up to that point. I mean, I'd heard of them - but Patrick Bateman gave me a nice lesson in their works during that film. I didn't run out to buy any Huey, probably never will, but hey - lesson learned.
3. Wayne's World: Ballroom Blitz by Sweet
So yeah, I was maybe 10 when I saw this? It always takes me back. But I recall even at my young age thinking they could have gotten a hotter actress to play Cassandra. Anyway, her band Crucial Taunt played Ballroom a couple times during the movie. I enjoyed tapping my toes to it, and then BAM! I learned it was a cover. I checked out the real version, loved it more - picked up a Sweet record. Thanks Mike Myers.
2. The Matrix: Wake Up by Rage Against The Machine
I also love The Matrix. I think the way the movie ended was great, and it was perfectly complimented by Rage rocking it to the credits. I don't think I was really at all into Rage yet, as my love for them didn't start up until right before I went to college. I made my own generic greatest hits record, and this was probably track 1. Neo saves the world, listens to Rage. I had to too.
1. Closer: The Blower's Daughter by Damien Rice
If you haven't seen this movie, you need to check it out. It's a very dark story about relationships, romance and the twists your life can take. All the actors in the movie do a phenomenal job - and the story keeps you very interested. This is another one that the movie ends and climaxes with a song, and in this case - Damien Rice. It's a perfect ending to a great movie. And yes, had certainly never heard of Damien before, or this song. I immediately went to iTunes and downloaded it. Been in love ever since.
Do you have any songs that you checked out solely because it was used in a movie? Tell us about it!