Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Well, I'll never hear THAT song the same way again!

Being a visual medium, movies often change the way we see the world. But they can also change the way we hear the world too.  Rarely is that effect more striking than when a movie has its way with a song we know and love. The song is often altered forever - whether we want it to be or not.

I was on a Paul Thomas Anderson kick recently, and I watched Boogie Nights for the first time in a while. The film was building to a sweaty, fevered pitch as it hurtled through its third act.

Then "Sister Christian" came blaring on the soundtrack.

Before Boogie Nights, I had always regarded that Night Ranger song as one of those gloppy slices of Velveeta for which people of my generation carry a strange torch. I remember the video being played ad nauseum on MTV, when a couple of band members engaged in what I call the "dramatic Night Ranger squat"  (at about 3:41 in the clip).

But that's not what I think of anymore when I hear "Sister Christian." Now when that song comes on, even if it's not in the movie, I can't help but hear firecrackers snapping on the ground. And in a strange way, it gives the song a "cool cache" it NEVER had before.

"Layla" was a song I knew very well long before I saw GoodFellas in 1990. But after Marty Scorsese got through with it, I could never again hear it without thinking of a lot of dead bodies (9:24 in).

And then there's Roy Orbison's "In Dreams." Now - this is a slightly different case. I had never heard that song before seeing it in David Lynch's Blue Velvet - and I'm kind of glad I didn't. Because the ONLY image that song conjures up now is of Dennis Hopper being horrifyingly sadistic. That song wasn't "ruined," but it was introduced to me in a very, very twisted way. I can only imagine how my mind would have melted had Lynch used "Oh! Pretty Woman" or "Only the Lonely."

So how about you? What songs did the movies irrevocably change for you - for good or ill?


Allison Dickson said...

hahaha! I am the SAME WAY about Sister Christian and the firecrackers. Love it.


Allison Dickson said...

P.S. I don't know why that T is there. lol

HollyGoKimsy said...

I'll go with Elton John's Tiny Dance always inspiring pictures of Kate Hudson on the bus singing in Almost Famous. Unfortunately, that was one of my favorite songs of all time...

Anonymous said...

"Stuck in the Middle With You" - ear slicing. Pulp Fiction (or was it Reservoir Dogs?) ewe.

Kim said...

Great question! I know a big one for me is Queen's "Find me Somebody to Love" - I always see Anne Hathaway singing it on the Giant's table - lol (Ella Enchanted)! Another is Alabama's "Fire in the Night". It was the ultimate irony that I was seeing "Roadhouse" in a theater in Ft. Payne, AL while I was down there for Alabama's June Jam - and there just happened to be an Alabama song in the movie - AND they mention the place they cleaned up in Dayton, OH! Since obviously there were lots of Bama fans in there, the audience erupted into cheers when the song start playing in the background of the diner scene - ha! That is one of those experiences you don't get by waiting for the DVD! Now when I hear that song - it instantly transports me to that time and place.