Thursday, December 30, 2010

Life's Soundtrack

Do you ever think about your life with a soundtrack? What if music would play in the background of our lives?

I remember when I was taking a film class back in college and we watched a bunch of films that were studio releases without music or sound. Halloween wasn't nearly as scary, neither was Jaws when there was no music; it was so weird. Then we examined Hitchcock and he often didn't use music to give his movies the scary hype but just relied on his expert film making prowess to scare the crappola out of the audience, and it worked!

Watching movies or a television show with just the right music enhances the production for me. I love it when there's an 80's flashback and the perfect Ah-ha or Springsteen song is the necessary background tune. But the reverse is often true for me as well. If the music sucks, it can trash a viewing experience for me completely. Same college course where we watched movies without sound taught me how to watch a movie for more than just the movie itself. Even though I'm not consciously analyzing the soundtrack, shadows, editing, cinematography, etc. I actually am. And when I know I'm doing it ("Gee, I love the way the rolling picturesque landscape was captured on film- way to go cinematographer!") while sitting in the theater, then I'm having a really bad movie experience- I analyze the crap out of a movie if I don't like it.

I love the orchestra music in Dances with Wolves and in Titanic. (But when Celine Dion starts singing that "My Heart will go On" thing it just annoys me!) The music in The Wedding Singer is perfect. In an old TV show that got canceled mid season back when I was in high school- show was called TV 101- there was a scene in one episode where a girl decided to lose her virginity in the back of a car and the U2 song "With or without you" played. I don't remember anything else about that episode but that- the music defined it for me. And think of Jaws, Halloween, Gone with the Wind, The Young and the Restless, Dr. Zhivago, M*A*S*H... all have memorable scores.

I think my life is very Hitchcockian (maybe my life is really more Capraesque but Frank used music and it doesn't fit my metaphor) but without all the killing and bloodshed (though as person who works daily with high school students I think about bloodshed: sometimes that of my students, sometimes my own!). My life is good enough as it is without needing a soundtrack to psych it up and make it more suspenseful.

Then there's the other side of me that thinks in terms of my life soundtrack; you know, what music should be playing at certain times in my life. I think music has such a powerful influence and can set a mood, modulate a tone of a conversation, build a moment, crush a moment, cause undue reminiscing, empower emotions, open flood gates, propel rage or cause giggles, snorts, smiles, belly laughs.

When the wanderlust attacks me I think a perfect song is Reba's "Is there life out there?"When I was getting dressed and trying on 4 outfits so I would be dressed to kill a little "Man Hunt" could be heard. Lately I'm so happy with life, I'm practically walking on cloud nine so I can hear "Walking On Sunshine".

I think it would be cool if you're just living life and you could hear music in your mind (with a volume control of course or I would be so distracted by the tunes I would lose the moment- you know, being ADD and all I get easily off track... oh, where was I?) that fit the mood. And warn you of stuff- I might've avoided getting a speeding ticket once if the theme from Smoky and the Bandit would've played on my internal Life soundtrack and I would've been wary and watchful for the coppers. I might not have gotten in involved with SD all those years ago if Denis Leary's "Asshole" would've played in my brain's little personal itunes.

What would your soundtrack play and when?

1 comment:

Jimmie Earl said...

Interesting post. I never have though about life having a soundtrack. But, there are soundtrack songs that stick in my mind. The music from "The Sandpiper" is very meaningful in a personal way, and I loved the music from the mini series, "North and South."