19 March 2011

12 Tracks to Live For

The blogosphere be a buzzin' with the new Desert Island CD blog-a-thon conceived by Castor over at Anomalous Material. Click the link for a list of all the participants. The rule is simple: choose twelve tracks - the only twelve songs you will have on this deserted island for who knows how long so make sure you really, really love 'em - and they have to come from a movie soundtrack.

Initially this sounded like a perfectly simple thing to do, but after careful consideration, holy potatoes, Batman, this was bloody difficult! There were a dozen and a half tracks from television shows I would add instantaneously (mostly coming from the great Bear McCreary and Michael Giacchino). Plus, it got a bit more complicated without my iTunes directory, which is stuffed on my home computer two hours away. But I shall make do! One last thing, I took considerable effort to make sure I selected tracks that don't qualify simply as ones I love, but also will be tracks I would find myself willing and happy to listen to repeatedly and (even more) repeatedly.

Can ya dig it?

[Sorry, just saw Black Dynamite for the first time recently, have sort been killing that phrase over a lot]

#1. "The Battle", Hans Zimmer, Gladiator

Swords and blood = fun! Add in a lot of Hans Zimmer, and what you have then is pretty much sheer awesomeness, as is the case here. The brutality and epic nature of the battle is beautifully and perfectly conveyed here as the track feels like it brings you right into the heart of the battle, right there with Maximus and his fellow gladiators fighting for their very lives. And in between all the sword interplay, "The Battle" also is pretty much just sublime. I'm sure not many will agree, but halfway through this track, there is just some truly outstanding, brilliant cues, unequaled in the last decade. Chilling, magnificent stuff.

#2. "Flow Like Water", James Newton Howard, The Last Airbender

Say what you will about M. Night's rubbish adaptation of the Nickelodeon television series, but the fact James Newton Howard was the movie's saving grace is irrefutable. If anyone needs convincing, listen to this track here, marvelous in its simplicity, beautiful in its power. Elegant and simply breathtaking, "Flower Like Water" is a track that cannot be heard enough. Beautiful, beautiful work and without a doubt would be on my CD.

#3. "Battle of the Heroes", John Williams, Episode III

It all comes down to this. Friends - nay, scratch that, brothers - engaged in a duel where each stroke of their saber is a emotional punch, a tearing and ripping apart of a bond years in the making, a trust and camaraderie unmatched in the Galaxy. As for the fate of the Galaxy and the star systems, that fight is being played out in the Senate Arena with Darth Sidious and Master Yoda representing the light and the dark: the more down and dirty duel taking place on Mustafar is something far more personal, far more gritty and raw, and John Williams perfectly and beautifully epitomizes this with "Battle of the Heroes", a rousing, action-y, and sad track if ever I heard one. Beautiful work.

#4. "Jai Ho", A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire

Great movie, great song. On the way to Mankato and back, the girlfriend and I blast this in the car, especially during times either one of us is getting a bit drowsy (it happens). A.R. Rahman is the man when it comes to making irresistibly addicting music, as is the case here and, to an extent, 127 Hours. Most definitely a track I couldn't see myself leaving home without.

#5. "Neodammerung", Don Davis, The Matrix Revolutions

Similar to The Last Airbender, a lot of dislike has been placed on The Matrix sequels, which I feel to be inappropriately so, but one thing is clear: Don Davis was most definitely up for the challenge with Reloaded and Revolutions, offering scores that are nothing short of extraordinary. The first Matrix set the groundwork for Davis' musical template: the sequels, and especially Revolutions, take what has already been established, runs with it tenfold, and creates something new and just as magical. "Neodammerung" feels Apocalyptic, where everything in the universe hinges on the outcome of Neo fighting Agent Smith, and there is a genuine uncertainty that our protagonist will win. Complimented by Latin chants, "Neodammerung" is electrifying, eerie, and one of the best pieces of music in the last decade.

#7. "Roar!", Michael Giacchino, Cloverfield

The first of two Giacchino tracks on my playlist; if I can't have LOST, I'm sure as hell going to include "Roar!" and the next track below. "Roar!" is a beautiful piece -and yep, I know I use 'beautiful' a lot, apologies - that sums up monster movies, pays homage to the classics of the 50's, and is bloody freaky as hell and amazing all at the same time. The iTunes track I downloaded awhile back is 12 mins., but the above upload doesn't seem to be missing anything vital: all the ingredients of Giacchino's magnificent score is right there. So why would I want to have this gorgeous thing on my CD? Quite simply, it's beautiful, and it's a reminder of a genre I deeply, personally love.

#8. "Labor of Love", Michael Giacchino, Star Trek

One word: beautiful. Yep, used it again. But frankly, there is no other way to describe "Labor of Love", one of the most brilliant compositions in recent memory. I defy any human being not to get somehow emotionally invested in the death and birth happening here. This track cements Giacchino as The Master, a man we can look forward to deliver brilliant scores time after time like the equally fantastic John Williams. When I want to think about beauty, when I want to think about love, "Labor of Love" is that track.

#9. "Introduce a Little Anarchy", James Newton Howard/Hans Zimmer, The Dark Knight

I've seen "Molossus" from Batman Begins on many lists, and I applaud you all for including that. Hoping to do something a little bit differently, I chose this track near the climax of The Dark Knight, and it's a track that never fails to send chills up my spine, excite me, and get me super amped, not to forget mentioning instantly making me want to throw the DVD in.

#10. "All Along the Watchtower", Jimi Hendrix, Watchmen

Originally heard "All Along the Watchtower" in the season three finale of Battlestar Galactica, and lo and behold, not too long after it's used in Zack Snyder's awesome Watchmen movie, and achieving as awesome a effect! Upbeat, fun, and infectious to my mood, great song to have during a long time of loneliness and frustration.

#11. "Brand New Day", Joss Whedon, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

It's mostly a movie, innit? Every morning without any sort of rescue on the horizon, I could just throw on "Brand New Day" and be happy without contemplation of going utterly mad or gleefully running into the jaws of a shark...or Smoke Monster. Great music, great lyrics, and a reminder of the awesome man I left behind: Joss Whedon. Or, er, um, yea, that one guy...Neil Patrick Harris, 'course.

#12. "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", Santa Esmeralda, Kill Bill Vol. 1

The Bride vs. O-Ren. It's snowing. The two opponents look at each other from a small distance. They're waiting to strike. The moment arrives. Quickly, like a flash, they engage in battle, and just as instantaneously, everything is still as The Bride looks to the sky victorious, and O-Ren's last moments brings realization as to the true maker of The Bride's blade. That alone could be a pretty nifty scene, but add in "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", one of the damnest most addicting and replay-y songs out there, and you got yourself dynamite awesomeness. On the island, I'd play this while practicing my kung fu or something, just to keep me in shape and pumped up in case a ship comes by and decides to rescue me slow-motion like.

Well, this was fun, mates! Again, check out the link above for a full coverage list of bloggers who participated, and I encourage y'all to try it out, as well. Cheers!


The Mad Hatter said...

I think you were the first person to include a Dr. Horrible track - kudos for that. Mine would have been "On The Rise"...also from act two :)

Jack L said...

I can dig it!

This is a great list, I love the Kill Bill track at the end, I chose two tracks from that film for my list. I just love the soundtrack to Kill Bill...

I also love All along the Watchtower, great Jimi Hendrix song, but I didn't like Watchmen much at all...

Castor said...

Love The Battle from Gladiator. I strongly considered it but then went with Now We Are Free instead. Great list Andy!

Anonymous said...

"Jai Ho" is a great choice. You can't listen to that song and not feel happy to be alive. Plus, it would make being stuck on a desert island suck a lot less.

Andy the Time Lord said...

Hatter - Thank you, sir! Is "On the Rise" the one with Dr. Horrible in the background at the homeless center watching Penny and Cap. Hammer on their date? That one was pretty good.

Jack - Tarantino has a ear for picking some marvelous songs, and KILL BILL is definitely represents some of his best choices.

Castor - I've seen a lot of GLADIATOR love on the blogosophere for this Desert Island blogathon, and that makes me quite happy. "Now We Are Free" is definitely a brilliant piece, and a good choice. "The Battle" just epitomizes awesome for me. Plus - goodsebumps.

Carter - Haha, yes, "Jai Ho" would definitely help in keeping me happy-like on a desert island. Plus it would be a workout cos I'd want to dance...luckily no one would see me do a terrible imitation of the actual dance routine.