Tom the Dog put forth the following challenge (a music- and movie-related meme that has been making the rounds, apparently) at his website, and having never in any way had anything to do with a meme, I couldn't resist. It was surprisingly fun, if awfully self-indulgent and time-wasting. Here it is:
If your life were a movie, what would the soundtrack be?
1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc).
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For every category (see below), type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button.
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool.
Here are the categories, and my results / responses:
Opening credits: Duran Duran, “New Religion” - It’s very coolly moodily 80s and quite groovy, almost danceable, but not quite. Crockett & Tubbs might dance to it. Very believable for a period-piece noir film, which is what I want the movie of my life to be. I believe this should be playing over shots of me driving a nearly empty I-10 at 4am: the perfect place and time to appreciate the horrid beauty of Southern California (where I used to live). I’m liking it so much I actually don’t want to press “next”; but I do what I’m told.
Waking up: Liz Phair, “May Queen” – hang on … I’m letting it sink in. Great clangy, loping indie sound and a fabulous chorus. This is when she was in fine mid-90s form, before the album cover where she’s fucking the guitar. I can imagine waking up to it. I think in this montage, my sometime girlfriend is packing up and leaving and I could give a shit. I’m brushing my teeth.
[apparently we flashback to my childhood now...]
First day of school: Ralph’s World, “Emily Miller” - Woo hoo! I actually hit a children’s song! (downloaded for my daughter two years ago). No music. Just the following lyrics: “Emily Miller has fur on her belly and nobody seems to be worried / Emily Miller is bouncing and pouncing and leaping about in a hurry / She climbs on the table and jumps to the sofa / She’s running all over the house / She sits in the window and won’t go to school …” Long story short: “Emily Miller’s a cat.” Perhaps this is a song that my teacher sings to us while I sit in the back of the class, ignoring the song, silently honing whatever skills would eventually make me a competent grifter.
Falling in love: Beethoven, “König Stephan” overture, Op. 117 - for So Many reasons, this does not bode well for my love life. Actually, it begins a bit ominously, but then it has a lilting airiness to it. Very energetic. I think I will travel way back in time to woo an 18th-century girl … or I will fall in love in springtime in New York after hearing the Philharmonic. Maybe I can figure out how to do both.
First love song: James Brown, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” – HELL yeah. I am not making this shit up: 5000 songs, and THIS one came up. My movie Rules.
Breaking up – Chopin, “3 Ecossaises,” Op. 72 Nos. 3, 4, &5 – short and sweet! Under 2 minutes of gorgeous, playful solo piano. This suggests that my breakup is traumatic only to her. Score! No attachments, baby. I’ve got grifting to do.
Prom – Wayne Newton, “Danke Schoen” – This is truly a dream soundtrack. I wouldn’t change a thing so far. I think this song DID play at my prom, as my prom was only 1 year after Ferris Bueller came out (and if you saw that movie, you know this song). It’s got the lyric “I recall / Central Park in fall,” so clearly we’re still in the City (how do I end up in L.A.? – let’s find out!)
Mental breakdown – Sonic Youth, “Disappearer” – seriously, some magic genie in my iMac is picking Perfect songs. Again, I’m pretty sure I actually DID break down to this song, circa 1990. From the album Goo. Jebus, the first set of lyrics actually has the word “insane” in it. This should be everyone’s mental breakdown anthem! I think this is the moment NY sours for me, and I decide to seek my fortune / demise out west. I swear to god that the moment I typed that last sentence, the following lyric played: “head on out to Western Starland.” I’m freaking myself out.
Driving – Shawn Colvin, “Round of Blues” – a little sweet for this movie, but fitting: “On a lost highway”; yeah, I can dig it. It’s wistful, so maybe my gritty, devil-may-care exterior is cracking a little bit on my epic drive out West. I am listening to this song as I drive across the Nevada desert. “I see lights in Fat City.” Yes, it’s working. “It’s a new breakthrough / It’s an old breakdown” – sorry Shawn, “breakdown” song is taken.
Flashback – Jim Croce, “Time in a Bottle” – by now you must think I am cheating like crazy to get these songs to make sense. Again, I Swear I’m Not. This song is making my life flash in front of my eyes right now! At this point in the movie, I am clearly drinking myself to oblivion somewhere in Ventura, missing the sweet girlfriend I left in NY, who is no doubt now dating a future dentist named Dwayne.
Getting back together – Bach, Variation 26 from “Goldberg Variations” – what is it with this chick and the classical music she inspires. It’s all chaotic piano playing with her. She is clearly way, way too good for me. Like our relationship, this track is beautiful but brief. She goes back to Dentist Dwayne. But since the next scene is a wedding, I guess she comes back to me after Dwayne dies in a Novocain-related accident, leaving her just enough money to help me start a P.I. business. She becomes my sassy, smart, and exceedingly hot secretary. Don’t be fooled; like Velda from the Mickey Spillane novels, she can and will kick your ass if you try to grab hers.
Wedding – Beatles, “Octopus’s Garden” – What the hell!? Apparently we are married in some kind of grotto, or maybe just offshore, by a salty sea captain.
Birth of child – Indigo Girls, “Andy” – a flat-out gorgeous song. I have no problem naming my little girl Andy. This song sounds almost like a lullaby, though it’s kind of dark … what’s this about a “graveyard” … oh, it’s just part of the scenery – although Andy apparently has beer cans on his/her dashboard, so I don’t know what that means for my daughter’s future. But for now, the song is sadly beautiful.
Final battle – The Decemberists, “Shankill Butchers” – fucking perfect. It’s so slow and creepy: “They’re sharpening their cleavers and their knives / And taking all their whiskey by the pint.” Awesome. This will be playing over alternating shots of me and my enemy (a mob assassin named Travis) prepping for the final showdown. This all has to end on the beach, somehow. My wife takes a bullet intended for me, and I pull a throwing star out of her gorgeous chignon hair-do and flick it with ninja-like precision at Travis’s jugular. I try to save my wife, but it’s too late. With nothing to live for, I walk into the ocean, carrying my wife's body, never to be heard from again … The End?
Death scene – Jay-Z, “Blueprint 2” – “I got my mojo back baby / Oh behave!” Clearly I was faking my own death and will be back in the sequel, which will, as the song title suggests, be called “Blueprint 2.” Which makes this movie’s title: THE BLUEPRINT – Perfect.
Funeral song – Everything But the Girl, “Ugly Little Dreams” – wow, what a downer. ‘There’s some ugly little dreams for pretty girls to buy / and it’s enough to make you mad / but it’s safer just to break down and cry.” Perhaps I am in the background of my own funeral, trench-coated, and weeping that single Indian tear like in the old anti-littering ads. I mourn my dead self – and now, clearly, I must have my Revenge. Fade to black!
End credits – Mono, “Hello Cleveland!” – I guess when I return from the dead, I will do so in Cleveland. Didn’t see that coming. This song is far more somber than it sounds. It’s perfect, actually. Like a very downbeat and jazzier version of the opening credits. O yeah, this will work. This is the kind of dark jazz-electronica hybrid that could easily have been the closing credits for, I don’t know, Mission: Impossible or something. No lyrics. Seems to have elements of various crime drama themes in it. Goodbye California, Hello Cleveland!
I'm now going to burn this CD and play it nonstop.
1 day ago