Great movie makers understand the power music can bring to a film. The director’s who are most successful at harnessing this power treat the music like a character unto itself. Wes Anderson and Randall Poster, the music supervisor on most ofAnderson’s films, could teach the master class on selecting music for films. You can hear more about their process on the recent NPR Fresh Air with Poster.
It is doubtful that I need to convince you that Anderson’s films are classics. He creates worlds that are simultaneously alternate-universe like and yet tangible, real and tactile.Music selected for each of these films has a strong hand in molding the movies emotional cinematography, adding unforgettable elements to scenes. It can be hard to imagine some scenes without the music it adds such a charge. For example, check out this clip where someone added in a Radiohead song in place of Nico’s cover of “These Days” to the very famous scene from The Royal Tenenbaums. It’s not that it clashes necessarily but to see the scene with any other song just feels wrong.
Seeing Moonrise Kingdom this past weekend (his latest masterpiece) made me sentimental for all the soundtracks. I was compelled to compile my favorite selections from them all. Pop some popcorn, sit back and let the great movie moments these songs are tied to, play in your mind.
- “These Days” by Nico – The Royal Tenenbaums
- “Wigwam” by Bob Dylan– The Royal Tenenbaums
- “Look At Me” by John Lennon– The Royal Tenenbaums
- “Lullaby” by Emitt Rhodes– The Royal Tenenbaums
- “Judy Is A Punk” by Ramones– The Royal Tenenbaums
- “Stephanie Says” by The Velvet Underground– The Royal Tenenbaums
- “Hey Jude” by The Beatles, performed by The Mutato Muzika Orchestra– The Royal Tenenbaums
- “Nothin’ in the World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl” bu The Kinks – Rushmore
- “Here Comes My Baby” by Cat Stevens – Rushmore
- “Rue St.Vincent” by Yves Montan – Rushmore
- “Starman” by Seu Jorge– The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
- “Powerman” by The Kinks – The Darjeeling Limited
- “Play with Fire” by the Rolling Stones – The Darjeeling Limited
- “Life on Mars?” by David Bowie – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
- “Search and Destroy” by The Stooges – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
- “30 Century Man” by Scott Walker – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
- “The Way I Feel Inside” by The Zombies – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
- Leonard Bernstein & the New York Philharmonic – “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34: Themes A-F” – Moonrise Kingdom
- Choir of Downside School, Purley, Emanuel School Wandsworth, Boys’ Choir, London Symphony Orchestra, Benjamin Britten – “A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2: ‘On the Ground, Sleep Sound’” – Moonrise Kingdom
- “Kaw-Liga” by Hank Williams –MoonriseKingdom