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Meme of the Moment: Desert Island CD’s

This blog post is part of “Desert Island CD’s”, a blogging event being hosted by those gents over at Anomalous Material as a sort of a spiritual successor to last year’s “Desert Island DVD’s”. Check out the link above for everybody else’s list.

Movie soundtracks are a strange beast. They say that memory is most strongly associated with the sense of smell, but – since I guess we can’t smell movies outside of Hans Laube’s somewhat misguided “Smell-O-Vision” – I am never less than amazed at the capacity of a piece of music to take me back to a film. Whether it’s a piece of an orchestra score, a pop song featured in the background, an original composition for the film or even a piece linked to a particular trailer, film music has a strong tie to my memory. To show you that I am not kidding, thanks to the following truly corny international trailer, I can’t hear The Sun Always Shines on TV without thinking of Slumdog Millionaire. You may think I’m bluffing, but skip to about a minute into it.

And then there’s the fact that I now forever associate The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore with The Walking Dead. Again, skip about a minute into it. “Loneliness… is a cloak you wear…”

Anyway, I’m sure that you are all familiar with the rules of the game. I get to pick twelve songs to get stranded on a desert island with. The catch is that they all have to come from a movie of some sort.

So, I thought I might play with the format a little bit. What if these were twelve songs from movies… wait for it… that were used in a movie about me being trapped on a desert island? Sorta like “Darren on a Desert Island: The Official Soundtrack.” Like any other twelve-track album, the songs would come from various points in my struggle to start fire, hunt and gather for myself, and invent a charming persona for a beach ball stranded with me.

That way, you know, you can all join in my desert island experience.

Track #1: Procul Spiritum Meum

(aka Take My Breath Away from Top Gun)

About the Song: Nothing says eighties quite like this song, with it’s heavy synth line and cheesy lyrics. Still, despite – or perhaps because – of these things, I love it.

Picture the Scene: I’m flying my really cool fighter jet with a neat nickname like “Maverick” or “Iceman.” Unfortunately, I’m so busy looking moody to the theme that I get distracted and crash land on a desert island.

My really cool aviator sunglasses survive intact. So that’s something.

Track #2: Abyssus Zepp

(aka Hello Zepp from Saw – and remixed for the other films – and used in every trailer ever)

About the Song: This music is pretty much Hollywood’s shortcut to let audiences know that something underhanded is happening somewhere in the trailer for the new upcoming film (which might not be a horror, but is always menacing).

Picture the Scene: It’ll be handy for a montage where I figure out who manipulated events in a highly improbably manner to get me on to this island. And then, in the inevitable sequels, when they show that my poorly-editted memories were in fact entirely inaccurate, and now contain a host of younger no-name actors who will work for peanuts and appear in the next twelve instalments. Oh, and the trailer.

Track #3: Morte Clubbed

(aka Clubbed to Death from The Matrix)

About the Song: I just really, really liked this song when I was growing up. It seemed like the epitome of cool.

Picture the Scene: The seriousness of my situation dawns on me. This island is “the real world.” I seriously consider taking the red pill that the airforce gave me for situations like this. I may or may not say “whoa.”

I also manage to convince the local palm trees into surrendering coconuts to me through liberal application of kung-fu.

Track #4: Parari

(aka Be Prepared from The Lion King)

About the Song: Easily my favourite Disney song ever (though Gaston probably comes second, it would be more difficult to work into my desert island adventure). Be Prepared is packed with none-too-subtle evil imagery, and a villain who is just downright evil (he’s singing calmly about murdering his brother and exiling his young, innocent nephew).

Picture the Scene: A little while into my stay, I’m feeling a bit flakey. The heat doesn’t quite agree with me. Convinced the palm tree at the other end of the beach is plotting against me, I rally up the coconuts and mount a sterling entirely improvised and beautifully choreographed musical number assuring them that I really am the best choice for “king of the island.”

Track #5: Excessus Auro

(aka The Ecstasy of Gold from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly)

About the Song: If you asked me to name my favourite film composer, Ennio Morricone would definitely make the shortlist. Though everyone (and I mean everyone) can hum the theme to each of Leone’s Dollars trilogy, this is perhaps my favourite Western related composition.

Picture the Scene: I’ve been alone on the island for weeks, feeding off coconuts. As I wander through the wilderness, I spot what looks like a steakhouse. Cue music as I run into the distance, arms stretched out towards it.

It turns out to be a bush.

Track #6: Modo Videre Instillatur Qualis in Feriam

(aka I Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In from The Big Lebowski)

About the Song: The companion to easily one of the most charming fantasy sequences produced during the nineties, it’s actually a classic song. Still, it’s hard to listen to it without picturing Jeff Bridges holding a bowling ball.

Picture the Scene: Maybe somebody spiked my coconuts, that’s all I’m saying.

Track #7: Nunc Venenatis Volare!

(aka Gonna Fly Now from Rocky)

About the Song: It’s the song that everyone hums from the movie, even if we all know the words to Eye of the Tiger. Quite possibly the best montage music ever made.

Picture the Scene: You know what’s not going to get me off this island? Drug-trippy dream sequences. You know what might? A montage! Sure, my gym is entirely made of coconuts – but you have to work with what you got.

The video might just be me lapping the island several times.

Track #8: Suco Portum Margarita (Et Te Desidero)

(aka Pearl Harbour Sucked (and I Miss You) from Team America: World Police)

About the Song: The guys from South Park pen an eighties-esque love ballad, and take the time to include several legitimate criticisms of Michael Bay. What’s not to like?

Picture the Scene: I miss my baby. I also miss the movie channels on my television. I’m not sure which I miss more. Anyway, it always helps to remind myself that not all the movies I’m missing are gems – it’s good for morale to think that while I’m rotting out here on the desert island, some poor sap somewhere has misplaced the remote just as Pearl Harbour starts and is clearly suffering worse.

Bonus points if I’m stranded in the Pacific.

Track #9: Prophetias et Igoe Pruit

(aka Prophecies & Pruit Igoe from the Watchmen soundtrack, but drawn from Glass’ soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi)

About the Song: There’s something very religious and spiritual, yet incredibly ominous to Glass’ score – which sounds pretty much like every gothic nightmare you’ve ever had. In college, a friend happened to walk in me listening to it and remarked all that I was missing was a glass of scotch in one hand and a pistol in the other.

Picture the Scene: This is the lowest ebb. This is the point at which I face the possibility I may be stranded forever on this desert island, and yet… I am somehow contented. However, as the second half of the track kicks into gear, I am motivated and begin work on the raft that will ferry me home.

Extra points if I’m naked and blue by this stage.

Track #10: Superficie Solis

(aka The Surface of the Sun from Sunshine – used in Kick-Ass and countless trailers)

About the Song: It’s a genuinely uplifting piece, even when the surroundings are somewhat stark. It plays in Danny Boyle’s sci-fi film every time characters marvel at the beauty of the sun… especially when they are about to be killed by it. It’s also used a lot in trailers, like for The Adjustment Bureau.

Picture the Scene: I’m ready to try my absolutely ridiculous (and therefore highly likely to succeed) escape attempt from the island. As it gets further away, and I face the vast unknown ahead of me, the song stirs. I am possibly staring into middle distance.

Track #11: Oboe Gabriel

(aka Gabriel’s Oboe from The Mission)

About the Song: Arguably more famous than the film it was written for, this is Morricone at his best. It’s breathtaking and beautiful and stunning. It’s epic and yet intimate. It’s powerful, yet nuanced. It’s all this and more.

Picture the Scene: I’m floating on the ocean, completely serene. I’m at one with nature.

Oh, and I have an oboe I fashioned from that pesky palm tree. Yeah, that showed him.

Track #12: Dei Moventis Super Faciem Aquae

(aka God Moving Over the Face of the Water from Heat)

About the Song: The two Moby songs in Heat were originally meant to be reversed. The scene where Vincent and Hanna first meet was originally supposed to be scored with this little piece, and the ending with New Dawn Fades. However, Mann ended up feeling that this beautiful piece was so calming it deserved to close the film

Picture the Scene: Kind of an arrogant choice given I’m on a raft over the ocean at this point in the film, eh? Let’s just say that “God is with me” to avoid alienating any religious groups. Because they would really kill my opening weekend.

20 Responses

  1. Jesus H Murphy, way to make me ashamed that I forgot Lebowski and Team America. Great list, man.

  2. While this is a boss (yeah, I said it) soundtrack, ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ is the best Disney song. Get your shit together, guy.

    • Jeez, it won’t happen again.

      By the way, The Hunchback is easily the most underrated Disney film, innit?

      Edit: Oops, thought you meant this one, which I couldn’t remember the name of. My bad. Great song, though.

  3. I was going to put Gonna Fly Now on mine but chose the Rocky 4 training montage instead. Great idea choosing Team America:)

    And I think you chose perfectly with Sunshine and The Mission. Well done Darren!

  4. Ahaha you know what? I strongly considered putting Take My Breath Away on my CD myself. So 80’s, so addictive! Also love Clubbed to Death, IMO the most memorable song of The Matrix, no matter what Fletch says! 🙂 Nice Desert Island CD sir.

  5. How the hell were you the only cat to choose a song from THE BIG LEBOWSKI?????

  6. You sure put some extra work into your mix. Thanks for taking us scene by scene through your journey. Watch out for those spiked coconuts!

  7. Top Gun’s Take My Breath Away by Berlin?
    poor man’s Days of Thunder’s Show Me Heaven by Maria McKee, if you ask me…

  8. Another person who picked songs from “Lion King” and “Team America: World Police.” LOVE the inclusion of “Big Lebowski.”

  9. Oooh, I love it!

    I chose track 3 for my list, and came really, really close to choosing track 9. I, too, went with a Moby track, but I used Porcelain from The Beach instead. That said, his Heat track that you chose is probably my second favorite Moby song, so no complaints there at all. I also love the Lebowski song – that whole soundtrack is a winner; in fact, I kinda regret not taking the Spanish take on Hotel California, now that I think about it.

    • Porcelain is a classic. Play was a great album. The soundtrack to my 1999, if I remember correctly.

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