M for Morrissey.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a popular coming-of-age novel written by Stephen Chbosky in 1999 and is slowly reaching Catcher in the Rye status as an essential tale of the highs and lows of high school. I didn’t read the book, but I did see the 2012 movie adaption starring Emma Watson (which was actually written and directed by Chbosky).
The movie was great, and I – as probably most of us would quietly admit – felt a strong connection with Charlie, a quiet kid who was nice and meant well and liked The Smiths (ok maybe not that) and hated high school and fell in love and had that one teacher you actually liked and all that jazz. I’ve been told that Chbosky changed a lot of the book’s story for the sake of making the movie more “watchable”, so everything I’m talking about concerns the movie plot.
But the best thing about the movie wasn’t the movie itself — it was the music.
“Over many years, I have collected songs…Some of the songs are popular. Some of them are not known by a whole lot of people. But they are all great in their own way. And since these songs have meant a lot to me, I just wanted you have them as a soundtrack for whatever you need them to be for your life.” — Chbosky in the album’s linear notes
For a movie dealing with the awkwardness that is our teenage years, the music had to reflect that isolated part of our lives, and Chbosky nailed it with his selection of tunes.
Here’s the album:1) The Samples – “Could It Be Another Change?” 2) Dexys Midnight Runners – “Come On Eileen” 3) Galaxie 500 – “Tugboat” 4) New Order – “Temptation” 5) The Innocence Mission – “Evensong” 6) The Smiths – “Asleep” 7) Cracker – “Low” 8) Sonic Youth – “Teen Age Riot” 9) XTC – “Dear God” 10) Cocteau Twins – “Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops” 11) David Bowie – “Heroes”
The movie also includes the following:Simon & Garfunkel – “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” Procol Harum – “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” Nick Drake – “Time Of No Reply” Misfits – “Where Eagles Dare” Ride – “Vapor Trail” Suzanne Vega – “Gypsy” The Moody Blues – “Nights In White Satin” Smashing Pumpkins – “Daydream” Fleetwood Mac – “Landslide”
To save you some time, frustration and money, check out this awesome Spotify playlist for all these songs from the movie.
To Charlie, these songs were sources of comfort and reminders, for better or worse, of life in high school. For any rock and indie loyalist, these songs form a fantastic mixtape of nostalgic songs written before many of us were born.
And there lies the beauty of this soundtrack — it manages to make you miss high school, or at least remember it more fondly. Music has that strange power to make us remember a past memory or emotion, and this soundtrack nails the high school feeling. It reminds you of a great John Hughes soundtrack for a movie he might of made if he were making movies today (and wasn’t so charming as he was cheesy).
Ok, maybe you didn’t grow up loving Smashing Pumpkins or Fleetwood Mac or maybe you were actually popular in high school, why care? Because this is still a killer mixtape of great songs. The bulk of these songs are plucked from the nostalgic late 80s and early 90s but go as far back as the 60s. From classic rock to goth to new wave, the best selections from various genres are represented here for your enjoyment. Because of this album, I’ve started listening to more Nick Drake, Ride, and Suzanne Vega — there’s a new artist waiting for you within this soundtrack.
I’m trying very hard to stay away from a Garden State comparison, though that soundtrack (and maybe movie) is the closest thing my generation has to something that speaks true to our times (even if we mistake clinical depression for modern fears of our early 20s). But if that soundtrack is for our post college years, then The Perks of Being a Wallflower soundtrack should be for our high school years. Because even if you didn’t go to high school in the 90s, these songs speak universally for those four years that everyone remembers.
And if nothing else, maybe you’ll start listening to The Smiths?
Well I’m not too happy with not being able to post as much as I usually do, but nothing can stop me from giving ya’ll my 15 songs for May.
Here’s a little question for you. One of these 15 songs was voted the number one song of the 90s according to NME. Can you guess which one it is?
Here are my 15 songs for May 2012.
Oh if only I can find a girl that would like The Smiths as much as Zooey Deschanel does. Classic song with a great montage from 500 Days of Summer. If you’ve never seen the movie you need to stop what you’re doing and go see it. Now. And while you’re at it you might as well pick up The Queen Is Dead.
Third time’s the charm, especially in music. If your band’s first album is successful there will be a lot of buzz about you – and a lot of pressure to make a followup album that’s just as good, if not better, than your debut. If your second album is a success then your career looks long and promising. Now you’ve made two solid albums and now you have the creative freedom to make the album you want to make. Some of the best albums of rock n roll are third albums, and many artist became household names because of their third album. Here are the list of the best of the third albums.
The Clash – London Calling
Radiohead – OK Computer
The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
Green Day – Dookie
The Replacements – Let It Be
The White Stripes – White Blood Cells
Pearl Jam – Vitalogy
My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland
Neil Young – After The Gold Rush
Were there any that I missed? Let me know via Twitter @BradyWGerber on your favorite 3rd albums!
An acquired taste, but it stays with you for life.
I don’t remember when I started to like The Smiths, but I do remember that I used to not like this band. I’ve heard from many people how influential these guys were and how The Queen Is Dead is considered to be one of the greatest albums of all time, but the music didn’t connect to me and I didn’t like Morrissey’s voice.
Then sometime ago I put my iTunes on shuffle and the song “Cemetery Gates” came on. For some reason, I still do not know why, the song caught me off guard and I found myself repeating the song over and over. Everything about the song was incredible, from the melody, to the guitar, and the bass – you know a song is great when you notice the bass. I was hooked and I listened to The Queen Is Dead all the way through multiple times. My listen of the album was like listening to “Cemetery Gates” that faithful day, there were short moments of brilliance and many moments that catch your attention unexceptionally. This album might not be the greatest ever made, but it’s an album I would consider to be essential.
A good idea of what the album entitles is from the second track “Frankly, Mr. Shankly.” At first the song seems like a joke, one of the reasons why I didn’t like this band before, with a funky beat and weird lyrics. But soon the chorus kicks in and the beautiful guitar work of Johnny Marr come out of nowhere and stays present for the rest of the song – good luck trying to get it out of your head. The songs on The Queen Is Dead don’t sound particularly special the first couple of seconds you listen, but if you stay with the song it will hook you in. “Cemetery Gates” and other songs like “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” and “I know It’s Over” grow on you with each listen with the melodies getting stronger, and soon you start to appreciate Morrissey’s combination of wit and dark humor in his lyrics.
The strong tracks here are classics but the album does drag on for many moments, and Morrissey’s voice is an acquired taste. This also isn’t a very happy album – hopefully you got that sense from the title. It is a collection of songs that are mournful, cynical, and dark, and Morrissey’s lyrics sound like pages from a Victorian novel he should have written, but not everyone is a fan of Jane Eyre or Great Expectations.
This album is one of the most important albums of the 80s and of all Indie music, and if you listen to all the big Indie bands after 1986 you can hear a little bit of Morrissey’s voice and Marr’s guitars in all of them. Morrissey in “Frankly, Mr. Shankly” sings, “I want to go down in musical history,” and with The Queen Is Dead he was dubbed the king of Indie rock – too bad the queen is dead.