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Nightman’s Favourite Songs Of All Time: Baby Be Mine – Michael Jackson

It’s still okay to talk about Michael Jackson’s music, right? I haven’t seen that documentary about him, and while I’ve been a lifelong fan and there’s no-one bigger than him in forming my musical taste, all that kiddie stuff now puts a sour taste in the mouth. If it’s true of course. I veer on the side of it not being true, and him just being an innocent weirdo, but I try not to be blinded by my love for him and his music. In the end, only those involved know for sure.

But I’m here to talk about his music; individual songs which I class as my favourites, and how they have impacted me. I’ve probably talked about it here before, but when I was young I never had my own copy of Thriller. Instead, I had a bootlegged/copied cassette which had somehow been doing the rounds in school, and I somehow managed to acquire a copy of that copy. One side had Bad (without Leave Me Alone) and the other had Thriller. I used to listen to both, probably on a daily basis, but as I was young and Thriller was scary, I would rewind the tape and listen to Bad more. I’ve always been a much bigger Bad fan but in recent years I’ve found myself enjoying many of the songs from Thriller more than I used to. Baby Be Mine was never a top tier Thriller song for me – the title track and Beat It were the biggies, Billie Jean and Lady In My Life were next, then Baby Be Mine and Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’. Now I rank them more or less evenly.

I don’t have any specific memories of listening to the song on its own – it’s more of a collective memory, an unease which covered the first half of the album and came from me knowing that Thriller would be coming up. So even though I liked the songs on the first half, my apprehension about the creepy song to come stopped me from fully appreciating them. That’s probably part of why I’ve never really enjoyed The Girl Is Mine, coming right before Thriller. 

After the sheer funk insanity of the epic opening track, Baby Be Mine simplifies things with a streamlined disco boogie and a dark atmosphere. That atmosphere may be something I’m projecting into the song, but it’s there nonetheless every time I hear it. I love that brief jazz drum intro and the synths work mysteriously for me as I’m not usually a big fan of the instrument, and all of the hand clicks, claps, and guitars work extremely well. This being Jackson, what stands out for most people are the melodies and vocals. Jackson was at his peak here as a singer, and the song challenges even his fantastic range. He soars and shrieks and lets out a variety of tics and runs, never letting a slight growl or impure note get in the way of the performance and emotion – if it works, keep it in. Lesser artists would retake again and again to get as clean a result as possible, taking out much of the emotion and inspiration.

The digital sounding backing vocals come decades before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon, yet they sound fresher than anything in the charts today. There’s something slightly ghostly about those backing vocals – projecting again – but they do what so many backing vocals don’t do – they stand on their own. Grab the mix, remove everything else, and listen to the backing pieces – fantastic by themselves and telling their own melody separate from the main lines. Those main lines are some of my favourites from any Jackson song. I’m surprised this wasn’t selected as a single too – it’s one of only two songs of the album’s nine which wasn’t released as a single. It’s interesting how the verse melody descends at the start of the line, and ascends for the second half, with the pre-chorus extending this out with a twist. It’s the verse melodies I prefer over the more straightforward chorus, but fortuitously the bridge is also exquisite and showcases some of Jackson’s most powerful vocals. The ending is a simple disco extension of the chorus, with enough variance so that it doesn’t become tired and repetitive – another skill today’s pop artists have lost.

Lyrically, the song is another call out to a lady – the clue’s in the title – and while he is treading the same ground he had been covering throughout his career, it’s the sexy, raw delivery which heightens their potency; the guy really wants this girl and it’s tearing him apart both being with her and being apart from her. He gets right to the howling soul of obsession and lays it bare. Jackson was much more than just a singer’s singer – he knew how to inflect, how to expand and retract, how to be theatrical and how to give the extra needed punch to an individual sound or word – his love of movies and musicals training him, but his natural ability keeping it from becoming false. He was truly a one of a kind voice.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Baby Be Mine – is it a personal favourite for you, is it one you need to return to, or is it a song you either don’t know or have never liked. Try one of the links above to check out the song and share your thoughts!

Troy: The Odyssey

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‘Forgive me for what you are about to see’ speaks the wise Odysseus, King Of Ithaca, master of the epithet, and nary a wiser more prophetic line didst the Homeric hero spake. I’m always torn when I see film adaptations of the greatest work of literature ever written. On one hand, it’s my favourite story of all time – one which has influenced me personally more than any other book – so I’m always going to watch, plus it’s great seeing others attempting to bring the story to the screen. On the other hand, it’s simply too large, too dense a story, with too many characters, places, and requirements for special effects to adequately bring to screen without hundreds of millions of dollars. Throw in the fact that, while it’s a standalone story, you can’t really do it justice without also telling the story of the Illiad too – the history and build up to The Trojan War, Odysseus and his life in Ithaca before the war, the final stages of the war itself and The Fall Of Troy, all before Odysseus sets off on his journey home. In other words, it’s simply too big a story and world to fit into a low budget, 110 minute movie. Props for trying though.

I’ve said it before – I dream of a world where some company with all of the necessary funding, tools, and resources, and dedication and desire, creates the definitive version of The Trojan Trilogy. I used to think this had to be a big screen adaptation, an extended Universe comprising of multiple films for The Illiad, The Odyssey, And The Aeneid, crossing over where necessary. The more I think of it now, and given the fact that we’re in The Golden Age Of Television, it’s the small screen which seems more suited. Look at long-running big budget shows such as Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead, even Vikings. They create a visionary world with multiple locations and massive cast telling an sprawling ongoing story. That’s what The Trilogy of books demands, and that’s what is always missing from The Odyssey in particular. Not only is there War; not only are there multiple monsters and creatures to deal with in the visual effects department; not only is there a huge cast of characters who warrant attention – it’s the sheer length of time involved in the story too. In order for the viewer to truly grasp the scope of Odysseus’ journey, we need to see him age – we need to understand the losses he suffers, the mental and physical torture he endures, but we need to see the same for those around him and for Penelope and Telemachus. A series filmed over and progressing through multiple seasons and years would give a much better impression and understanding of that passage of time, and the emotional impact for the audience when they see Odysseus finally make it home after a few years of watching, would be greatly heightened.

Recently The BBC attempted their own version of The Illiad, called Troy: Fall Of A City. While many idiots online vented because they cast a dark skinned actor in the crucial role of Achilles, my main concern with it was that they focused too much on the love triangle between Paris, Helen, and Menelaus, which of course triggers the whole mess. There’s also too much soap opera intrigue and sorry attempt at GOT pandering, and not enough focus on the supernatural/God elements, but it was a faithful attempt at telling the larger story. Unfortunately, it was a ratings mess and will likely discourage anyone else from attempting such an adaptation. I still think though – you get the right people involved, the right script, and have the right dedication, and you’ll have a hit on your hands.

Which finally leads us back to this 2017 film adaptation of The Odyssey. I’m fine with taking liberties from the source material. Homer of course was merely adapting from all the stories he had heard throughout his life, but while I feel his adaptation is the best version of the stories we have, we should try to be as faithful to his adaptation as we can. In a single sub 2 hour movie, we have to take many liberties. The story still follows Odysseus as he leaves Ithaca, fights in Troy and unleashes his wooden horse ploy, and finally attempts his journey home. Unlike in Homer’s version where he leaves with multiple ships and hundreds of men in tow, here he seems to leave in a ship barely large enough to stretch out in and with less than five crew. One of his crew is a Trojan Princess/warrior/priestess/witch called Circe who has nothing to do with the actual Circe from Homer’s Odyssey. She curses Odysseus, and for some reason they are followed home by a Kraken. Presumably these fabrications were added because some people may have heard the names ‘Kraken’ and ‘Circe’ from Clash Of The Titans, Pirates Of The Caribbean, and GOT. Rather than Homer’s sprawling journey, here Odysseus merely lands on an island (called by The Sirens) where the meet an amalgamation of the Homeric Circe, Calypso, and Sirens who bewitch the crew into forgetting their lives. After a few scenes they escape, but must make it through ‘the paths of the dead’ (in lieu of the actual Underworld) where they meet both a Minotaur and a Cyclops before escaping and making it back to Ithaca.

It’s not so much the removal of stuff from the story which bothers me, rather than the inclusion. Why add this fake Circe? Why create ‘the paths of the dead’ which seems to be little more than three corridors which takes all of five minutes to traverse? Why throw in a Kraken? At least we jump back and forth to see how Penelope is getting on with her suitors. Within a few minutes you know that the film is going to be… limited. The acting is mostly static or laughable, the dialogue is that same stilted nonsense almost any adaptation of this sort of story does – why can’t you get a decent writer in there – look at how people in GOT talk – do something like that! The battle and fight scenes are comical and badly directed, with people who don’t really know how to swing a sword performing as some of the most famous warriors in history and maybe two extras lurking in the background to give (no) sense of depth. I could go in depth with criticism of the performances – the bullish, hilariously over the top Agamemnon and the ‘why does she keep raising her eyebrows’ Calypso. What would be the point? The lead performers – Dylan Vox (a predominant porn actor) as Odysseus, Lara Heller as Circe, and Kelly B Jones as Penelope are better, and are watchable, but are little more than mannequins to hang a series of tropes and bad dialogue on. Actually, looking at the cast I see Paris and Helen listed but I don’t remember them being there at all. Oh yeah, Priam has a magic sword too.

So… it’s not great. Is it worth watching, for fans of the story, for fans of this semi-fantasy, semi-action genre? Not really. It’s a cheap knock-off with not a lot to recommend it, but as a Homer super fan it’s still something that interested me. I’m always keen to see a director’s take on the story in the hope that one day we’ll get a good one. As it stands, that Armand Assante version is still the best, and while I got a few chuckles out of this and kept watching to see what other changes to the story the crew would bring, it’s not something I can see many going out of their way to see.

Best Writing (Original) – 1975

Official Nominations: Dog Day Afternoon. Amarcord. And Now My Love. Lies My Father Told Me. Shampoo

I’m surprised they didn’t pick Shampoo as the winner here, but Dog Day Afternoon is the correct choice. Making criminals look like what they actually are… humans. Flawed humans. That was revolutionary in the 70s and in today’s ludicrous black and white culture it would be ludicrous now. Dog Day Afternoon depicts the chaotic botched robbery of a bank and spends most of its time showing the crooks in a sympathetic light. Maybe sympathetic is not the right term, but we spend so much time with them and thanks to a tight script and great performances you can’t help but either take or understand their side. Even though it was an Original script, it was based off real life events and the guys it was inspired by were given some of the royalties of the film. The banter between the bad guys and their hostages was apparently true to life, and many of the film’s best quotes were improvised – that shouldn’t stop the screenplay from winning the award – it’s certainly more memorable than anything else nominated.

Amarcord is funny, weird and funny, and while it’s autobiographical, Italian, and farcical, there’s enough wisdom in the screenplay to make any audience understand what it’s all about. If Amarcord was an odd choice for The Academy, then And Now My Love goes even further, seeming almost like The Academy was overcompensating for years of ignoring foreign films. The film as a whole is good, an epic of sorts, but its the editing which makes the screenplay standout. I’m not convinced Lies My Father Told Me should really be here, given that it was designed decades earlier in a different form, eventually becoming a film – either way it’s a fine story of childhood but one with an inherent distance from me as it features the growing pains of a Canadian Jewish Boy. Shampoo is the runner up here, smart, funny, and preoccupied with the freewheeling sexual politics of the time.

My Winner: Dog Day Afternoon

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My Nominations: Dog Day Afternoon. Shampoo. The Adventure Of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother. Nashville. Night Moves.

In hindsight it’s not surprising The Academy officially nominated so many foreign films this year – there’s little else to choose from. Most of the notable entries were adapted from another source. The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother is touch and go given that it’s based off an existing literary character, sort of. It’s a long forgotten Gene Wilder film, very much in the vein of the stuff he was doing with Mel Brooks at the time – if you like those, you’ll like this. Nashville missed out on getting a nomination here which always seemed odd, while Night Moves is a cool neo-noir with a good lead performance from Gene Hackman. The film eschews much of the power and characteristics of the old school detectives – they’re still macho, but rendered powerless, impotent, and with an even more skewed moral compass.

My Winner: Dog Day Afternoon

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Nightman’s Favourite Songs Of All Time – A Case Of You – Joni Mitchell

Greetings, Glancers! You have been warned. But now it’s too late to turn back, and before you start whacking that back button and trying to get out let me tell you that if you do, there will be an unholy stain on your favourite rug next time you look. You’re stuck with me. Deal with it.

I came around to Joni Mitchell quite late. Late teens. I knew some of her songs when I was a cub – namely Big Yellow Taxi and The Circle Game. One of my best friends was a massive fan and he was living and working in a (basically) psych hospital/home and I would come and stay with him sometimes and get up to all sorts of shenanigans. He essentially had a personnel living quarters/ward to himself which reminded me of the army barracks I used to… well, that’s another story. It had the same feeling – long corridors, common rooms, dimly lit kitchen areas, hefty double doors and fire escapes, and bedrooms which seemed like minor improvements on prison cells. To have all this to yourself was like living in your own castle so naturally we would stay up till dawn watching DVDs, playing guitar, getting drunk, and messing around the halls on the various pieces of cleaning and physical training equipment. I have fond memories of walking around the building at 4.00 am while Fleetwood Mac was blaring through the speakers, before going outside as the sun was coming up and talking to some random ‘inmate’ who happened to be having a smoke (the whole complex was split into different areas from the violent criminally insane section which had its own guards and walls, to the more harmless dementia and addict patients, and many were free to roam as they pleased as far as I could tell).

Back to Joni – my friend would stick on Joni albums and they would be perfect for background chill music, but I’ve never been the sort of person who can ‘tolerate’ music as background sounds. What I mean by that is, if a song is on, I can’t help but listen to it. I focus on it, I zoom in on the instruments and the lyrics and the writing and end up engaging with it more than whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing. Having a similar taste in music to me anyway, and frequently introducing each other to new bands, I latched on to Joni pretty quickly. With songs like A Case Of You – how can you not? It remains one of the most sweet, most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.

My wife hates it – she doesn’t do high pitched voices and she can’t listen to anything by Joni without cringing. I get it, even in her most commercial songs, I understand why some people won’t like her voice. She hits some incredibly high notes and at times comes close to being shrill, but by contrast that’s what I love in a vocalist. I like a voice to be strained until breaking point – I don’t usually do smooth vocals, listening to someone like Michael Buble is like having an apple pushed into my ear. The thing that is easy to miss when you dislike her voice is just how perfectly controlled it is – remember this song is little more than her vocal and her Dulcimer, but she performs it like a duet, her voice as the lead instrument and the guitar as a backup. Fans will know that she does this on a lot of her albums, but I think she does it best on her first three or four albums. Those little ascending scale runs she does, the personality on certain inflections, the incredible resilient vibrato, it all lends a unique power and quality that I don’t think any other vocalist has ever matched. Joni has always had that power of commanding a song with a vocal performance meaning that her version of whatever song it is invariably sounds the best.

Which brings me to cover versions. According to Wikipedia, the song has had over 300 official cover recordings. I haven’t heard many of those, and the only one which jumps out at me is the one by Tori Amos – another artist who was frequently played during those debauched nights in the halls – but the likes of Prince, KD Lang, and Michelle Branch have covered it too, and a brief search in Youtube will yield hundreds of results by budding and wannabee singers, songwriters, pop stars all bringing their own voice and personality to it. The song has appeared in multiple movies and TV shows over the decades. It’s a song which has clearly spoken on a deeply personal level to millions of people since it’s debut in 1971 on Blue. What is it then which has made it so universally loved for so long? That’s one of the key questions of music, or art as a whole – how and why something endures. At its most simple, it is because the song resonates emotionally, and love and loss are human facets which have always been and will always be.

At a deeper level, that voice is at once haunting, sweet, reminds of what has been seen as a more ideal time, and somehow captures the listener in their own personal point in time. For whatever reason, people find this song exactly when they need to and years later upon hearing the song it transports you back to those days – as exemplified in my writing above. It’s the inherently catchy melody – a simple chorus switched up by the vocals each time, and it’s the timeless writing. You can mash up the song anyway you like, add a bunch of other instruments, soup it up in the studio, but you can’t really strip it down any further than how it is in its original, purest form. It’s like a newborn in its perfection – sure some people are going to be put off by it and not know what to do when handed it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s perfect. The lyrics are poetic without being obtuse, and universal without being cliche ridden – the truest sign of a great songwriter who can relate feelings we’ve all felt in ways and with words we all understand, but which are entirely personal to the person who wrote them.

Between Joni’s soaring highs and James Taylor’s heartbreaking acoustic, the sparse arrangement doesn’t require any embellishing. I love songs which throw everything at the wall and succeed, and I equally love songs which strut up to a stool on a stage, sit down, and just start playing with utmost confidence saying ‘here I am, you’re going to love me’ like A Case Of You does. There isn’t a single millisecond of bullshit in the entire thing, and it lays the performer and the listener bare. Even as simple and sparse as the song is, it still throws in surprises such as the Canadian National Anthem interlude and the interchange between childlike pain and fear and Godly falsetto. The song may not be the most instrumentally complex in the world, but its difficulty comes in playing it without breaking down – it’s a song you can’t restrain your feelings from, those feelings are transported into you fingers and your voice, and it’s very easy to collapse under the emotional weight of it all.

With all of this praise and with its enduring popularity, you would expect the song to have been a hit. The song was never released as a single, its popularity coming from the acclaim and success of the album Blue which went Platinum in the US and double Platinum in the UK. Each new generation of listeners and artists finds the album and finds this song among its many classics, and they share it far and wide, and so the song continues to connect and find new ears and hearts. Have you heard it? If not, there’s no better time like the present. Click any of the links I’ve popped in throughout this post – they all take you to the same album version video on Youtube and if you like what you hear, I highly recommend you buy Blue from wherever you can get it. It’s one of my favourite albums of all time and features a tonne of songs just as beautiful and powerful as A Case Of You. If you don’t like it… you are a very odd person.

Let us know in the comments what you think of A Case Of You!

Nightman’s Favourite Songs Of All Time

Greetings, Glancers! It’s that time once again when I drop trou’, squat, and squeeze out a fresh, steaming new category into a spreading puddle on the floor. I’ve done my favourite films by year, you’ve seen me listing my favourite songs by particular artists, you’ve been dismayed by my virgin adventures through the greatest albums of all time, and you’ve glimpsed briefly before disgustedly closing my personal blog posts where I talk about myself.

There’s a lot of negativity out there and this blog has its fair share of cynicism and annoyance – what can I say; that’s me. But this is going to act as a counter to all of that guff. These are going to be my purely positive, gushing posts about my favourite songs of all time. Unlike my list posts, and unlike my neverending Manic Street Preachers posts, I’m going to try to give a little of the factual information around the song, its commercial success, its culture significance, and why it means so much to me. I’m aware that there are a number of artists I regularly post about – my Madonna, Bowie, Bon Jovi posts etc, my Manics posts, along with any number of album reviews, but in these posts I’m going to try to hit a wider array of artists. In that vein, many of these songs may be little known, many will be one-hit wonders, many will come from artists you won’t expect me to comment on, and hopefully you’ll get a little more insight into me, and maybe find some new songs to love. I was going to go random – post whatever – then I was going to do it alphabetically by artist, before finally settling on alphabetically by song name.

Isn’t that exciting? Are you excited? You should be. All that’s left for me it to pull up my gunks, wash my hands, and get to work.

Attack Of The Adult Babies

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As an ardent fan of all things fucked up, I often get questioned by the more straight-laced members of my social circle – ‘what the hell is wrong with me’. I mean, if you have to ask, you’re never gonna get it – right? The truth is, I don’t know. None of us can truly know and people much smarter than me have tried to answer – what drives us to watching horror, or the bizarre, and beyond? What drives people to make art and entertainment based in these worlds, with these ideas? We don’t know, but we are a community, and for better or worse we can smell our own. It’s interesting then that Emmerdale’s Paddy – Dominic Brunt – is a proponent of these creations as he doesn’t seem like ‘one of us’. Of course I’m conflating his character in the TV soap with the real person I know little about. It appears he is one of us; since branching out as a director he has created a number of commendable and interesting films which are likely to never be seen by anyone who isn’t like me – they are low budget, they are weird, and while I can’t honestly say if they’re any good, I enjoy them and will gladly tell other like me to give them a shot. Anyone else? Stay far away.

The film poses a vital question we’ve all pondered upon once or twice – what if the power of the world’s elite was being provided by an immortal God of Feces? What if the way to ultimate wealth, power, and influence was to drink this God’s milk, shit, then feed the shit back to the God and have the God shit giant gold nuggets? That’s what we’re dealing with in Attack Of The Adult Babies, as a family of four infiltrates the country mansion of an elite gathering to retrieve some information – forced at gunpoint by a couple of bumbling criminals. We learn that not all is what it seems within the family, or within the mansion, and what at first seems like some bizarre old white dude’s sex fetish cult becomes even more strange. I think I remember Eurotrash exploring real people who get their kicks by dressing as babies and having sexy nurses ‘look after them’, so the idea is grounded in some fucked up sense of reality. People, eh? Bunch of freaks the lot of us.

The film has a lot of comparisons with former notable works of depravity – The Human Centipede, Salo, Guest House Paradiso, and strives to be a more lurid version of Animal Farm or a British version of Society. There’s no guesswork with the satire but the film seems more concerned with using the satire to allow for lots of gore and loads of, well, shit. Which is perfectly fine for me of course – the film doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest and it’s much worse when your attempts at mixing satire with exploitation are done in a po-faced, drenched in vanity way. Brunt merges slapstick humour with toilet humour, literally, gore gags, knowing nods, and every so often the jokes land. Like some of the aforementioned films it all becomes so ridiculous that you’re swept along with it, providing you haven’t turned it off.

Stay around and you’ll find a few familiar faces among the mostly amateur or little known performers – Roger Stiles from Coronation Street as the dad, Uncle Peter from Reeves And Mortimer, Faith Dingle from Emmerdale, and Martin from The Human Centipede Part II. With this being a mostly low budget affair, even though British audiences will recognise some of the cast, we do still have to deal with some dodgy acting, some terrible accents, and an overall cheap feel. Thankfully most of the special effects, ranging from practical blood spurts to puppetry and claymation, all get the full attention they deserve – it’s clear this is where the money went. While still cheap, it’s all tactile and done with love and reverence in a way that makes the glossy big budget films feel sterile. You can stride through any number of holes in the plot and asking why there isn’t any security inside or in the grounds of the central mansion (given these are supposed to be the most important people in the country) is futile. I imagine The Daily Mail would have a field day if they got in with their cameras. Actually, The Daily Mail would probably cover it up or blame those loony liberal lefties of being behind it all. Likewise, no-one in the film seems to know how to defend themselves, standing and apparently willing to receive a blade to the eye or a bullet up the ass, and everybody apparently loves to show off their bubbling, gushing wounds before they die.

The film will succeed or fail depending on your love of the different types and tropes of exploitation. We have a number of funny, over the top kills, but then we have an overly long intermission scene which feels too much like a nod to Tarantino. The soundtrack is decent enough and while much of the dialogue ranges from pleasingly puerile to predictable and character names fall into the old trap of naming characters after real life notorious figures or famous fictional characters, it does feature one of the best lines of the year – taken in its context of course -‘missed both me legs’. There are actually some nice shots – near the climax as one battered protagonist stumbles from one end of a room to another and slumps on the floor, followed by a group of axe wielding adult babies is of particular note.

It all leads to a bloody climax a la Braindead, but with added shit.   If you’re a fan of Guest House Paradiso’s vomit-filled climax, then you’ll probably enjoy the closing minutes of Attack Of The Adult Babies – though it’s not the mouth expelling fluid here. It’s even funnier because of the stiff upper lip, super posh high society delivery of the lines, cheesy as many of them are. Just when you think that’s the end, we have time for some trippy stuff which is a bit silly and the film may have been better served without it. Just when you think that’s the end, we get some claymation and a final few minutes which goes all out buck nuts with giant shit Gods, rewinding film, and an alien spacecraft heading towards Earth. In other words, Brunt is having a whale of a time and the rest of us are welcome to join in.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Attack Of The Adult Babies – or am I the only one who has taken the plunge?

Best Music (Scoring) – 1975

Official Nominations: Jaws. The Wind And The Lion. Birds Do It Bees Do It. Bite The Bullet. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Barry Lyndon. Funny Lady. Tommy.

There are a very small handful of movie scores, or musical cues that everyone knows; Most of them were written by John Williams. Jaws may be the most recognizable of them all. Doesn’t matter if you’ve seen the movie or not, you just know it. While the two note melody to symbolize the shark’s arrival was basically nicked from Bambi, it works brilliantly here, and Williams cranks up the tension by having it build and become more frenzied as it progresses. It isn’t all scares though, it also features plenty of more subdued moments which Williams would recycle and hone in later Spielberg and Lucas productions.

The Wind And The Lion is in with a shot of winning in any other year, a boisterous, heroic sounding theme with enough Eastern mystery to enchant Western audiences. Birds Do It, Bees Do It, remarkably isn’t a camp 1940s musical. No, it’s a documentary about animals fucking, featuring scenes of animals fucking. Yep. The score is bizarre – on one hand, it’s way too huge to be associated with animals frolicking about and feels completely out of place, on the other hand there are many twee moments which feel like something from a Tom And Jerry cartoon – if an animal falls over, you’ll get a flute going ‘weeeeeooo’ downwards for example. It’s a musical laugh track. Also, it’s a 1974 documentary, so it should’t be here.

Bite The Bullet feels outdated, a score two decades late for a film set seven decades earlier – some good moments, but doesn’t feel right for the Seventies. Nitzche’s score for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest shouldn’t work, but it somehow does – the weird saw playing and glass circling with spiked percussion sounding like a mind in free fall, childlike, almost anti-music – yet it fits the film wonderfully. Barry Lyndon picked up the win for best Adapted Score – it’s great, merging classical pieces you already know from various eras, while Tommy is as good as you would expect from The Who. It’s not my favourite album from the band, but it has its moments. Funny Lady is wank.

My Winner: Jaws

My Nominations: Jaws. One Flew Over The Cucko’s Nest. Barry Lyndon. Tommy. Monty Python And The Holy Grail. Deep Red. Katie Tippel. Lisztomania. The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I add a few obvious picks on my list – if you have Tommy and Barry Lyndon, then you have to have Lisztomania, with Yes providing the virtuoso licks. You can’t mention music in 1975 movies without mentioning Goblin – their soundtrack for Deep Red is one of their best, and head and shoulders above most scores which usually get nominated in this category. Similarly, there’s no getting away from the strength and influence of The Rocky Horror Picture ShowKatie Tippel has many good moments, mystery and romance in equal measure, while Monty Python And The Holy Grail probably shouldn’t be nominated given that it was mainly pulled together from existing sources, but there are enough original pieces and it’s edited to the film so skillfully that you wouldn’t know otherwise.

My Winner: Jaws

Let us know your winner in the comments!