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Mar 19, 2011

The Desert Island CD Blog-a-thon

About a year ago, bloggers from all over the world took part in the Desert Island DVD blog-a-thon hosted by Fandango Groovers Movie Blog. It was a smashing success and a fun exercise, in which we were forced to select eight DVDs to take to our desert island, knowing those would be the last we'd be able to watch for all time. This was my entry.

Smart feller that he is - and fresh off of a post about the "52 Most Iconic Use of Pop Songs in Movies" post, which no doubt inspired this idea - Castor Troy of Anomalous Material decided it was time for a similar challenge. Namely, the title you see above. Here are the details:
"The concept is very simple, you are stranded on a desert island with only one CD (and a CD player etc...). What are 12 tracks that you would want to have with you? While those can be pop song, instrumentals etc... we are all movie bloggers so there is one requirement that each track comes from a movie soundtrack. Of course, you should give a little blurb for each to explain why as well as try to post YouTubes if possible/necessary."
The official post, where you can find links to everyone else's lists, is here: http://www.anomalousmaterial.com/movies/2011/03/desert-island-cd/

Longtime readers of Blog Cabins won't be surprised to see a number of the songs I've chosen, as I've put them up here (or on Facebook) from time to time - songs that give me inspiration of one sort or another. The ones you've not seen, though, will fit the same mold: songs that I could listen to time and time again - I should hope so, since they'll be all that I have. I wonder how much of it is coincidence that more than half are instrumental - perhaps they're just more timeless to my ears. Here they be, in no special order:

1. First, some of the familiar. Yes, I'm a dead sucker for the accordion. I'm also deathly in love with Amelie. Combine the two (and some beautiful work by Yann Tiersen) and you get the theme song, "La Valse D'Amelie."

2. I gave Castor trouble for putting this song on his "Iconic" list, since (shamefully) it was featured very little in the actual film. Still, it's there, and it's the best damn song on The Matrix soundtrack by a country mile: Rob Dougan's "Clubbed to Death." Blast this song as loud as you can, every time - it only makes it better.

3. That one's a bit heavy, so how 'bout something a little lighter? Hans Zimmer's "You're So Cool," aka the True Romance theme.

4. Before you get freaked out by all these instrumental tracks, here are some lyrics and singing for you. An older track that I'd all but forgotten about until I saw Adventureland, I fell back in love with INXS (well, especially this track) after hearing "Don't Change" through older ears. Quite possibly my favorite song from the early 80s, and I'm shocked at how well it ages. Awesome song to close out the film, to boot.

5. This portion of Beethoven's 7th might well be a cliched movie song at this point, but I really don't care (for the record, I'm choosing its use in The Fall). It's stunningly gorgeous, and builds to an awesome crescendo. I dare you not to like it.

6. Speaking of crescendos, this song works its way to its climax with such mastery. As I've stated elsewhere, if I ever had to run through a wall, I would listen to this Trevor Jones' Last of the Mohicans epic "Promontory" as preparation. Also used to great effect in an epic Nike football commercial some years back.

7. Next up is one that I know will be a popular pick - heck, I already saw it on one list (at The List, appropriately). It's the song that managed to make Fight Club even cooler than we thought it could be, ending the film with mucho gusto: The Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?"

8. Another song with a sweeping crescendo? You bet. And besides, what good is a movie song list without some Clint Mansell. Perhaps his most famous and loved song to date, The Fountain's "Death Is the Road to Awe."

9. Okay, so I'm not exactly the biggest Smiths fan, but this is a treeeemendous choice, and I'll tell you why. First, it's a great song (naturally), being put to extensive use in a favorite from the last few years - (500) Days of Summer. But that's not the genius move. The best part - noticeable to those with a good audio memory - is that this song serves double duty, as The Dream Academy (yeah, who?) had their (instrumental) cover version used in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (the museum scene). I'll be honest, nostalgia and sentimentality actually have me enjoying that one more, but I'll give a nod to the original.

10. The Beach is not a great movie. Ambitious and pretty good, but like many a Danny Boyle flick, it goes off the rails in the last act. Nevertheless, I have a soft spot for it for perfectly showcasing (and perhaps introducing me to?) Moby's "Porcelain." Shut up - I don't care if you don't think it's cool to like Moby songs anymore.

11. How could I not have a song from one of the greatest soundtracks of all time (and one of my top three movies)? Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. But then...which song to use? I could choose any of about eight of them, but Urge Overkill's cover of Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" barely edges out Chuck Berry (probably the only regard in which they can say that). Personifies cool.

12.Damnit, just one spot left. What to choose?!?! I could easily go for some Donnie Darko ("Mad World") or double up by taking Fiona Apple's cover of The Beatles "Across the Universe" (Pleasantville), but in the end, I'm taking The Who's "A Quick One While He's Away." It might not even be my favorite song on the Rushmore soundtrack (there are many to choose from), but it's a great pick for a few reasons. One, I don't want short songs, really - if I'm stuck with one CD, punk music is off the table, as a 32-minute disc would just end up pissing me off more than anything. But not only is this track nearly nine minutes, it's like six songs in one, what with all of the transitions. Plus, I need another nod to classic rock, and I could stand to listen to this more and more. "We have a remedy!" (See how I snuck honorable mentions in there, too?)

Too instrumental for you? Just right? At the least, how 'bout that representation of films? Let me hear your thoughts on my Desert Island CD in the comments.

19 people have chosen wisely: on "The Desert Island CD Blog-a-thon"

Jack L said...

Great choices Fletch

I love the True Romance one, you know, it always reminds me of the piece of music from Malick's Badlands. So very similar...

I still haven't seen Amelie, is it really that great? Should I really see it?

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Fletch...
Nice List Of stranded on a desert songs...I'am not sure if I will be participating, but I will be reading as the links "pour" in...Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-D

Castor said...

Sweet Desert Island CD Fletch :) We definitely some similar musical taste as far as I can see. I actually thought of putting "Mad World" on my CD and Fiona Apple's "Across The Universe" at the end of Pleasantville is also one of my favorite movie songs (now I want to listen to it again!)

Love Moby's Porcelain, didn't even know it was used in a movie. Too bad it was The Beach lol

TheScarletSp1der said...

Moby's Porcelain...good job! I like the song, so...I'm glad u put it on your list. Matrix. Also a great choice!

Castor, I forgot about Mad World! Ooh!

Colleen said...

I'm a HUGE Smiths fan so I love both The Dream Academy's version and the original in 500 Days of Summer. I actually have four album frames that I change every year and this year I'm displaying my Smiths albums. I didn't know Moby's Porcelain was in a film, I still dig that song. Great list!

The Mad Hatter said...

Lord-ee amigo! There is a lot to love on this mix, not the least of which has to be the choice of "You're So Cool"

And for what it's worth, when can never hear "Porcelain" enough.

Robb said...

Fun list! Let's see, a few for me off the top of my head:

Theme from "Road To Perdition" - gotta have some Thomas Newman, and Shawshank is a bit obvious.

Kyle's Mom's a B**ch from South Park movie, because even on a desert island you have to laugh.

Let The River Run from "Working Girl" because I have to have an 80s song, and this one is infectious. Maybe the theme for "St. Elmo's Fire" instead?

Come What May from "Moulin Rouge". As if I could make a list without a Baz influence.

"Can't Go Back Now" by the Weepies. This is cheating because I knew it as a song before I saw it in a movie, but it was used in "Adam" so it counts.

The title song from "Were The World Mine".

Harry Nilsson's "Coconut", which was in "The Ice Storm"

This was supposed to be short but I keep thinking of more. The theme from "Meet Joe Black" is great, and need some James Horner, maybe The Wedding from "Deep Impact", or how about the theme for "Good Will Hunting" (Elfman), and what is that whistle song Tarantino used in Kill Bill?

M. Hufstader said...

I definitely read through this list and then went and downloaded Clubbed to Death. That is all. It's epic as hell!

Jason Soto said...

Interesting list. Despite my urge to punch every character in "500 Days of Summer". Ugh. Anyway, no "Don't You Forget About Me?"

Anonymous said...

Where Is My Mind again, I thought I would be the only one!

Cool or not, Porcelain came making my close to my list, just didn‘t make the final cut.

moviesandsongs365 said...

I almost went with Moby's porcelain too, decided against it at the last moment. Have the same Pulp Fiction song. I'd forgotten about that instrumental piece from True romance.

Don't forget to check out my Desert island disc ( :

Fletch said...

@ Jack - thanks! I never tire of "You're So Cool."

As for Amelie...I don't know - are you in Paris? Cause I heard a lot of Parisians got pissed at Jeunet for making the city (or at least that part of it) appear too clean. Not sure why it would be a bad thing to romanticize it all, but whatever. I absolutely love Amelie.

DeeDee - thanks - me too! Just getting caught up today. :)

Castor - Gracias, and yes, we do have awesome taste, don't we? Love seeing all of the love for "Porcelain" roll in. Remains my favorite Moby track. Those two honorable mentions (Mad World and Fiona's Across the Universe) just barely missed. Though I've seen some people (Hatter, I wanna say) exclude songs that were only in opening/closing credits, which I believe would nix Fiona.

@ TheScarletSp1der - Why, thank you! Yes, The Matrix has gotten some love in this exercise. One of the last great pop soundtracks, if you ask me.

@ Colleen - See, I dig the instrumental Dream Academy version from Ferris, but I listened to the full version once and thought it pretty terrible. Overall, the original has it totally beat.

@ Hatter - Not surprising - I think we're pretty similar, musically speaking. :)

@ Robb - If I'm using 'Coconut,' I'm going with the Reservoir Dogs usage. ;)

Love that you put a South Park song in there. What, no Uncle Fucker? I saw some people put in songs from Team America - I could definitely go for some "Freedom Isn't Free."

LOL @ the must-have Baz line. I don't love it like you, I'm sure, but if I'm going Moulin Rouge, I'm going with the opener, for no other reason than it gives me a mental image of Jim Broadbent singing his part: "can can can!!"

@ M. Hufstader - Good for you - Clubbed to Death is one of the coolest songs...EVER! I know Castor's with me there.

@ Jason - Sorry, but that song ("Don't You Forget About Me") is overplayed and overdone and overrated and overeverything. Seriously, it really is a good song, but it does not define the 80s for me like it seems to for so many others. Asked to name my favorite songs from the era, I'm not sure how long it would take me to name that one, but it'd be awhile.

@ Andy - haha, yeah, I think like 80% of us have Where Is My Mind? on our lists...

@ moviesandsongs365 - Sweet, some more UO love. I fell in love with "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" from the first time I heard it.

Have no fear, I'm making my way through all of the lists today (I hope!).

Jack L said...

No I'm not in Paris, but I've been there many times and I have to admit that films that romanticise it annoy me, it is far from being the most romantic city in the world.
In fact, it's kind of gross...

I suppose I should see Amelie since everyone else seems to have loved it, I'm always wary of popular films though, probably because I'm such a snob ;)

Fletch said...

@ Jack - well, then I can see the cleanliness of Amelie's Paris bugging you as well, but try not to let it drag you down too much - it's really a lovely story, shot and edited and acted so perfectly. It's a wonderful puzzle of a movie that Jeunet's put together - not in the sense that it's a mystery, just in the sense that all of the pieces fit together so well.

Ross McG said...

boy Fletch you do like your instrumentals. and ones with great build-up to boot. if that Mohicans one doesnt send shivers down your spine then you should probably get your spine tested. the hell with Heat, Mohicans and The Insider still Mann's best films for me.
was there a memo that everyone had to pick Where Is My Mind that i didnt receive? bit of an obvious choice i would have thought.
really like that True Romance music, and the Fountain bit too. Even if you hate the Fountain, which i have to say i didnt, you cant not enjoy the music.

Nicholas Prigge said...

"You're So Cool." Sigh. I know what I'm listening to on repeat the rest of the afternoon. Nice list.

Marc said...

Always been a big fan of Porcelain, but I very much like Clubbed to Death as it fits so well with The Matrix.

But for Fight Club, I've always loved the This is Your Life track. Man, should have put that on my list:)

Fletch said...

@ Ross - Sorry, I will make sure to put you on the distribution list so you don't miss those important memos next time. ;)

Funny you say that about the instrumentals; I know I'm about 50/50 on that, but outside of the Mansell and Mohicans one, none are really what you'd call 'score'-type music. I was surprised at how many scores I saw on people's lists. Good as they can be, I would just want more variety. To each their own, I spose.

@ Nicholas - And who could blame you. Pretty sure every time "You're So Cool" comes up on my iPod, I listen to it twice. Can't help it.

@ Marc - My favorite instrumental from Fight Club is the one that plays over the opening credits. Reminds me, that's always bugged me about that soudntrack - that particular piece of music is near impossible to find on it, tucked away in the middle of some random track.

Novroz said...

You have a great list Fletch!
You are the first I see with Beethoven on the list,what a great taste of music. I am more into Vivaldi tho.