As the music industry is busy writing its own obituary, music on film keeps getting better and better. The year's biggest music-on-film hits were not necessarily original tunes (Wagner probably provided the most memorable aural experience at theaters), the soundtracks of "Drive" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" provided new ear candy.
The Electro-Pop Mood Music of "Drive" is a Hipster Hit
As Ryan Gosling navigated the streets of LA with the greatest of ease, a sexy electronic score pulsed through the screen. The Playlist has a list of the songs that set the mood for Mr. Gosling's sexy cruising. The very Euro indie, which got much praise when it debuted at Cannes and took a home a directing award for Nicolas Winding Refn, got just as much attention for its soundtrack led by Europop with breezy female vocals.
Novelty Tamil Song Beats Bollywood at Its Own Game
It's tough for the Tamil industry to get attention over the persistent star-studded noise of Bollywood, but with "Why This Kolaveri Di?" (translation, according to Wikipedia: Why this murderous rage, girl?), the Tamil film industry caused quite a splash. The song, whose YouTube view count is just about to surpass 30 million, is sung by Tamil film star Dhanush and will be featured in the upcoming Tamil film "3." The song's simple, silly, and (unfortunately?) rather catchy.
Wagner Provides the Score for Lars von Trier's End of the World
Sure, von Trier's most recent film "Melancholia" takes on the ambitious task of documenting the end of the world, but the real reason to see this film on the big screen wasn't to take in the larger-than-life obliteration of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kirsten Dunst. The end of the world, according to von Trier, should come with an Earth-shatteringly loud rendition of Wagner's prelude to "Tristen and Isolde." It was the fingers-to-the-ears gravitas of von Trier pumping up the volume on Wagner that made "Melancholia" one of 2011's greatest theatrical experiences.
Jason Segel Asks the Age-Old Question: Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?
Jason Segel may not be in the good graces of all Muppet purists. Jason Bellamy at Press Play gets angry at Segel for excising the Muppets from the musical numbers original to "The Muppets," saying, "For a guy who so clearly gets the Muppets, Segel should be the first person to realize how utterly un-Hensonian this is. Henson’s Muppet movies are full of big musical performances, but always with the Muppets at the center of the action." And in the case of the original power ballad "Man or Muppet," Segel is center stage, but the song is unbelievably catchy. The surprise appearance by "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons was a welcome surprise, too.
The Ambient Score for "The Tree of Life" Sets the Mood for Terrence Malick's Triumphant Return
While many were confused by "Tree of Life" (Sean Penn among them), Malick's contemplative, often silent scenes were accompanied by a score that set the viewer at ease in an otherwise disarming film. The Playlist has a list of all 37 songs featured in the film, many of them with audio.. .so press play and start up your screensaver to be taken back to one of the year's most powerful film experiences.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Prove They're the Film Composers du Jour
Spending the 90's singing along to Nine Inch Nails records, expressing our desire to "f**k [someone] like an animal," I don't know that we would ever expect Trent Reznor to grace the stage of the Oscars to accept an Academy Award for Best Score. David Fincher has surely taken a liking to Reznor's work with Atticus Rose. The team's cover of "Immigrant Song," with vocals by Karen O made the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" trailer one of the most talked about three minutes of the year.
Ludovic Bource Fills in the Silence in "The Artist"
Ludovic Bource, composer of "The Artist," had his work cut out for him: keep 21st-century film audiences interested in a silent film. Though it's ultimately held up by some really great performances from its lead actors, the current the Oscar Best Picture frontrunner owes at least some of its success to Bource's score. This past week, Billboard reported that Bource might take his score on the road, doing a series of live performances of the score for film audiences in the world's more cosmopolitan cities.