A Fantastical Approach to Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: Soundtrack
Full disclosure: I have not seen this movie. That being said, I grew out of the stage of being a 23-year old person mere days ago and feel confident in my ability to return to that mental state. Also, I enjoy the prospect, nay, the challenge of imagining the placement of each song within the film. Therefore, I present you with the Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: Soundtrack with the Kaitlin McNabb interpretation.
The soundtrack is pretty solid for a comic book inspired film about 20 year olds. I think the most clichéd track is potentially the Rolling Stones Under my Thumb, and even then it’s hard to be that cliché because the Stones are great and should be on every soundtrack. The listing includes a heavy dose from the bands in the film, Sex Bob-Omb and Clash at Demonhead, which are tune written by Beck and Broken Social Scene respectively. They feature catchy punk tunes that are the perfect fit for a fresh out of the teenage years band and compliment the rest of the soundtrack. It is easy to see where those songs lie in the movie, but the challenge is to imagine where the rest would be in the movie, thus I have highlighted the rest.
Plumtree is a now defunct band reigning from Halifax, Nova Scotia and is a quintessential part of this soundtrack; after all, the main character received his namesake from said inspired song. Plumtree’s Scott Pilgrim is simplistic, hard and borderline charming with its incessant chorus stating ‘I’ve liked you for a thousand years’ and then more emphatically nagging ‘a thousand years!’. The chunky guitar lines create a very catchy beat which accompany the near anthemic lyrics and presence of the song itself. I envision this song placed over a slow motion walking scene of Ramona, potentially Scott’s first glimpse of her, while Scott lustfully leers at her. It perfectly sets the backdrop of feeling and intention of Scott’s seemingly immature and possibly naive heart.
Frank Black, iconic for his work with the Pixies, created this obvious addition way back in 1993. I Heard Ramona Sing, within the context of this movie, is the song that lets you know there is love. The song plays as a calming and familiar breeze; one that washes over and makes everything better and alright, even when the worst has or could happen. It could being losing a job or battling seven evil exes, but either way it’s worth it because she’s there, Ramona’s there, and everything is just fine.
Beachwood Sparks with their version of By Your Side conjures an immediate mental image of Scott Pilgrim left alone, in the rain, watching the love of his life stroll away. The song is so incredibly beautiful, lead mostly by the tragic and heartbreaking lyrics, but also with Beachwood Sparks sombre twist on an already melancholy subject. This song is a wonderful addition to the soundtrack because it gives it depth and imagery, making one a part of the movie.
With an injection of garage rock, the Black Lips O Katrina burns in with a blistering paced song that can only garner the mental of image of some sort of scene of speed. Chased by cars? Running after girls? I guess watching the film can only prove this, but the rapid pace and quick lyrics can only convince my mind that this song was built over a scene of frenzy.
Quintessential T Rex, a must for director Edgar Wright. Appropriately used, T Rex’s Teenage Dream is just that, a dreamy, fantastical, operatic number that makes one’s body sway hypnotically and mindlessly wonder where their days of wasted youth went. I see two scenes for this song either a) heartbreak. Complete and utter heartbreak. Everything has been defeated, everything completed but nothing achieved or b) slow motion fighting. I might have a thing for slow motion scenes, but the complementary nature of this song and the idea of a young adult having to battle and defeat seven evil exes is the complete statement that the teenage years are over. Welcome to adulthood, your physical and emotional weapons are to the left.
The Bluetones Sleazy Bed Track continues the theme of early twenties melancholy, despair and defeat. It is not the strongest point on the soundtrack, but that is more of a compliment to the compilation of the soundtrack rather than a slam at the band. This song’s stripped down and pained nature probably emphasizes a particularly well chosen scene, and with all the talk of taking over shoes and laying down, I suppose this scene will feature a bed.
And the staged violence will be set to Blood Red Shoes It’s Getting Boring By The Sea. I wish this song had a harder, shriller voice to accent the aggressiveness and recklessness of the emotional and lyrical intent. However, the point is still made: this song was made for fighting.
The Clash at Demonhead performs the song Black Sheep which was originally recorded for this soundtrack by Metric. The song is very good, as is Metric. Hard intros followed by a lighter, catchier chorus and always very well thought out and intricate lyrics make it great. Through a little research, I found that the movie features a Clash at Demonhead version where character Envy Adams sings herself, which would probably provide a level of reality and charisma to the film that a pre-recorded can sometimes not deliver.
As a Canadian who was born in the eighties, in a small Ontario town and gradually went through musical education, I discovered and listened to Broken Social Scene sometime around my university days and immediately fell in love. It is hard to describe the beauty of their music as it is a compilation of all indie/alternative Canadian music set to a myriad of musical sounds. Sometimes intense pop beats, or edgy political hard rock or in the case of Anthems For a Seventeen Year Old Girl, lush, intensified folk mixed with distortion. I love this song and have assigned it to so many of my teenage faults and successes that I can’t imagine the scene it will be used for. Although, for some reason, I see starry-eyed lovers crossing paths in some form of whimsical forest. No?
With a nod to the perfect soundtrack band, The Rolling Stones makes a classic statement with Under My Thumb. This song always makes me smirk. A smile that is shy but confident; one that reveals that very nature of my pleasing thoughts while keeping them secret. It’s smug and dirty and I picture it on the face of a conceded and convoluted ex, right as he sees his nemesis, the one Scott Pilgrim.
Now ending my imaginary trip through the movie world of Scott Pilgrim, I must say I had an excellent time listening to the soundtrack. If and when I go see the movie, I’m sure the soundtrack will absolutely come to life and have the songs take on more personal meanings than the fake ones I have attached. So go forth and listen to this soundtrack, savouring all the old treasures it holds and cherish the time that was taken to create more than just a list of songs but an in depth and personal look at who Scott Pilgrim is.
– Kaitlin McNabb