September 24th, 2008

Whale fluke

Every unreleased Jerry Goldsmith score

I sometimes call the gang at Film Score Monthly "the crazy archivists." I say that with fondness; they're passionate about preserving interesting film music.

This might be a reminder list of stuff they'd like to release: columnist Scott Bettencourt (who, under another name, used to write for producer Joel Silver) lists every single unreleased Jerry Goldsmith score (at least that he knows of), plus several scores that could have more music released.

There are some wonderful movies and scores here, such as Seconds (1966), the John Frankenheimer science fiction film about a man who has surgery as part of a secret experiment to reset his life as someone else. (Post-surgery, the man is played by Rock Hudson; as Joe Bob Briggs has pointed out, it's telling that a closeted man is pretending to be someone he's not.) I saw Seconds once on cable about 10 years ago; a musical moment that's stayed with me is for when Hudson tells a member of the experiment's team that he's changed his mind and wants to go back to his old life. The music distorts, like the tape has been stretched and warped. It sounds like the effect was achieved exactly that way. Goldsmith liked to do unexpected things, musically.

Then there's stuff like 1994's I.Q., not that great but with some cute moments (plus I love the line "She probably thinks schtupping is a town in Bavaria"), and flat-out awful flicks like that bad adaptation of Damnation Alley. It's a reminder Goldsmith was a workhorse, taking on all sorts of flicks, even bad ones; he apparently liked scoring bad films, because he could try improving them with his music. (The acme of that: The Swarm, absolutely horrible and laughable but with an insanely clever and exciting score. With a joke: his main theme opens with a B note followed by two E notes.)
  • Current Music
    Jerry Goldsmith's score to "Masada" (in my head)
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iAm iSaid

Getting over myself

Yesterday was a fairly productive day: library time, grocery shopping, and a nice walk around Laurelhurst Park (where my Aunt Nancy and my uncle Bill Weare got married, by the way).

But I didn't feel productive. And I was noticing things through a more-negative-than-normal filter: the lake looks ugly, I thought, which is true, because it has an algae bloom that the city is trying to knock down. I had to make an effort to notice that the lawn, the trees and the sky were still looking good, and that I was feeling healthy and having a good walk.

The thing is, I'm looking for work. I haven't been working, and financially speaking I haven't needed to work -- which allowed me to take a vacation last month, and that was good for my mental health -- but I'm getting antsy to work again.

So in June, I left a job that was making me crazy. I can't let not working make me crazy. Temp jobs will happen, as a stopgap, as I look for something more permanent. And not-crazy-making.

So I thought Chris? GET OVER YOURSELF. That, and a short-but-good chat last night with rafaela and slipjig, helped. (Hey, blubeagle: slipjig had a thing for Jane Wiedlin from the Go-Gos back in the day, too!)

If I get mopey, call me out on it. I hope you won't have to.
iAm iSaid

Oh, if only Neil Diamond had ever done a Bond song...*

The following's from an e-mail I sent Fatboy Roberts (of Cort and Fatboy on KUFO) after he'd talked on-air about great songs used to open films. He said that none of the songs at the start of James Bond films, with the exception of Paul and Linda McCartney's "Live and Let Die," were great.

Even as a Bond appreciater, I've gotta agree with you that the Bond title songs, while hella entertaining, usually aren't great. (Alicia, a Bond fan to the point of reading lots of Fleming and Connery's-the-only-Bond opinionating, introduced me to Goldfinger, and made a point of fast-forwarding through the opening titles. I think she called the song boring.) They ARE great for blasting other ear worms out of your head, though! I had a Britney Spears song stuck in my head once, but I got rid of it with Tom Jones' "Thunderball." I have the 30th-anniversary 2-CD set of each song up through "License to Kill," plus the Anthony Newley demo of "Goldfinger," the Shirley Bassey and Dionne Warwick versions of "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," and the first, unused "You Only Live Twice" that was about gambling. Fun stuff.

Maybe the only great John Barry Bond song isn't even for the opening titles, and that's "We Have All the Time in the World" from On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Wasn't that the last song Louis Armstrong ever recorded?

The corporate atmosphere in which artists must write the Bond songs doesn't encourage greatness. I'd heard once that when John Barry was working with Tim Rice on the song for Octopussy, supposedly he told Rice to write the lyrics for nine songs. This was because the film had eight producers, and Barry figured each one would try to justify his or her paycheck by vetoing a song idea. Apparently that's exactly what happened.
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* I'm kidding. But I say this: Please let there NEVER be a Bond song by Oasis. I had that idea recently and thought it horribly wrong.