Saturday, November 12, 2011

Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

It’s no secret that The Social Network was my favorite film of 2010. With one of the hottest casts (Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Justin Timberlake and Rooney Mara), helmed by one of the most celebrated and critically acclaimed directors (David Fincher), an Academy Award winning script by my favorite screenwriter (Aaron Sorkin) and an Academy Award winning Best Original Score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, it’s easy to understand why The Social Network is one of my favorite films of the past decade. I mention this because I would like to discus Reznor’s and Ross’ score.

Earlier this year, my friend Adam and I were discussing the Cannes Film Festival when he brought up the film Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks and Christina Hendricks. Besides The Rum Diary, Drive was the only other highly anticipated film I absolutely wanted to see this year. Before Adam could say anything I warned him to not reveal any details because I wanted to be completely surprised. What Adam said next lingered in my mind for the next couple of months.

“The soundtrack will blow your mind away,” Adam said. “My friend who went to the Cannes screening can’t stop talking about it. He says it’s as good as if not better than The Social Network.”

My only response, “Blasphemy!”

Prior to last year I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would own a film score unless it was by Enrico Morricone or John Williams. Then after I saw The Social Network it made complete sense. Not only did I finally see a movie whose soundtrack completely mesmerized me from beginning to end, but a score I found myself mimicking on a regular basis. So much so that for one month straight I always had The Social Network score in my truck and it took the #1 slot in my six CD changer. Certain friends mocked me for having a car filled with “nothing but soundtracks” (along with Scott Pilgrim and The Runaways), but most understood why- the music really moved me.

That’s exactly how I feel with Cliff Martinez’s score and the rest of the Drive soundtrack. From the moment I walked into the theater and saw Drive I knew I was in for a treat. Drive doesn’t disappoint on any level. Everything about Drive is fantastic, especially the soundtrack. The vibe and mood it creates is arguably the best reason to go see the film besides the terrific acting. DRIVE IS THE BEST SOUNDTRACK OF THE YEAR!

Drive captivates the eeriness and gloominess of Los Angeles perfectly with an 80’s synth friendly score. Once the film begins you feel transported back in time to the 1980s and it almost feels surreal until you realize it’s actually modern day. Martinez manipulates the music so effectively that you don’t even realize how emotional you are getting while watching the film. Even now as I listen to the music a surge of emotions overtake me and that’s when you know a soundtrack/score is successful. Former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Cliff Martinez has been capturing audiences ears for over two decades as a film composer starting with Steven Soderbergh’s critically acclaimed Sex, Lies, and Videotape and include Wonderland, Traffic and Contagion.

Usually when any member of RHCP, whether past or present, is involved with a project I’m always happy. It’s such a minor thing, but very true. Whether it’s Chickenfoot (Chad Smith) or members of the band acting (Flea and Anthony Kiedis), I definitely get my entertainment’s worth. Martinez miraculously captures what most modern day soundtracks fail to do- take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride.

At times the music feels reminiscent of Scarface and even Grand Theft Auto with all the synth sounds, but that’s okay. The first track “Nightcall” by Kavinsky & Lovefoxx is ridiculously good. No matter how many times I hear it I will always associate it with the film Drive. Every single second sounds so remarkable I don’t want it to end and for four minutes and twenty seconds it doesn’t disappoint. Even the other night I was watching The Lincoln Lawyer with one of my lady friends and heard the song (Cliff Martinez also did that soundtrack as well) during a club scene. Immediately I blurted out, “No way! They have my favorite song from Drive in here. Awesome!” while my lady friend just gave me a look.

What can I say? I’m a music nerd and I’m damn well proud of it. Drive is a slick, sexy soundtrack that gets better with each listen. Thus far I can easily say I have listened to the soundtrack about a dozen times already. No matter how high your expectations are with the soundtrack, somehow it manages to meet and exceed your wildest dreams.

The vintage keyboard sound captivates and catapults the listener from one track to the next. The surreal and sublime “Under Your Spell” by Desire continues the heavenly flow only to be surpassed by “A Real Hero” by College featuring Electric Youth. The more I listen to the first three tracks, the more compelled I feel to read early Brett Easton Ellis books like Less Than Zero and The Informers.

The incredible “Oh My Love” by Riz Ortolani featuring Katyna Ranieri consumes and overtakes my soul with this compelling orchestrated modern-day masterpiece. This is followed up by the wordless “Tick of the Clock” by The Chromatics, which continues stimulating your pulsating heart as tension continues escalating throughout the song.

The remaining tracks on Drive were all composed by Cliff Martinez and some of the notable ones to check out are “He Had a Good Time,” “Kick Your Teeth,” “Where’s the Deluxe Version,” and “See You in Four.” My three favorite tracks by Martinez are “Kick Your Teeth,” “After the Chase,” and “Bride of the Deluxe.”

If there is one soundtrack you’re thinking about buying, whether on iTunes or on CD, Drive is a must buy! Both the film and soundtrack are simply stunning masterpieces that need to be embraced.  And yes, a copy of Drive has earned it’s well deserved spot in the #1 slot in my six CD changer because nothing compares to it.


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