Soundtrack

Vinyl Friday #19: “Dudes: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Album”

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I’ve watched all of Penelope Spheeris’ films time and time again. I love her early documentaries (The Decline of Western Civilization, of course), her sense of humour in films like Wayne’s World and her attention to music as seen in Suburbia. I love most of the things she does… besides Dudes. Now I have to say there is nothing wrong with this 1987 film, but it is unusual in a not-always-great way. I mostly watched this movie because I was dead-obsessed with Jon Cryer and The Vandals at that moment in time. This film combined both of those loves, but it was such a bizarre (and slightly boring) film that I never bothered to watch it again.

The soundtrack is pretty hit-and-miss. Highlights are, of course, “Urban Struggle” and an early version of Jane’s Addiction’s “Mountain Song”. But personally I was never into metal that much, and that’s what dominates this album. Bands like W.A.S.P. and Megadeth are fine enough, but I think I was a misled child believing that like many of Spheeris’ films, there would be a lot of early-80’s punk music. Though I never stopped to consider the fact that this movie was released in 87 – much too late for a soundtrack to be similar to Suburbia. I have to admit, I grabbed this soundtrack merely because I loved the cover and vaguely remembered watching the movie (of which I only could recall the opening scenes).

Yes, this was definitely an impulse buy. Sorry, Penelope, but I probably have only listened to this only twice in its entirety, mostly praying for the next bearable track to come along.

I’m always surprised about what shows up in the strangest of places. This album came from Oshkosh, where my best friends used to go to university. Oshkosh is pretty much a nondescript city filled with mostly students and chain restaurants. But there’s an antique mall there that’s fantastic (or it was, as it’s mostly shabby-chic business now). There is a stall I always made sure to check when I made the trip. For the most part the seller had the usual knick-knacks. But there was always plenty of surprising albums there to dig through. Of all places, this is where I found this soundtrack, and Fear’s The Record. Clearly someone was a  big Lee Ving fan (the man makes an appearance in Dudes).

I grew up hating living in Northern Wisconsin, but clearly there were plenty of people around that I needed to meet. Only I suppose they were at least twenty years older than me if they were buying Fear records. Another pain of being born too late.

This isn’t my favourite sountrack ever, but it’s still something I’m glad of owning. Even though it’s not very unusual, it looks nice. Mostly because Jon Cryer looks pretty damn good in that cowboy outfit. Just saying.

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Vinyl Friday #5: “Pretty in Pink: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

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From the opening drums on “If You Leave” to the closing trembles of the mandolin on “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” the soundtrack for Pretty in Pink is front to back everything I love.

There’s something to be said for a record you can share your soul with. I know that’s a statement most people wouldn’t allow for a compilation soundtrack, but many of John Hughes’ soundtracks were different than most. Each was like a love letter to his movies and characters that could be shared with fans.

As a teenager, I deeply related to Andie Walsh. Not the whole “being torn between two men” thing (because let’s face it, I was no Molly Ringwald when I was 17), but the sort of inability to fit in knowing you were destined for something better. As the Suzanne Vega song says, “f you want me you can find me / Left of center off of the strip / In the outskirts and in the fringes / In the corner out of the grip.” It takes an outsider to know one. Plus she worked at an ultra-cool record store.

Still my dream job.

In 2012, there was a special Record Store Day release that was numbered and came on a bright pink vinyl. It’s super lovely, but unfortunately this isn’t it. I do have some comfort in knowing that if I was a teenager in 1984, I would still be buying this copy. This specific copy was found in an antique mall – just peering from the stacks waiting for me to pick it up. I had been a massive fan of the movie and its soundtrack and knew we belonged together.

And Jon Cryer’s Duckie remains to be the ultimate in cool/’we’re pretending he’s actually a dork.’ I know I’m married and everything, but this character still remains one of my biggest crushes. As I watched this movie growing up, I knew I needed to be with someone who loved Otis Redding as much as I did. Found him.

Anyway, I mean just watch this clip of Cryer reviving his classic character on this week’s Late Late Show. He’s still just as cool:

The soundtrack is full of what are now considered many of 80s alternative staples like OMD, The Smiths, New Order and Echo & the Bunnymen. But in 1986, not many of these bands were massive names in the States. John knew what songs would help create the character of the music-obsessed Andie: all the must-haves with the carefully selected odd track by fringe bands like Belouis Some.

This particular record holds such a part in my heart. Even though I’ve grown a bit older, this still sounds how it feels to be…me.

I was definitely born in the wrong era.

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