Who here has a favourite movie soundtrack that they have listened to over and over again until it gets to the point where that song/those songs no longer exist separately from the film. It’s kind of like reading a book and then seeing the film adaptation for the first time. Your initial interpretation somehow vanishes and all you’re left with is someone else’s visualization of a narrative you fell in love with. I mean, if you remember what your vision of paperback Harry Potter was before Daniel Radcliffe came around and eradicated it, good for you! I don’t know how you do it. Like adaptations, soundtracks become so attached to films (and television shows- The O.C.!!) that it is almost impossible to imagine their existence beforehand.
Personally, most of the songs on the Save the Last Dance soundtrack have this impression on my mind. What makes this soundtrack, and many MANY others, so magical is how they are fused together with the soundtracks of our own lives. If you hear Ice Cube’s “You Can Do It” without thinking of Save the Last Dance plus how OLD you were (11) and WHERE you were (basketball team sleepover) when you watched that life changing dance scene (maybe not life changing, but memorable nonetheless), then, well, I’m sorry you missed out! But if it’s not this movie, then it’s another film or television show and another soundtrack that transports you back to that particular time and place in your life where you felt something. I feel the same way about the soundtrack for The Shawshank Redemption. I actually spent some of my birthday money one year (happy 15th birthday to me!) on buying that soundtrack so I could listen to the opening score (on repeat) that takes us on a journey into the Shawshank prison for the first time. Plus Hank Williams and the opera number by Edith Mathis and Gundula Janowitz. These songs take me back to watching the movie for the first time with my dad as a kid as well as my high school art room where I listened to this soundtrack during our work periods in my Walkman (ha!). I still listen to it and I’m automatically inspired. Same goes for “Moon River” sung by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. These sounds have made up part of my life soundtrack, which by default seeps into my art soundtrack.
There are so many moods I paint through before I reach my paintings final emotional state, whether on paper or a canvas, and reconnecting with the songs that take me to a variety of times and places in my life helps me to recreate those emotions in a different way, altering and abstracting the memories slightly to create a new interpretation .
The journey is rich, and the sounds are beautiful.