So it’s mid-January and I’ve decided I’m “not into music anymore”. The weather is cooperating, too. The cold and snow are beating any enthusiasm I had for beauty right out of me, and you, too, I’m sure.
But I’m still in the middle of my World History Project (some day I’ll explain what this is), and I’m up to around 1600, which means I’m reading and watching lots of Shakespeare. Okay, so it’s not a day at the beach, but under the circumstances I could be doing worse.
So I take Camille Paglia’s advice and check out As You Like It. There are lots of versions of most of Shakespeare’s plays, and since I’d already seen KB’s bitchin’ Henry V and entertaining-as-hell-even-at-four-hours Hamlet, I went with his version of AYLI, which stars Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard’s daughter and Gwen Stacey from Spiderman).
And with a striking change of locale to 19th century Japan, it was almost as good as those other two efforts. One element that really added to my enjoyment was a lovely violin theme that ran with several variations throughout the movie. It deftly combined classical and eastern melodic ideas. Which is a bullsh*t (and maybe racist) way of saying it sounded nice and exotic at the same time.
So, somewhere in between SAD and sad, I broke down and bought it.
Patrick Doyle: As You Like It
And immediately regret it.
Impulse buys are like that.
Now, Jaybee, you might say, it really doesn’t count as an impulse purchase if you actually, you know, HEARD it.
But I would reply, Not So, dear reader! Any record I haven’t thoroughly researched (allmusic.com, metacritic.com, complete background check on all contributing musicians, etc. - you know, what anyone would normally do) is by definition an Impulse Buy.
The dreaded IB risks diluting the pureness of my record collection! The last time said pureness was threatened was when I got married - when now-Mrs. Jaybee and I combined our record collections. (The Ohio Players? Shalamar? What the hell have I gotten myself into, I wondered?) But with the help of a Marriage/Music Counselor we worked through it.
And the first listen doesn’t make me feel any better. My first listens are notoriously tone deaf to begin with, and what made it worse were the awful speakers on my crappy laptop.
So now I’m thinking: So this is what it’s come to. I’m now buying soundtrack albums? How sad is that? I’m not the guy who buys soundtrack albums! I’m the guy who makes fun of the guy who buys soundtrack albums, because he does it for the same dumb reasons I just gave above! Now I’m Him!
As you can tell, I’ve never been much of a fan of original soundtrack (OST) albums. Like rock and roll song lyrics that sound profound while being sung by Jim Morrison, let’s say, but look like grammar high poems on paper, soundtracks can rarely stand on their own, and are best left where they are, in the background of the movie, and forgotten at the end of it.
But this movie was so romantic, and the violin theme so lovely, that I thought I’d found a way out of my musical dead end. Maybe I was just getting desperate, grabbing at anything that caught my attention.
But what’s wrong with it, I asked myself. Part of it was that - as should have been expected - the theme I liked so much wasn’t playing throughout the whole movie, as it turned out. If it was, I probably would have had my fill of it by the end of the movie. (For an example of a song - even a great one - being played too much during a movie, check out Muriel’s Wedding, where Dancing Queen must get played at least a dozen times. They could have fit the entire soundtrack on a single. All of which goes to show that “Dancing Queen” must be a tremendous song, because I still like it.)
So a lot of what’s left on the CD is the other stuff I didn’t really notice all that much while the movie was on. And it didn’t sound like it had much personality.
But a second listen - on better speakers - make it sound much, much better. The instrumentals are starting to grow on me, too. Yes, the actual songs with words still annoy me. But every time they do, that damned theme I love so much comes back on.
I still don’t like the soundtracky-ness of it, and what I like best is the same theme played about six different ways. But you know, it’s real, real pretty.
But, so what? I’m not really into pretty in mid January.
And then it suddenly recedes into the background, as if swallowed up by an Ocean of Sound.
To Be Continued...