5 Top Indie Songs on the Big Screen

5 Top Indie Songs on the Big Screen

 

If the hills are alive with the sound of music, indie songs have a place right at the top. They might have started as the rebel offspring of the 80’s suburban garage music scene, but they didn’t grow old on the sidelines. Here are the 5 Top Indie Songs that took over the big screen when Hollywood decided to go indie.

5 Top Indie Songs from the Movies

5. ‘Playground Love’ by Air in ‘The Virgin Suicides’

Kirsten Dunst in Virgins Suicide
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‘I’m a high school lover, And you’re my favorite flavor’

The French electronic music duo does add the perfect sweet and sour flavor to Sofia Coppola’s 1999 directorial debut about teenage depression and your typically Puritan- styled American parenting.

It’s only been last century that the film was released in the UK, but the four blonde Lisbon sisters are still the talk of the town. I mean, who can forget Kirsten Dunst’ fixated painful smile; the refuge on the rooftop, over the suburban, mowed lawn and under an endless, symbolically free starry sky?

‘Playground love’ has the dragged on, dream quality of life behind bars. In the words of the composers, it deals with the subject of death as the ultimate liberator; the unfit adolescent who flirts with suicide as an alternative to an oppressive adult world.

4. ‘Ramona’ by Beck in ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’

A top indie songs list would miss an arm and a leg without Beck Hansen and his total dedication to ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.’ Half of the movie’s soundtrack is tuned on Beck the troubadour’s Ahs and Ohs. Totally understandable, otherwise how could a teenage flick wax lyrical on the subject of love and love’s conquests without a lonesome guitar.

Sonically experimental and lo-fi styled, Beck has been acclaimed as the spokesman of the slacker generation.

Raised by a single mother and feeling like a ‘total outcast’ as the white kid in a predominantly Latin neighborhood, Beck has raised strong objections to the title. The artist who works a $4-an-hour job for a living while he has to put his dreams, depression and uncertainty about the future on hold cannot and should not be called a slacker, Beck says.

‘Ramona’ is the perfect respite song in this intensely alert teen movie. O’Malley’s main character is the bassist in Sex Bob-omb, a disheveled kung-fu fighting and endearingly sentimental Michael Cera who falls in love, or rather rises in love with… wait for it, the eponymous Ramona Flowers.

Sing of Blur in Trainspotting

‘I can’t feel, cause I’m numb’

Can you say indie in its heyday without Blur? Not really. It would be like ordering food without salt. Or British fish and chips without a pint of English pale ale. It’s not me making all the delicious food references, but Blur’s bassist Alex James.

The Beethoven of the British punk music scene and a cheese aficionado, he recently decried the disappearance of an independent music culture while hailing its resurrection in the food industry.

The spirit of independence has been transferred to food.

And, he adds with unfailing optimism, rather than starve as a starting band waiting for an indie film to validate your work, why not grow pickled onion in your garage and enter the much more profitable world of the organic food business.

In the movie Trainspotting, Sing might come as one of Blur’s greatest musical recipes. Blasting an obsessive compulsive rhythm and eerily repetitive lyrics, it complements the theme of the movie. Heroin addiction in the copy-pasted Edinburgh landscape of squalor and destitution.

Nightcall by Kavinsky in Drive

‘I want to drive you through the night, down the hills.’

Imagine you receive this invitation from the hero of ‘Drive’, the mysterious Hollywood stuntman and modestly charming Ryan Gosling. You would probably recreate the same experimental tune as French electro house artist Kavinsky when he released the synth-pop beat in 2010.

Just as the film grabs hold of you and takes you on a ride through the neo-noir atmospheric and dream-like LA setting, the soundtrack is a trip down the rabbit hole of indie music.

Viewers who caught the flick at the LA Film Festival were reported to have been entranced by the beautifully synchronized cinematography of Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn and the catchy soundtrack cascading down booming speakers.

What’s more, critics call it such an indispensable part of the experience of the film that one shouldn’t try to turn down the volume in case the neighbors mind.

‘Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want’ by The Dream Academy in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off‘

‘Haven’t had a dream in a long time
Seems the life I’ve had
could make a good man bad.’

Leave it to a leather-clad, 80’s teen symbol Matthew Broderick to bring indie music back to its origins. I would say try the garage-specked city suburbs blasting drums and base through mother’s kitchen walls, but if anyone can make indie mainstream, that’s the Batman-Robbin combo of Matthew Broderick and director John Hughes killing it softly on a song originally performed by Manchester’s heroes The Smiths.

The Dream Academy took over “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” in 1984, and drowned the lyrics in a wavy instrumental tugging at the heart strings of any girl dreaming of the prom night dance in the arms of sophisticated Matthew Broderick.

Let’s Recap

That’s our Top Indie Songs on the Big Screen. Obviously, we have limited ourselves in our selection. But we are not to blame. Indie music carries the elusive sign of the underground scene it appeared on. To define it or shackle it to a strict time frame would mean to become mainstream’s accomplices. And who wants to be that?

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

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