23 April 2024
Entertainment Music

Sofia Coppola’s Greatest Needle Drops

Few working filmmakers curate soundtracks with as a lot aptitude, type and intentionality as Sofia Coppola: Contemplate the melancholy dream-pop smeared by way of “Misplaced in Translation,” the new-wave tunes that give “Marie Antoinette” a playful modernity, or the eerie, weightless Air rating that haunts the sleepy suburbs of “The Virgin Suicides.”

Coppola’s newest movie, “Priscilla” — primarily based on Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir, “Elvis & Me” — comes out as we speak, and it options a few of her boldest and most unconventional musical decisions but. That’s obvious proper from the film’s opening scene, by which the celestial sounds of Alice Coltrane’s “Going Home” fade unexpectedly into the Ramones’ 1980 cowl of a Ronettes ballad, “Child, I Love You.”

These aren’t apparent decisions relating to soundtracking a film about Elvis, however since Presley’s property didn’t grant Coppola permission to make use of his music within the movie, the apparent decisions have been off the desk. Regardless of. Coppola — together with the music supervisor Randall Poster and the band Phoenix, whose frontman, Thomas Mars, is Coppola’s husband — used these limitations to create one thing extra distinctive and private than a normal biopic carpeted wall-to-wall with Presley tunes. (Plus, you understand, a type of already got here out final yr.) They’ve as a substitute crafted a film that re-centers a lady too usually pushed to the facet in her personal life story, and located the music — some traditionally correct, some imaginatively not — that displays her personal more and more disillusioned perspective.

“Priscilla” will be the Coppola film most explicitly about music, however finely chosen songs are the lifeblood of virtually all of her movies. Coppola characters usually use music as a software of communication, to sing or counsel issues they will’t say aloud. Consider the unforgettable karaoke scene in “Misplaced in Translation,” or the way in which the imprisoned Lisbon sisters in “The Virgin Suicides” use their report participant to speak with the forbidden boys of the skin world.

At the moment’s playlist is a set of among the best needle drops in Sofia Coppola’s filmography. Pour your self a glass of Suntory, gaze dreamily out a window and press play.

Listen along on Spotify as you read.

Solely I know what Invoice Murray whispers to Scarlett Johansson on the finish of “Misplaced in Translation”: “The Jesus and Mary Chain. ‘Psychocandy.’ It’ll change your life! (Don’t anticipate fairly as a lot from the remainder of the discography, although.)” (Listen on YouTube)

This spiky, 1979 post-punk tune that opens Coppola’s 2006 movie “Marie Antoinette” instantly indicators that this isn’t going to be an odd biopic — it’s going to be one with a deliciously anachronistic soundtrack. There’s a sly irony to the way in which Coppola makes use of it right here, too, for the reason that politics that Gang of 4 espouses on “Leisure!” aren’t precisely simpatico with the excesses of Versailles. (Listen on YouTube)

Ever conscious of the significance of plunging the viewers straight into a movie’s environment, Coppola units the tone of “Priscilla” by operating this swooning 1980 Ramones cowl of the Ronettes over the opening credit. (Listen on YouTube)

The seductive, bowl-cutted Journey Fontaine (performed by Josh Hartnett) blows into “The Virgin Suicides” to the tune of this period-specific Coronary heart traditional, indicating to the Lisbon household that he and his aviator shades are a really specific sort of bother. (Listen on YouTube)

From the 2010 movie “Someplace” — in my view, Coppola’s most underrated, and certainly one of her greatest — this Gwen Stefani ode to getting alongside together with your ex soundtracks a memorable scene between an absent, movie-star father (Stephen Dorff) and his preteen daughter (Elle Fanning). The lady practices an ice-skating routine whereas her father watches from the bleachers. That she’s framed in a large shot, and in lengthy, unbroken takes, emphasizes each the space between them and the love of her father’s gaze. “Cool” is an ideal accompaniment for such a bittersweet second. (Listen on YouTube)

The French digital duo Air composed the gauzy, atmospheric rating for Coppola’s 1999 debut, “The Virgin Suicides.” Variations on the lead melody of “Playground Love” wind by way of the movie like a recurring theme, earlier than the haunting tune — that includes vocals from Coppola’s future husband, Mars — performs over the closing credit. (Listen on YouTube)

One of many nice montages within the S.C.C.U. (Sofia Coppola Cinematic Universe) is the pastel-hued, shamelessly indulgent procuring spree scene that comes halfway by way of “Marie Antoinette,” to the tune of this early ’80s bop. Allow them to eat sweet! (Listen on YouTube)

This blown-out, sky-scraping tune from Sleigh Bells’ singular 2010 album “Treats” — an underappreciated founding doc of hyperpop — opens Coppola’s 2013 movie “The Bling Ring” with a time-stamped jolt. (Listen on YouTube)

Should you’re going to make use of the Treatment’s achingly attractive “Plainsong” in a film, the scene had higher be epic. Coppola understood this, and made it the luxurious soundtrack to Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI’s coronation. (Listen on YouTube)

Kevin Shields, the famously slow-working singer and guitarist of the shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine, wrote 4 unique songs for the “Misplaced in Translation” soundtrack — among the first music he’d launched since his group’s landmark 1991 album, “Loveless.” However it’s My Bloody Valentine’s dream-pop traditional “Generally” that underscores one of many film’s most beloved scenes, as Johansson gazes out of a taxi window in the midst of the evening, the passing neon of Tokyo rendered a romantic blur. (Listen on YouTube)

In “Priscilla,” Elvis and Priscilla share their first kiss within the late ’50s to the tune of this woozy traditional — which, in actuality, got here out in 1968. I like the way in which the critic Stephanie Zacharek describes this anachronism in her review of the movie: “After Elvis bestows his first, light kiss on Priscilla’s lips, she enters a fugue state, having shifted to a brand new airplane of existence. At that time, it’s Tommy James & the Shondells’ ‘Crimson and Clover’ that cocoons round her like a whisper, a tune from the longer term, a haunting upfront.” (Listen on YouTube)

A spot-on alternative — world-weary, stuffed with ennui, nonetheless exhibiting off some style — of what Murray’s “Misplaced in Translation” character Bob Harris would sing at karaoke. (Listen on YouTube)

I don’t need to spoil precisely when this tune performs in “Priscilla,” however I do need to provide you with some context that may make the second hit even more durable. Elvis beloved Dolly Parton’s 1974 hit and needed to report it himself, however his supervisor, Col. Tom Parker, requested for a minimum of half of Parton’s publishing rights. Although it killed her to show him down — Elvis! — promoting off her publishing was a bridge too far. So she mentioned no. Karma took till 1992 to reach. “Then when Whitney’s version got here out,” Parton said, “I made sufficient cash to purchase Graceland.” (Listen on YouTube)

Clearly, Physician, you’ve by no means been a 13-year-old lady,


Listen on Spotify. We replace this playlist with every new publication.

On this week’s new music Playlist, we’ve obtained recent tracks from Olivia Rodrigo, Megan Thee Stallion, Torres and extra. Pay attention right here.

Additionally, there’s a brand new Beatles tune? Type of? In a Critic’s Pocket book from earlier this week, Jon Pareles thought-about the wistful, uncanny “Now and Then.”

And eventually, regretfully, in Tuesday’s publication I offered the flawed hyperlink to Sam Sodomsky’s fantastic Pitchfork interview with John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats. For actual this time: Read it here.