6A - Monday, November 8, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com I
Film as musical memory
Matt and Kim's optimistic effort
'Sidewalks' is a ,I
A friend of mine recently stated
in her Facebook status that she
"never ceases to be amazed by
music's ability to recall time and
place and feel-
assigned to "
music for the
Daily, but I
would say that
my friend's ANKUR
wonder is as SOHONI
much related to
my mission as
film columnist as it is to the more
obvious, originally referenced art
Her revelation regarding "time
and place and feeling" is a study
of the cinematic effect of music,
which, partially through its use
in visual art forms, has become
a signifier and trigger of visual
Music and film have historically
been intertwined in prominent
ways, most obviously through
the classic film musicals of the
Hollywood studio era and the
more modern musicals of the last
decade. The two have also been
combined in rock films over the
past 50 years, including "A Hard
Day's Night" (1964) as well as
contemporary pop soundtrack-
based movies like "Garden State"
(2004) and every film in Cameron
John Cusack holding a boom-
box over his head in Crowe's "Say
Anything..." is meaningful because
of its place in the film's specific
atic of ti
es. A qu
and by b
see the f
ic context, but the scene is infuse the story with a specific
able for Peter Gabriel's "In artistic and cultural reference
es" emanating from the point. By using a certain type of
Similarly, fictitious band music, the production - whether
er riding in a bus while a TV show or a film - takes on the
along to Elton John's qualities of its music in more than
ancer" in Crowe's later just a formal sense by also piggy-
most Famous" is emblem- backing on the song's meaning and
he film as a whole and has the personal identities of the artist
e effect on the song itself. and listener of the music.
listeners, some of them Beyond the overuse of mon-
'experiencingthe song for tage on "Grey's Anatomy" or
time, will forever think the bastardized presentation of
'Dancer" in the context of popular music in the first act of
ific scene and the film. "The Hangover" (which has music
c also links itself to the arguably too popular to really
through pop musical over- be effective), contemporary film
often over diegetically often does musical montage very
enes) and musical montag- well.
intessential example of the One example is Zach Braff's
s in Francis Ford Coppo- "Garden State." The story of
ocalypse Now": The Doors' a struggling actor's return
home after his mother's pass-
ing is remembered more for its
soundtrack than its success as a
)M m ontages film, likely due to its musical selec-
tions' strength in embodying the
hangovers. protagonist's character.
In one memorable montage
scene, the despondent Andrew
id" sets the despondent Largeman (Braff) sits still on a
rific tone from the opening couch in the middle of a silent
very first bursts of napalm, cacophony of movement at an
:ookending the narrative, ecstasy and alcohol-ridden party.
becomes absorbed into The aural diegesis is silenced and
ie's character. Can you the only sound is Zero 7's "In the
ten to "The End" and not Waiting Line." The song's lyrics
ire? state, "Do you believe in what
atter is what TV's "Grey's you see? / There doesn't seem
y" has overused to clicho, to be anybody else who agrees
ty much to death - mon- with me." The song is meaning-
scenes set to popular ful alone, as is the silent visual
r in the case of "Grey's moment, but the fusion of the two
y," indie music) used to See SOHONI, Page 7A
sweet and sugary
By CASSIE BALFOUR
Matt and Kim's latest album is
the ideal soundtrack to the end of
a night of rev-
elry with one
hundred of your
closest friends, Matt and Kim
and clasping Sidewalks
shoulders while Fader
to Matt's kitschy lyrics backed by
Kim's rhythmic drums. Although
it's filled with similar boisterous
sounds to those found on the punk-
pop duo's previous album Grand,
Sidewalks is coated with sweeter
sugary-pop production. This is a
slicker album than Grand, notably
less lo-fi, but it still maintains that
earnest Matt and Kim joyful sound.
The tracks are as saturated in as
much color and funk as the splashy
cover art: a snapshot ofurban decay,
with nondescript, sagging buildings
painted with messy strokes of red
and blue. How representative of an
album awash in bright sounds and
Sidewalks's first single "Cam-
eras" embodies the album's tri-
umphant spirit. Slathered in horns
and heavy with Kim's drums, it has
a surprisingly down home hip-hop
swagger. The track is bouncy and
deliciously synthy, with Matt's
tongue-in-cheek lyrics describ-
ing the quintessential bohemian are absent until the last dozen or so
lifestyle of friends piling into a seconds of the track.
funky colored van while he belts While most of Sidewalks uses a
out delightfully cheesy lyrics like similar format, Matt's joyful vocals
"Sixteen of our friends / a five-seat and Kim's killer drums sometimes
bright red van / curbside view / cause the tracks to blend together.
turn off of Grand." The track is a "Ice Melts," however, doesn't suc-
dance powerhouse that has defi- cumb to this formula with Kim's
nite anthem potential for legions of thunderous drums accompanied by
fans. The track "Block After Block" horns and well timed handelapping.
is in the same vein as "Cameras." Despite Matt's uncharacteristically
Interspersed with shouts and a melancholy lyrics ("Ceilings falling
climatic chorus, Matt is bright and down /I gave, I took, I'll try"), there
larger than life. are still cracks of sincere optimism
One of the hiccups on the album shining through this ultimately
is the awkwardly melancholy upliftingffoot-stomper.
"Northeast." The song is marred If Sidewalks had a thesis state-
by some misplaced sleigh bells, and mentit would undoubtedlybe found
Matt isn't vocally talented enough on the keyboard- and beat-heavy
to handle the range this ballad "Wires." Matt sings, "It's burn-
requires - he comes off whiny ing down / let's keep it up / flames
and uncomfortable. Although it's they grow stronger / the louder the
commendable that Matt and Kim song." When the track's crescendo
are branching out from their usu- finally breaks into. a manic mix of
ally insurmountable brightness, synthy keyboards and Kim's drum-
"Northeast" sounds remarkably ming, it's easy to see that Sidewalks
out of place on the colorful album, has a pretty simple philosophy:
especially considering Kim's drums Turn it up.
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