By Steven Casey
K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the 70’s is a fictional radio programme created for the 90’s cult classic “Reservoir Dogs”. The film was directed by Quentin Tarantino who went on to direct, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and the Kill Bill volumes. All of these films were accompanied by amazing soundtracks.
So why is this important? Well, the purpose of this blog is to show how music in cinema can be used to relay a different message to the audience than the one that is right in front of us. For example, in one scene in Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino pens a scene with a psychotic criminal torturing a member of the Los Angeles Police Department. Have you seen the film? Do you remember that scene or did you look away?
Tarantino lightens the mood in the scene by including Steeler’s Wheel’s ‘Stuck in the middle with you’. It is an interesting concept because the ‘you’ in this instance, is the audience.
‘Clowns to the left of me
Jokers to the right ….
Stuck in the middle with you’.
Similarly, the lyrics to the Paul Simon 1986 classic, ‘You can call me Al’, tell a darker story than the melody of the song and the music video, would have us believe. The song is very upbeat and the video features 80’s comedy hero Chevy Chase (National Lampoon’s Walt Griswald).
However, as we see below; the lyrics suggest that ‘Al’is fearful of the new surroundings he finds himself in.
‘Why am I soft in the middle
The rest of my life is so hard’.
‘I need a shot at redemption.
Don’t wanna end up a cartoon
in a cartoon graveyard….
I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore.’
This blog is for entertainment purposes and should be seen as such. The connection between the two songs shows the important role music plays in film, from cult classic, to the story musicians play out in music videos. If you have any comments please be sure to leave them below.