Navigating the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, congested with both cars and billboards everywhere you look, staring up Jack Black’s crotch or being forced to accept that Khloe and Lamar are indeed “famously” in love, it’s often hard to remember that being a celebrity used to look quite different.
It’s not that the old Hollywood is gone, you just have to pay attention. Just glance past the flashing lights at the Hollywood sign, drive by Culver Studios, grab a bite at the Formosa Cafe, and even if it’s cheesy, go to the Walk of Fame and see if your hands are as small as Gloria Swanson’s. I might work at a film studio, but sitting in a cubicle under fluorescent lights day in and day out, I often feel as close to “Hollywood” as Ron Livingston in Office Space.
So when composer/orchestrator/arranger/all-around-great-guy, Joe Trapanese asked that I meet him on one of the great old studio lots for our interview (I would tell you which, but I’m sworn to secrecy), it was painfully hard to act cool about it. While I probably said something to the effect of, “Great. Please send over parking instructions. Looking forward to it.” In my mind, I was squealing like a tween.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t going to put a list together – it just seemed too daunting, I was bound to forget important ones, definitely haven’t gotten a chance to listen to many of the most lauded – but then a friend called me out and I naturally I had to rise to the challenge.
I don’t want to call this a “Best of 2010” list, because I feel kind of like a fraud saying that. Music is so subjective. To this day I still don’t really understand the mad mass love of Beach House. Maybe I’ll discover what I’m missing in 2011, but for the moment it is not music that grabs me personally.
That being said, I now present my favorite 25 albums and 5 EPs of 2010…
First, apologies for how belated this is. Second, I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I don’t usually enjoy listening to film and TV scores.
Its not that I don’t find them interesting, or that I groan every time I have to review a composer reel for work (though I will if I have to listen to 12 composer reels in a day) – I just don’t think to put on a score for pleasure listening. With the Golden Globe nominations announced yesterday, I just had to give it up to Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor – their music for The Social Network might be the first film score I’ve actually had on repeat outside of the office.
The Adventures of Pete & Pete aired from 1993 – 1996, which for me was roughly third through sixth grade. Like most things during that era, the details are now a bit fuzzy, but the emotions remain clear. I remember worshiping Little Pete and wanting to have adventures like his. I remember looking up to Big Pete and wishing I had a big brother too. I remember high school seeming like a million years away.
A few weeks ago a friend revealed that she had the first couple seasons on DVD. Naturally we watched a few episodes. As the credits rolled at the end of one of them, a familiar band name jumped out at me: The Magnetic Fields . I was stunned. Here I was watching something that aired almost a decade ago, using music still popular today. Not long after this, I stumbled across a cover of the theme song, “Hey Sandy,” recently done by the band Grand Lake – 6 blogs had featured the track. Memories were flooding back and with them a new awareness of just how big a part of the series the music was.
In my research for this article I found an interview done by Robert Agnello – another musician/artist involved in the show – with creators Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi in October 2008. Over a decade over the show went off the air, it’s clear that Pete and Pete still holds a special place in all of their hearts. In the interview they chat about various aspects of the show, with a focus on the music. Agnello begins the discussion by recounting:
“I’ll always remember talking to you about doing music for you guys and I think it was you Will who said, ‘go listen to Yo LaTengo and The Lemonheads.’”
I saw Eat, Pray, Love this past weekend without skimming the soundtrack even once beforehand and I have to say my first impression leading the theatre was not – in the words of Larisa Oleynik – whelmed. Neil Young somehow seems an obvious choice for a soul-searching 40-something. M.I.A “Boyz” is a great song, but now three years old. And the collaboration between Eddie Vedder and Nursat Fateh Ali Khan (“The Long Road”) while lovely is off of ANOTHER soundtrack released in 1996. The only original song on the album is “Better Days” by Vedder.
Now that I’ve listened to the soundtrack over and over again a few times – I still hold true to my above criticisms, but at the same time definitely appreciate how good of a job music supervisor P.J. Bloom did choosing music that supports the film. And the film is really what is whelming.