A few words, then, in praise of Kirsten Lane, music consultant on films from “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” to “Love Actually” and “Bridget Jones’s Baby” and now the musically overloaded “Baby Driver.”
Music is an integral part of the story of Edgar Wright’s film, a movie inspired by the Simon & Garfunkel tune “Baby Driver,” which had nothing to do with a too-too-young getaway driver locked into assorted iPods to get him moving, motivated and putting the pedal to the medal.
It’s just a very cool ingredient to add to the movie, which I think is the best popcorn picture of the summer.
And of course there’s the tinnitus the kid, “Baby,” says he needs music to drown out.
The tunes run the gamut, such a wide selection of songs that no mere 20-or-so year old possibly have sampled, delved into and become obsessed over in his short time on Earth.
There are classic driving tunes — most on the nose, “Radar Love,” and the not-quite-forgotten instrumental “Hocus Pocus,” by Focus.
Queen’s “Brighton Rock,” Martha Reeves and the Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run” (most memorably chasing “The Warriors”), a “Harlem Shuffle” by Bob & Earl, and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion turn up.
But soundtracks like this, placed in the iPods of music mad anti-heroes or heroines, always beg the question — It is the character, or the filmmaker’s music taste we’re hearing?
I mean, yeah, The Commodores’ “I’m Easy” is impossible to miss in modern culture. Alexis Corner and Danger Mouse might find their way to your average white 20something.
Blur and Beck (a bit before his time) might catch the driver’s attention. Jonathan Richman? Maybe he stumbled across the King of Quirk in “There’s Something About Mary” and dug around for his other work. But Queen? “Brighton Rock?”
Of course it’s the filmmaker and the music consultant, always older, always wish-fulfillment fantasizing that “kids these days,” with their “infinite playlist” phones, pods, etc., are listening and appreciating everything from classic jazz to classic rock, maybe even a little classical music, to boot.
The late John Hughes, whom I got to interview a few times over the years, was one filmmaker who put all his trust in younger, hipper music consultants, filling the soundtracks of his most famous films with music that came to embody an era in (white) youth culture and music. He wasn’t the hip one, his consultants were.
But check out this track list and tell me how young Baby could have discovered all that, on his on, in this Baby’s few years on Earth? Granted, he isn’t doing much but eating, sleeping, taking meetings with gangs of thieves, making mixtapes and composing his own sampled “tunes” and driving the getaway cars. It’s not like we ever see him practicing/rehearsing his craft. Still, that’s a lot of listening time for such a short lifespan.
Some day, you sense this driver will become his own version of The Star Lord of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” most at home with the singular songs of his youth, that vast repertoire shrinking as he ages out of music hunting, music-buying and movie going.