The not-so-great part about the real world: You don’t have a soundtrack playing in the background that’s tailored to every moment of your life, like in movies. The cool part about the real world: You can totally pretend. Here are some songs for the especially transformative moments in your life, when it feels like the climax is coming to a close and the credits should start rolling.
“Walcott” by Vampire Weekend
“Walcott,” Vampire Weekend’s east coast interpretation of “The Lost Boys,” takes you on quite the auditory ride. It alternates between a bright, heart-racing piano riff and a classical cello part paired with frontman Ezra Koenig’s calm vocals. The build-up in “Walcott” is subtle at first: The heavy percussive beat and splashing cymbals delve into eighth notes, and the song soon turns urgent as Koenig becomes more desperate to save the hero of the story, Walcott. By the end, Koenig is shouting, and then the song abruptly stops. Let’s hope Walcott made it out OK.
“Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)” by George Harrison
You know those movie endings where the credits start rolling while the protagonist is on an endless road, walking away from the camera until he disappears from our view? “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)” captures this sense of mystery and wonder surrounding the protagonist’s future perfectly. Harrison’s ode to an English lawyer is playful and whimsical with plinking keyboard and rolling acoustic guitar parts, while it still maintains gravity through an Abbey Road-esque bassline.
“Spit on a Stranger” by Pavement
Stephen Malkmus’ gentle, no-frills voice in “Spit on a Stranger” gives a twist to the song’s resentful lyrics and somewhat gross theme: “I could spit on a stranger / You’re a bitter stranger.” And, ironically, it’s the effortless singing that really makes the song shine. We feel Malkmus’ regret and pain each time he takes in a breath in the first verse, and his modest, trailing falsetto in the end gives us some hope that the narrator will get over the suffering. Malkmus’ understated anger at an ex makes an unusual yet appropriate credit song for those cases when the end of a relationship leaves both parties feeling like strangers once again.
“These Days” by Dr. Dog
For all those bildungsroman films, and for those times when you’ve reached a personal milestone, psychedelic group Dr. Dog has a multitude of songs perfect for when you’re about to start a new chapter of your life but still have a lingering sense of nostalgia. In particular, “These Days” off of Dr. Dog’s sixth album Shame, is comforting, energetic and wistful all at once. Bassist and singer Toby Leaman’s random and excited chatter scattered throughout the song is reminiscent of the days when we didn’t care so much, and the upbeat tempo and spirited guitar riffs that support Leaman’s rugged vocals remind us that keeping our childlike wonder and curiosity is a good thing, even if growing up is inevitable.
“Somethin is Better Than Nothin” by Tashaki Miyaki
Los Angeles-based trio Tashaki Miyaki are, in one word, dreamy. With a sound that recalls David Bowie’s “Heroes,” Tashaki Miyaki adds a new dimension to the other-worldly vibe with heavy reverb and fuzzy girl group vocals. “It’s gonna be alright,” lead singer Lucy soothingly repeats six times — a reassuring message for situations with uncertain outcomes.
“Otis” by The Durutti Column
In this sprawling song, prolific post-punk group the Durutti Column weaves vocal samples from Otis Redding and Tracy Chapman together with beautifully toned, echoey guitar sketchings and pulsating beats. Though the words are sparse, Vini Reilly’s innovative instrumentals speak for themselves and his composition for “Otis” is brilliant, as the song’s end mirrors its start. With “Otis” as the closer of your movie, the future is completely open-ended after the credits have run out and the screen goes black.
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Contact Adrienne Lee at [email protected].