Friday, April 4, 2014

Perfect Songs - The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore

Last week we watched Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, which wasn't horrible. It fell into predictable tropes like the whole manic pixie dream girl thing, but still it had some dark and touching moments in there among the humor. Not great, but not unwatchable. But there was a point in the film, near the end, when boy has sacrificed his happiness for girl and is now regretting it in his loneliness, and he comes to her apartment and looks through her record collection. The moment it was clear that this scene was headed to her record collection, I totally knew what he was going to find and play, even though it's not necessarily something you'd expect (maybe, if you're cool, like me). See, the movie is about the world ending, and his world already ended at that point, so there's nothing for him to do but just wait for doom. There's no song that captures that very specific moment better than this perfect 1966 song by The Walker Brothers.

I have no idea when I first heard this song and it would be easy to confuse that moment with first hearing The Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Loving Feeling, which I'm sure inspired it. I may have actually heard the original version of the song, by Frankie Valli, first, but the Walker Brothers' version is just so much bigger and better. It so completely captures the feeling of loss and despair and doom associated with a breakup that it transcends the breakup entirely. The teenage goth melodrama of the original becomes literally apocalyptic when Scott Walker eerily croons in a sea of echo and orchestration that threatens to drown him before any tears can. The Righteous Brothers may have gone for a wall of sound, but The Walkers lock you up within 4 walls and ceiling as well, and no windows to let the sun shine in. Just darkness and a reverberating voice calling you in deeper into it, where the gloom is somehow also peaceful in its relentlessness. So, when Steve Carrel was looking for something to play that would symbolize a love apocalypse as well as a literal one, there was no doubt in my mind that he would pick out a Walker Brothers album from her collection. If he didn't, the movie would fail. Because this isn't popular music, but it's what a manic pixie dream girl would have in her collection, or she's no dream girl. When he played it, he just laid there, flat on his back, staring at the ceiling, letting the music wash over him, and I would imagine letting the bass revive his broken heart. That's also the correct move.

There was one other time this song was used in TV/Movies that is actually even better, though, and this one did take me by surprise. Everyone that knows me, knows I had been looking forward to this show because I read the comics, and this was the first time we saw footage of the show and I still get chills when I see it.

1 comment:

  1. That truly is a great song. Where do I get my manic pixie dream girl?