What music album would be used for a movie about your life?

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Damien Rice — 9

For as many albums that exist out there from which to choose, and for as many different directions my life has gone from time to time, this particular album came to me rather quickly. This album has been something I could listen to and relate with through all the various stages of my life, and especially in the (melo)dramatic moments, which is what movie lovers flock to see.

First, let us get on the same page so that you understand the direction I’m going with. Sarah, my wife, was watching The Graduate on our drive from Tennessee on Monday of this week. And as I was listening in to Simon & Garfunkel moving the narrative along with their hollowing tunes, I was reminded of what it looks like to use a soundtrack in a way that renders the film into a string of music videos that are connected by a little story in between. I think, for the most part, it worked in this particular film. I also observed that, for the most part, you don’t really have to have any real connection in a song to the story that is playing out behind it, but more times than not, the song is chosen because one of the lines matches the theme of that given scene and the tone of the song at whole matches the vision of the director.

So then, here is a list of each song in the album, a relevant line from the song and a brief excerpt from the screenplay of my life.

The Animals Were Gone
“The window’s open now and the winter settles in
We’ll call it Christmas when the adverts begin
I love your depression and I love your double chin
I love ‘most everything that you bring to this offering
Oh I know that I left you in places of despair
Oh I know that I love you, so please throw down your hair”

-Cut to me and my girlfriend hanging out in the living room of a rather pathetic apartment in a rather pathetic neighborhood. Snow has frosted the windows to the point where all you can see is a light white glow which is the only source of light in an otherwise dark room. We sit on opposite sides of a rather old looking sofa, reupholstered a half decade ago in a burgundy plaid design which is now fraying at the seams that cover the arm rests on the side. There are half eaten Subway sandwiches spread across the coffee table. We are talking about our days and the stress of not having a substantial job or a job you hate. We are unhappy but we have each other to keep company in that.

9 Crimes –
Leave me out with the waste

This is not what I do
It’s the wrong kind of place
To be cheating on you
It’s the wrong time
She’s pulling me through
It’s a small crime
And I’ve got no excuse”

– Fade in to me working in a bookstore. I am working along side this girl… She is beautiful. She is tall, with piercing blue-grey eyes and long blonde hair. She is witty and we spend hours bantering with each other. We  talk a great deal about the discontent of our current relationships. My own unhappiness becoming increasingly more obvious as I speak with a girl who has a spark of light that the girl I was dating could simply never muster. Cut to me in her apartment drinking wine and sharing our personal histories. And then we begin kissing.

Elephant –
“Well this has got to die

I said, this has got to stop
This has got to lie down
With someone else on top
Well, you can keep me pinned
It’s easier to tease
But you can’t paint an elephant
Quite as good as she”

– The fight begins. We are standing in a new apartment in a new city but it is the same old, tired relationship. We have just returned from a night out and our coats are draped over the backs of the chairs around the kitchen table. I sit on the couch, she stands with her shoulder pressed against the wall. She is crying; as though she senses that I am already gone. I tell her I can’t do this anymore. I can’t continue to be in a relationship with someone I am convinced I drive to depression. She does not know of my indescresions, but she knows she has been losing me a little more each day for months now. She yells, and cries, and finally she shrinks down into the recliner a few feet away from the sofa. She tells me this is the biggest mistake I will ever make.

Accidental Babies –
“Well I held you like a lover

Happy hands and your elbow in the appropriate place
And we ignored our others, happy plans
For that delicate look upon your face…”
”…And is he dark enough?
Enough to see your light?
And do you brush your teeth before you kiss?
Do you miss my smell?
And is he bold enough to take you on?
Do you feel like you belong?
And does he drive you wild?
Or just mildly free?
What about me”

– We sit together on her bed. The digital picture frame that rests on the dresser in front of us scrolls through pictures of her and her boyfriend. She cannot quite look  me in the eye as she explains to me that she has changed her mind. That she cannot leave him, because her relationship with him is familiar, broken in. She is playful in her news, and I fake a smile as though I’m not devastated. I walk out her door and turn to look at her as she watches me leave.
Cut to the bookstore where we are working together. Her boyfriend comes in. She introduces us, neither of us are particularly interested in each other and we say hello from our separate sides of the room. He doesn’t know, but he is always suspecting. But I know that she is with him and that everything I wanted to be with her he was. I fake pleasantries, but not well.

Me, My Yoke, and I
”My drum, my drum, my drum

Gonna make ya
Won’t you beat, Won’t you beat
My drum, my drum, my drum
Gonna make ya come
Won’t you read
My book, my book, my book
Gonna make ya
Won’t you read, Won’t you read
My book, my book, my book
Gonna make ya look”

-Fade into me sitting at the kitchen table writing furiously onto a notepad. Multiple pages lay flipped over, they are full of lyrics. Cut back and forth between scenes of me standing on stage in front of a rather crowded coffee shop and me sitting alone on a stool in my apartment playing a few chords, then stopping to write more lyrics down. In both cases I am hitting the strings hard and trembling a bit from the weight of the subject.

Rootless Tree-
I said leave it, leave it, leave it

There’s nothing in you
And if you hate me, hate me, hate me, then hate me so good
That you can let me out, let me out, let me out
Of this hell when you’re around
Let me out, let me out, let me out”

-We are outside, dressed in jackets and scarves that the wind is tossing around frantically. Her eyes have tears in them, and my hands are clenched in fists so tight that any hint of redness has been drained from them. She pulls the hair from her face and I pause for a moment, then tell her I love her. She shakes her head and tells me that she is sorry for that. That she loves him, that they are happy and that things would be better if I could let this go so that we could just be friends. I tell her I will try. She hugs me and she walks in the other direction. I watch her walk until she is out of sight.
I take the phone out of my pocket and pull up a picture of her. I smash the phone on the pavement.

Grey Room
I’m all alone again

Crawling back home again
Stuck by the phone again
Well I’ve been here before
Sat on a floor in a grey grey mood
Where I stay up all night
And all that I write is a grey grey tune”

-I am in a chair by a table on a patio in front of a bar. My friend and I  both have very tall glasses of beer that are nearly empty. We sit and chat and take occasional drags from our cigarettes. We laugh occasionally, but not often. Cut to another patio, with another friend, and another beer. We are in short sleeves and the the sun is still out, though nearly set. We sit listening to the music of the band playing from their stage and every once in a while we lean in to talk.
Fade to me, alone in my apartment, sitting on the couch slowly flipping through channels but not really paying attention to anything on the screen.

Coconut Skins-
But if anyone should ask

Tell them I’ve been licking coconut skins
And we’ve been hanging out
Tell them God just dropped by to forgive our sins
And relieve us our doubt
La la la la la la la…”

-The same friend and I are sitting at a table but we are joined by others, friends. We are laughing together and we are requesting songs from the piano man on stage. A group of us sit in a church pew together, attentively listening to a pastor preach a sermon.  We walk together through darkened city streets chatting loudly and hanging on each others’ every word. I slow a bit and the group moves ahead. All but for the short-haired girl with lively brown eyes and the graceful sway of a dancer. She shoots me a smile and I smile back. We continue on together, chatting and continuing to smile.

Dogs-
“Oh and she’s always dressed in white

She’s like an angel, man
She burns my eyes
Oh and she turns
She pulls a smile
We drive her round
And she drives us wild
Oh and she moves like a little girl
I become a child, man
She moves my world…”
”…She lives with an orange tree
The girl that does yoga”

-We are at the short haired girl’s apartment. My friend and I sit on her floor as she owns no furniture. We watch her stretch and bend her body standing over a blue yoga mat. She is wearing shorts and a tank top.  She is strikingly beautiful and she knows I think so. Afterwards, a group of us go for a walk together in a local park. We stroll along and every so often she prances ahead and begins to dance in front of us. She is alive, and it is infectious.

Sleep Don’t Weep
”Sleep, don’t weep, my sweet love
Your face is all wet ’cause our days were rough
So do what you must do to fill that hole
Wear another shoe to comfort the soul
Those times that I was broke, and you stood strong
I think I found a place where I feel I will…”

-We are in our apartment, the short haired-girl and me. She sits on the floor with books spread open surrounding her. She is in tears of frustration over an equation she simply cannot make work. I lay on our bed, reading but am made aware of her when I hear her clear her throat. I slide off the bed and crawl across the floor and sit behind her. I begin to rub her shoulders as I take in the situation that has led to this minor break down. We begin talking, and then smiling and then laughing. I stand, pulling her up by her hand then I flip off the light and lead her to bed.

-Fade to black

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