20 Watts


PREVIEW: LISTEN to Free People’s “Wintry Mix”

Well, we almost made it through an entire semester with no snow, but according to this week’s weather forecast, that dream will soon become a distant memory. I don’t know about you, but Syracuse’s constant gray skies and inches of snow blowing in my face sort of put a damper on my day. If you’re the same way, pop in your headphones and listen to Free People’s “Wintry Mix” playlist. The 15 winter-themed tracks will help you actually enjoy the mounds of snow, and make you feel as though you’re living in a winter wonderland– not a sub-zero ice box.

What’s best about the playlist is that it’s a truly eclectic mix of music. There’s classic rock, indie rock and even a bit of 90s and Bob Marley thrown in. And what’s even better than the array of artists? Free People made sure to put together songs that represented the winter season in general, as well as the holidays. So instead of going crazy listening to the same Christmas songs over and over again on the radio, listen to “Wintry Mix” on your way to class and enjoy the extreme weather that you’ll be experiencing until April.

–Dana Mikaelian, Communications Director


Editor’s Pick #140: Beatles Rooftop Performance by carlywolkoff
July 17, 2009, 11:29 pm
Filed under: Editor Picks | Tags: , , , ,

It may be cliché for me to post a Beatles video for my first “Editor’s Pick,” but I don’t care.  Nothing at all screams love quite literally like John’s pining wails in this 1969 performance of The Beatles b-side, “Don’t Let Me Down”.  Though his lyrical inspiration may have been Yoko Ono, John’s musical passion absolutely seeps through his pores. Not to mention they’re so badass donning fur coats, performing on a rooftop, complete with their hair blowing in the wind.  And sure, maybe Paul is tripping on LSD, but that only provides more entertainment (hip shake at :39).

Oh, and for a good laugh, check out those disinterested bastards in the background, especially the one checking his watch at 2:57.  Really?  If they only had any idea how lucky they were at that moment to be witnessing one of the Beatles’ last recording sessions ever.  All in all, it’s just a beautiful video filled with discrete quirks that I could watch over and over…and have.  As I was looking up the lyrics to this song, I found a commenter who put my love for this song far more eloquently than I ever could with his words, “This is my favorite song ever after the macarena .” True.

— Carly Wolkoff, Managing Editor

My Top 10 Movie Soundtracks by tjwell01
Jason Schwartzman in "Rushmore"

Jason Schwartzman in "Rushmore"

I’m a huge movie fanatic, and music worshiper too, so it only makes sense that I really love movies with great soundtracks. A bad soundtrack doesn’t really break a movie, but it can make it a whole lot better. Music is cool like that. So thus, I’ve compiled my Top 10 soundtracks over the 21-year span of my movie-watching career.

A rule of thumb in finding good soundtracks is knowing the directors who appreciate good music, and the best kind of music used in films is usually semi-obscure classic rock music. These usual suspects are none other than Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino. These two are geniuses at finding music that contrast, and at the same time, blend with the style of their films. That’s why the music sticks out. Typical Wes Anderson is playing David Bowie’s “Queen Bitch” in a closing scene with Bill Murray jogging. Tarantino is another fan of 60s and 70s classic rock and usually layers them in his legendary dialogue scenes. These two will no doubt pop up in the Top 10.

For me, at least, good soundtracks are not just good mix tapes, but they have to work hand-in-hand with the movie.

The Top 10 (Not ranked in order)

1) High Fidelity

Not only is this movie one of my favorites of all time, it’s stacked with great songs by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Beta Band, The Velvet Underground and the Kinks. I discovered a lot of cool songs off this album, and they all work really well together. There’s even a cover  of “Lets Get it On” by Jack Black in it. What’s not to love about that?

2 and 3) Rushmore and Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Half of these movies’ charm are in the soundtracks, and they’re both classic Wes Anderson. Rushmore is filled with classic hits by Cat Stevens, John Lennon, Velvet Underground, Creation and the Who. They’re all off-beat songs with quaint feeling. The songs are handpicked to catch you off guard in their respective scenes. Even if Anderson is a one-trick pony filmmaker, he knows his music. Although Life Aquatic isn’t as complete a soundtrack as Rushmore, it gets recognition for me exposing me to Brazilian songwriter Seu Jorge.

4 and 5) Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs

I paired these two Tarantino films together because they do the same thing, but still make two awesome soundtracks. Without the soundtracks in these movies, they’d probably lose a step. Take Pulp Fiction for example, the credits set the pace with “Misirlou” by Dick Dale. It hits you in the face, like “wow, here we go!” Tarantino does a lot of the same things Anderson does, except he’s doesn’t use humor in his soundtracks, he adds coolness with his selected music.

6) Once

This one gets this nod because the music was written for the movie, which is highly impressive. The film was all about the music in this case; in fact, it was more like a musical. The music was filled with fiery and passionate acoustic ballads about love and heartbreak. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova had me at the first note. The cool part is the actors and Swell Season band mates dated for a long time, but recently broke up. I loved this soundtrack so much I saw them perform live twice and met them both in person.

7) Little Miss Sunshine

This soundtrack is only here because it introduced me to Sufjan Stevens, whose name I still can’t pronounce correctly. Great movie though.

8 ) Trainspotting

This is the kind of movie that’s so good, it doesn’t even need a soundtrack, but it made it so much better. Bolstered by great hits by Iggy Pop and New Order, this soundtrack is full of illustrative songs about the drug culture in England during the late 80s and early 90s. Not to mention, playing Iggy Pop along with Ewan McGreggor running for his life made him look really cool.

9) Hedwig and the Angry Inch

This was a very weird movie about rock n’ roll tranny touring the world in pursuit of a long lost lover, but the music is all original. The music is all about the life of a heartbroken tranny, but the lyrics are poignant and a few songs are bad ass rock ballads. A quality album, especially the song, “Origin of Love.”

10) Garden State

Ahhh, last not but not least, Garden State. This is the only case where the soundtrack was miles better than the movie. Lots of indie kids think this is the greatest soundtrack of all time, and it did really well for itself at record stores when people still bought music. It might’ve been the biggest bridge for out-of-the-loop kids in suburbs to get exposed to indie bands like the The Shins and Frou Frou.

Here are some samples I talked about:

“Queen Bitch” in Life Aquatic

“Origin of Love” in Hedwig and the Angry Itch

–Jett Wells, Reviews Editor

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Discussion: Music Biopics by tjwell01

aaron_johnson_1215384222This guy, Aaron Johnson, is supposed to play teen John Lennon in the new Lennon biopic, “Nowhere Boy?” His name sounds like a water polo player. Meh, this guy barely makes the cut, just because he has similar hair.

But, this did make me think about all the best music biopics in history. There have been some good ones, but not that many. Here’s my Top Five Music Biopics of All Time:

1) “Control,” starring Sam Riley as Ian Curtis. I saw this at the Cannes Film Festival a few years back, and it still sticks with me.

2) “Ray,” starring Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles. I learned a lot about Ray Charles, but also about Jamie Foxx.

3) “I’m Not There,” starring Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franklin and Ben Whishaw all as Bob Dylan. The film got lost in itself, but I loved Blanchett’s interpretation. She got absolutley robbed at the Oscars by Tilda Swinton for best supporting Actress. This movie gets the nod for its creativity.

4) “Walk the Line,” starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash. This was, of course, before Phoenix allegedly quit acting to become a rapping yetti. Great movie though.

5) “Sid and Nancy,” starring Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb as Sid Vicious and Spungen. Possibly the craziest rock couple in history.


Here’s the trailer for “Control.”

Send feedback on your thoughts.

–Jett Wells, Co-Reviews Editor

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