I’ll always remember it was late afternoon… when I went to Greece Ridge Cinemas as a 15 year old and saw A Walk to Remember and unexpectedly cried because ~*tRu LoVe*~.
On January 25th, 2002, “Candy” and “I Wanna Be With You” hitmaker Mandy Moore hit the big screen for her first starring role in a movie, alongside Once and Again star Shane West. Based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, the story centered on bad boy Landon Carter, who unexpectedly falls in love with good Christian girl Jamie Sullivan (even though she tells him not to). It’s a love story for the ages with one big twist and for most people, it was just another teen movie. For older millennials, it was one of the movies that defined our generation.
For me, A Walk to Remember holds a special place in my heart for different reasons, with different memories connected to each one. In addition to the VHS tape I played over and over again (and currently have in my room JIC I need a Landon/Jamie fix), I was equally obsessed with the soundtrack. For my 16th birthday, my friend gave me the soundtrack (along with a set of fake play keys because I could drive and lololol) and as soon as I popped that baby in my boombox, it was spinning constantly.
While music did play a big part in the film (ONLY HOPE THO), I always felt like the soundtrack didn’t receive the attention it properly deserved. So what better way to celebrate A Walk to Remember than by stepping back in time This Is Us style and revisiting the tracks that formed our formative years.
Dare You to Move by Switchfoot
Some songs are just meant to be featured in movies with characters driving a long distance and thinking about their lives. In this case, it’s Switchfoot’s Dare You to Move falls under that category. It’s the perfect blend of stirring instrumentals and contemplative lyrics that make it a great fit for the movie and an even better fit as the first song on the soundtrack.
Cry by Mandy Moore
Only Hope aside, Cry was the most well known song off this album. Partly because it was sung by Queen Mandy, but also because it was also a single from her self-titled album that came out the year prior. Of course the irony is that we were all left crying in the theater after watching this movie, but I find it much more entertaining to take in the magic that is this music video to promote the film.
Someday We’ll Know by Mandy Moore and Jonathan Foreman
I was obsessed with the New Radicals original version of this song when it came out in 1999, and when I thought I couldn’t even love it even more, Mandy and Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot did just that. By having the two of them cover the song specifically for the movie, it took on a whole new meaning and reflected the love story between Jamie and Landon, pivoting from the New Radicals’ version of lost love and regret.
Dancin’ in the Moonlight by Toploader
15 year old me had no idea this song was a cover of a King Harvest track from 1972, but I guess A Walk to Remember was there to educate the people. Either way, it was a nice lighthearted song that conveyed the easiness to Jamie and Landon’s relationship, despite the fact the odds were against them. Also I’d like to think it was a preview into Mandy’s most ICONIC album, Coverage (which I wrote about for a past Mandy Moore Monday post).
Learning to Breathe by Switchfoot
Fun fact: Switchfoot was initially signed to a Christian label, and throughout their tenure as a band, they’ve had a weird relationship with being labelled a “Christian band”. However, this song, and the album of the same name, proved to be very sucessful for them in 2001, when it was nominated for a Best Rock Gospel Album Grammy.
Only Hope by Mandy Moore
It’s Gonna Be Love by Mandy Moore
I really like this song, but it always threw me off when it started playing during a tender moment between Landon and Jamie when he’s putting the temp tattoo on her and softly blowing her skin. Cue Mandy Moore singing on the radio while Mandy Moore as Jamie Sullivan reacts in awe/shock/love when she feels the feels.
You by Switchfoot
Switchfoot probably got the most exposure during the Walk to Remember era, but they’ve always been one of those bands that is just always… around. It’s because their music is fine – it’s not bad, it’s not great, it’s not mainstream pop being played on the radio 24/7. Example: this song.
If You Believe by Rachael Lampa
Now that I’m thinking about it – were the producers of this film purposefully choosing Christian music artists for the soundtrack because Jamie and her Reverend father were too? Or does Rachel Lampa just have a really good PR team?
No One by Cold
This is the song I always skip.
So What Does It All Mean? by West, Gould, & Fitzgerald
This track is more in line with Landon’s squad of horrible people, but also, could have been on the Empire Records soundtrack too?
Mother, We Just Can’t Get Enough by New Radicals
New Radicals didn’t get to sing their own song, so instead, they featured on their own track. Good enough.
Only Hope by Switchfoot
You’re a certain type of person that says they prefer this version over Mandy Moore’s version of Only Hope. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s a choice.