A Walk To Remember to Remember

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

I.CON.IC. ICONIC.

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.

First Listen of First Listen: The Great Gatsby Soundtrack

In case you’ve missed it, NPR is cool now. It probably always was, but I didn’t catch on to that til 2006 or so. Last week, they released First Listen: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film ‘The Great Gatsby’. As in, a stream of the entire soundtrack. Head over there quickly, because these usually don’t stay up for too long.

Here are my thoughts as I listened to the First Listen. Feel free to read along as you listen to the stream, and if you like what you hear, head over to iTunes or, if they still exist where you live, a record store and grab the soundtrack!

100$ Bill – Jay-Z

The song begins with Leo talking. The makes my heart happy, because I’m immediately transported back to Titanic. However, it also feels like that time in the mid-90s when we used to put movie dialogue into soundtrack songs (see: Titanic, Jerry Maguire). Leo’s voice sounds ever so slightly more gravelly than it used to, sort of like Darrell Hammond’s Bill Clinton impression or an earnest politician. I’m OK with that.  There is no mistaking that this is a Jay-Z track. A sample of just some of the references he makes:  Mark Twain, the stock market crash, 9/11, Marilyn Monroe, Colin Powell, Einstein. It is sort of like We Didn’t Start The Fire in that way, but with rap and the occasional jazz horn.  The song is also very  Luhrmann-y, in terms of the combination of genres and themes. For possibly the first time in modern history, the line “that cheese made us constipated”  appears in song.

Back to Black – Beyonce, Andre 3000

The track features a weird electronic reverb sound effect. I believe that it was called “sonic boom” on the Casio keyboard of my childhood. This is not surprising because I’ve always had the impression that Andre 3000 thinks he is from the future. In terms of vocals,  there is a hint of jazz styling. However, all of the blue notes do make the melody a bit more monotone than the original. I get what Bey’s doing here, but it’s a little breathy and I’d like some more power.

Bang Bang – will.i.am

From the start, I’m already in love with this because a jazz band plays The Charleston in the intro/ background. I can’t help but sing along to it. I’m less enamored of the ‘90s pop-sounding electro when the female singer kicks in. But the semi-Charleston-sounding  sing-rapping will.i.am is doing? I love it. If this is any indication of how the movie will be, I think I’m going to love it.

A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) – Fergie, Q Tip, and Goon Rock.

Listen, Baz. Let’s just call this soundtrack what it is: a ‘20s-flavored Black Eyed Peas reunion album. Not that I’m complaining. Once again, jazz horns are mixed in with hip hop vocals. Again, it works, except for this moment where the word “got” repeats in increasingly Donald Duck-sounding voice. That’s probably one of my least favorite autotune uses of the modern age. There are some nice hints of “Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby” in here.

Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey

The Black Eyed Peas section of the soundtrack is now over. This track is fine, in a typical Lana Del Rey, sad-mermaid way. Has anyone else ever noticed that sometimes Lana draws out vowel sounds so she sounds like a child actor from the 1960s? Listen to the way she says the words “nights” and “lights.” I can do a really good “child actor from the past” accent, but that talent NEVER comes into play. Maybe that’s what was happening with Lana, and she found a way to incorporate it into her music.

UPDATE: One day after writing this review, I ended up with this song stuck in my head as I made my morning tea. I suppose it is a little catchy, and very Daisy Buchanan.

Love Is The Drug – Bryan Ferry with the Bryan Ferry Orchestra

Nice, jazz-agey update to the original. Evidently Bryan Ferry released an album of jazz interpretations of his songs earlier this year. It didn’t do well, which is probably why I hadn’t heard that. Now is a good time to mention why I like all of the electro and hip-hop in the soundtrack – as the styles that appeal to the youth culture, they are to today’s music scene what jazz was to the 1920s.

Over The Love – Florence + The Machine

Okay, I do like Florence + The Machine, but I was pretty bored by this. I’m not saying that it is a boring song, just that I was bored.

Where The Wind Blows – Coco O. of The Quadron

Love the honky tonk piano (is it a piano?) at the start of this. This Coco O. has a voice that wouldn’t be out of place in 60s girl band pop, but I like it. Also, we have now reached the “people I haven’t heard of” section of the soundtrack. Ugh. I used to be cool.

Crazy In Love – Emili Sande and the Bryan Ferry Orchestra

You know what sounds really good that you probably never thought of before? Crazy In Love played by a jazz orchestra. It truly sounds like it was meant to be played this way all along. They actually could have gone with more jazzy vocals – Emili Sande’s approach isn’t TOO different from Beyonce’s – but overall, no complaints on this one.

Together – The xx

Like Over The Love, I find myself a little more bored during this track because it’s slower with a steady beat. I repeat: just because I’m bored doesn’t mean it’s boring. I went over to NPR to read a few of the comments during this. Some lament the absence of electroswing on the soundtrack. I found some on YouTube – fun stuff! Definitely worth seeking out. Also, someone on YouTube suggests that the blips on this track are supposed to evoke the flashing green light. If so, fantastic!

Hearts A Mess – Gotye

This was released a while ago, no? It’s no jazz hip-hop, but it is refreshing to hear something from Gotye that isn’t Somebody That I Used To Know. Really, after two years of overplay, it’s just a delight to hear ANY song that isn’t Somebody That I Used To Know.

Love is a Blindness – Jack White

Jack White always seems like he was found in a railroad man’s trunk from the 1920s, so it is all too appropriate that he appears on this soundtrack. I can just tell this will be used to great effect in the movie – it’s that kind of song. I wish it had a bit more of a 20s sound, because some of White’s music is really old-school like that. This tune has a lot of squeeling guitars and hints of late-60s rock instead. So, 2000s hip-hop evokes a 1920s vibe better than 1990s U2. Glad we can finally close the lid on that debate.

Into The Past  – Nero

This song didn’t do much for me. I don’t doubt it will fit perfectly in the film, but while I’d listen to a lot of these tracks as stand-alone numbers, I probably wouldn’t for this one.

Kill and Run – Sia

Sia is always really good at having a lot of feelings and singing about them. I don’t mean to sound dismissive – she really is. I suppose by this point I’ve found that the 1920s/jazz-influenced numbers are more exciting, and the others aren’t really – not because they’re bad, but because you hear this sort of song a lot.

  • Definite Downloads: 100$ Bills, Crazy In Love, Bang Bang
  • Skipping It: Hearts A Mess, Into The Past

If you’re looking for some more Gatsby coverage, be sure to stop by Cookies + Sangria on Friday, May 10. We’ve both been Gatsby fans since high school English, and Baz Luhrmann fans since Romeo + Juliet, so this one’s been a long time coming for us!