Once upon a time, there was this indecisive music nerd who wanted nothing more than to engineer the soundtracks for movies. This could consist of writing my own original score, or selecting existing songs.
A couple years ago, I read Ayn Rand‘s “Atlas Shrugged“, which didn’t become a pretty-much-classic for no reason; it’s a wordy-but-incredibly-decent book, worth every page. Every densely-packed, 5-point font, single-spaced….page.
When the movie trilogy came out on DVD, I watched it. Certain aspects of it were quite well-done, such as some of the visual effects and their level of futurism. However, certain aspects were poorly-done (they couldn’t get the same acting crew to play the same characters for more than one movie? Really?), and other aspects were unclear. Still other parts of the story itself were disproportionally emphasized; many unimportant elements over-exaggerated, and many fundamental/crucial elements were down-played.
I’m not in the film industry, though. So I probably couldn’t remake the movie. (Damn. Because it had such greater potential.)
But I am sort of a music geek. (OK, I’m really a music geek.) I could potentially assign a decent soundtrack to the movie, hand-picking eclectic tunes from a vast library of music-nerd-dom.
Tonight, I’m completely chill, and I find myself in a helpful, random, trivial-list-making mode. A cluster of songs that would fit the movie had come to me earlier, piling on me in dump-truck fashion; if I got the chance to put together the soundtrack for the “Atlas Shrugged” trilogy, this is what I would choose.
I’m not sure if these are in perfect order. But they’re in a loose order.
(Note 1: All song links point to videos, which may or may not be “official” videos. I’ve expressed a preference for Vimeo where available, due to YouTube’s participation in the Evil Google Empire and its incessant ads, but alas, Vimeo only had not quite half of what I searched for. I’m just glad I found full-length videos or mp3s of some songs at all; the last time I had searched for a way for people to be able to listen to some of these, there was simply nothing out there.)
(Note 2: I’ve purposefully been vague about the plot to avoid as many spoilers as possible.)
I would probably open with “D’you Know What I Mean?” by the mostly-’90s alternative band Oasis.
During one of the scenes between Reardon and his wife, I would probably have “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Nouvelle Vague playing in the background, a calm, wistful remake of the New Wave classic by Joy Division.
I would play “Faster Disco” by Faith No More during a big scene with lots of action that intersects with heavy significance. Perhaps during when Dagny is navigating toward Galt’s Gulch. “Faster Disco” is a big, powerful, large-as-life song that awakens the spitfire within and almost incites one to set out on a journey–or witness a supernova, I’m not sure which.
The desert-beautiful, twisting, agonizing “Splinters” by the alterna-twang group 16 Horsepower (from Denver, Colorado) would serve as the perfect accompaniment to Ellis Wyatt setting fire to said fields.
During a scene when Reardon and Dagny have been together, especially one that tugs at Dagny’s heartstrings at the end of the scene, I think that “Don’t Go” by Nouvelle Vague would make the perfect backdrop. It’s the sultry, low-key remake of the classic New Wave hit by Yazoo.
During a similar scene that ends with a sunnier vibe, the also-sultry, playful, bouncy, cryptic “You’re My Flame” by Zero 7 would work perfectly. “Page One” by baggy-turned Britpop artists The Charlatans UK would be a good match for another similar scene.
When Dagny lets go of the railroad to her manipulative snake of a brother, the song “The End of Everything“, also by The Charlatans UK, with its lyrical references to how “they only want a yes-man” and “you’re dead in me forever” in the lyrics, would make an excellent fit.
“In the Waiting Line“, also by Zero 7, as well as Public Image Ltd’s “The Order of Death“, would work well for a scene that is somewhat bleak, where life as they know it is getting more and more bureaucratic and making less and less sense, as another thriving entity withers away and falls off the roster of available options, sending plumes of employees into desperation as yet one more employer choice evaporates as well.
During the scene Reardon is caving in and signing the Gift Certificate under severe coercion, an instrumental version of the rarely-known, forlorn song “Western Pier” by Craig Finn, a tale about persecution of the best-intentioned who had nothing to do with a serious crime.
The eclectic-but-beautiful, dry, and hopeless American Southwestern song “To See the Fires” (direct link to mp3) by Court and Spark would augment the scene where Danneskjold sets up the blowing up of other manufacturing plants producing Reardon Metal.
“Lucky Man” by Britpop group The Verve would likely be a decent choice for the time when Dagny finds herself newly-desposited into Galt’s Gulch, staring up at the warm, greeting eyes of none other than John Galt himself.
Dagny’s return from her sabbatical at Galt’s Gulch would probably be best served by “Shining Road” by the ethereal, shimmering UK-based dream-pop group The Cranes.
“Heel on the Shovel” by 16 Horsepower would fit the bill for any one of the several train scenes, especially those that take place in Colorado, given the music group’s Denver roots.
During the time when Dagny is taking the train through Colorado to support the railroad and the train breaks down, the track “A Chi Sa Dove Sara” by Denver-based y’allternative band Tarantella would convey the perfect amount of rolling-hill remoteness and desert-like nothingness.
I would more than likely cue up a track from the disturbing industrial group Ministry (such as “Cannibal Song“) (or perhaps Public Image Ltd’s “The Order of Death” would work here, too), for the Project F scenes, in which the government openly resorts to overt torture tactics on certain members of the public.
For the final ending, I would come full circle with Oasis again, this time with the track “Cast No Shadow“.
Who is John Galt, indeed?