Since a large part of my life for the past 12 years has been music supervision, today's post I'm going to focus on music uses that I thought were particularly moving or effective. It's not about the quality or the coolness of the song, it's about how well it conveyed the emotion intended. (NOTE: No Scorcese Rolling Stones uses are mentioned. Too obvious, even if they are some of the best in movie history).
Dancing On My Own - Robyn:
Fairly obvious one here. Lots of chatter about the current writing on the show, or the tendency for gratitous uncomfortable nudity, but when the show was finding it's legs, first season, this song set the tone perfectly for the just born calf-like independence that the main characters were experiencing.
Public Image - Public Image, Ltd.
The song kicks in at about 1:10 of the clip above. The movie starts, you meet the main character talking calmly and confidently about his mission statement, and then BOOM, the song comes in and blows you through the back wall of the theatre. Fantastic use that made me feel adrenalized down to my bones.
21 JUMP STREET (The Original Series)
Monkey Man - The Rolling Stones
I remember watching this show as a kid, and because they would always announce whose music was used in the upcoming episode in the post-cold open credits, i'd tune in just to see if my favorite bands made the cut. One episode they used almost entire Green-period REM, which 15 year old me flipped out over. Weirdly, this show also introduced me to the Beat Farmers, and possibly my love of alt.country, which at the time was VERY un-Long Island, even for a WDRE listener.
This use is essentially a riff on Basketball Diaries and you have to put up with Richard Grieco's hair, BUT, it's pretty much the best non-Scorcese use of a Stones song I had ever seen. It doesn't quite hold up, simply because the dress and direction screams mid-80s, butm back in the early days of HS, this use melted my brain. Unfortunately, it's not on the re-release of this series due to cost. Maybe they'll bring it back for 22 Jump Street.
Five Dollar Foot Long Song - Jimmy Hared (Tonefarmer)
Jingles are a lost art. Ask any 80s kid to sing about Band-Aids, Mon Chee Chee stuffed animals, or Coke and you know exactly the jingle. That's why this Subway jingle may be the single most effective piece of advertising of the last 10 years. How much are the subs? 5 bucks. How big are they? A Foot long. Where do you get them? Subway. Can you get the song out of your head? Hell no.
These are the first ones that jump to mind. I'm sure there are tons more, but those will have to wait for Volumes II-III and beyond