12 May 2017
Has someone been cutting onions in here, or are those real live saltwater tears running down your face in the movie theater?
There ain’t no movie without the soundtrack (score and songs both), and there ain’t no soundtrack without the movie, as the old adage (probably) goes. Music has the power to make us feel things – even against our own wishes. Think about it – movies without music would be a bunch of people standing around and intensely staring at stuff, or doing everyday actions – with absolutely no drama involved. And that is not what we pay to see.
How about The Matrix’s weird jerky theme number? The Lion King? Or, my personal favourite, Titanic’s “My Heart Will Go On”.
Here are the best of those movie soundtracks which make us (shock, horror!) feel things.
“Feed the Birds” – Mary Poppins, 1964
We start with an oldie but a goodie. You’ve no doubt cried your way through this one, and you’re not really sure why.
The lyrics tell the story of a ‘little old bird woman’ feeding pigeons (and apparently also selling pigeon feeding food to obliging members of the public), who in this case, you are supposed to ignore that pigeons are and always have been categorized as flying nuisances.
But wait – the old woman in Mary Poppins’ song (does she ever mention if she’s made this all up, or if this is based on a real person? If so, how does this bird woman feel that Mary’s singing about her but not actually buying from her?) mentions what it is that’s made your face mysteriously wet:
‘Their young ones are hungry /
‘Their nests are so bare’
Excuse us while we remove something stuck in our eyes…
“Mission Impossible Theme” – Mission Impossible, 1996
You’re hearing it right now, aren’t you? The beats, those riffs, and you’re maybe even getting a little tense.
The power of the Mission Impossible theme goes way beyond the punchy energy and rickety beats. Even just hearing the opening bars nowadays is musical shorthand for some pretty serious badassery is about to go down.
In fact, it is scientifically proven (probably) that adding the Mission Impossible theme to just about any situation instantly makes it 1000x more dramatic.
Now if only you had a ceiling suspension cord lying around…
“Psycho Theme” – Psycho, 1960
If you ask anyone what they know about 1960’s Psycho, they’ll most likely all be able to tell you one thing, and one thing only – that a screaming woman gets stabbed to death in a shower. They may even try to reproduce those terrifying violin sounds, and make stabbing motions towards you as they do so.
Nevertheless, whether you’ve seen Psycho or not (and most people probably have not – you can have the experience of watching the movie in a much shorter time frame by playing the movie-linked online slot over at Mr Green Casino), everyone knows the Psycho theme. Just as the MI theme symbolizes something epic is going to go down, the Psycho theme – starting off with a muted kind of intensity, which eventually explodes into the terrifying crescendo which accompanies its most famous scene – is a musical code equivalent to ‘you need to leave RIGHT. ABOUT. NOW.’
As with the MI theme mentioned above, playing the Psycho theme at loud volumes, preferably without prior announcement, is a surefire way to inspire action (and fear) in surrounding people.