Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Songs to off yourself to

Cinematic Songs for Suicide

This week sees the release of Gus Van Sant's Last Days, which looks at the downward spiral of a Kurt Cobain-like rock star in his last days before committing suicide. (Sorry... did I ruin the ending for you?)

In conjunction with that, IFC looks at cinema's greatest offings. What I find interesting with these is the songs chosen play during the event. I've created a list of songs that were either played during suicides of a movie or strongly associated with a suicide-centered movie.

Tomorrow I'm going to kill myselfThe obvious one that comes to mind is the prophetically appropriate "Needle In The Hay" (Elliott Smith) playing to the suicide attempt of Richie Tenenbaum (Luke Wilson) in The Royal Tenenbaums. The song plays while he shaves is face and head and proclaims to the mirror, "I'm going to kill myself tomorrow." Which is inexplicably followed by an immediate slashing of his wrists. His blood joins the hair clippings on the tiled floor... it unfolds so creepily with Smith's meloncholy tune backing it.

"Que, Sera, Sera (What Will Be, Will Be)," recorded at the height of Sly Stone's drug abuse, is a perfect backdrop for a cinematic offing. Heathers is a movie that wouldn't get made this climate (a high school student ridding dynamite in the stands?) so it just might live on as probably the greatest example of how much high school can suck.

A couple of the movie suicides were actually uplifting, in a sense, and the music reflected that. "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out" was a great song for Harold & Maude (we even played it at my sister's funeral this year) while the ending to Thelma & Louise played out like a celebration of a life lived without compromise (to B.B. King's "Don't Look Down.") Here's these and

1. "Needle in the Hay" Elliott Smith (Royal Tenenbaums, 2001)
2. "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out" Cat Stevens (Harold & Maude, 1971)
3. "Que, Sera, Sera (What Will Be, Will Be)" Sly & The Family Stone (Heathers, 1989)
4. "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" Elvin Bishop (Boogie Nights, 1997)
5. "I'll Be Seeing You" Billie Holiday (Bad Timing, 1980)
6. "Better Not Look Down" B.B. King (Thelma & Louise, 1991)

Before considering killing yourself to one of these songs, click here.

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JC said...

You missed one of the most obvious songs:
From MASH - Suicide is Painless
This is the song playing when Painless (the dentist) takes the black pill trying to kill himself.

drake leLane said...

Aha, that is a good one.

The fact that they used it for the series kind of made it ubiquitous (for me, anyway,) and so I don't associate with suicide, but instead with a war-based dramedy series that lasted a long-ass time ;)