Thursday, October 13, 2005

Crowe, Elizabethtown & MMJ

Play it: Elizabethtown - Music From The Motion Picture
Play it: My Morning Jacket Z

So Cameron Crowe's latest celluloid tale, Elizabethtown, has been widely panned, and some folks are even saying Crowe's done for - the kids (Zach Braff?) have made him irrelevant. I for one refuse to believe it, but instead see it as a necessary mistep in the maturation of the Fast Times... kid. But instead of kicking Crowe, I thought it'd be more fun to look back at his previous work... naturally with an ear to the soundtracks. So my next few posts will be Reassembled Soundtracks (Rssmbld Sndtrck) of Cameron Crowe classic (and a couple not-so-classic) films, going all the way from Fast Times at Ridgemont High to Vanilla Sky.

Before taking off in that direction, though, let's stay with Elizabethtown for another second... as the best part of the movie, in my mind, is the fact that My Morning Jacket make an appearance in it. Lead singer Jim James appreciates classic rock, much like Cameron Crowe, so it's not that much of a surprise to see them work together.

Nor is it a surprise that MMJ was in the studio for their latest record, Z, with producer John Leckie, who has worked with many that both Crowe and James admire (John Lennon, Pink Floyd, Mott the Hoople, XTC, The Stone Roses and Radiohead to name a few.) Along with their appreciation for those acts, MMJ and Leckie share a deep appreciation for reverb... a lot of it, in fact. So it's a perfect match.

MMJ have mostly dropped the Southern Rock tendencies of It Still Moves, and upon first listen I was a bit perplexed as to where the flying v's went. They really don't make a big impression until the great "What a Wonderful Man" and I don't feel the neck strain of the big hair bobbing up and down until "Anytime," so I was ready to be disappointed. I mean James is writing some straight pop here... how could I be ready for "Wordless Chorus," the opening track. That was a bold move... that and releasing "Off the Record" as a first single, which is the sort of song you swear you've heard before, as a child on AM radio, perhaps. At any rate, old fans have already bought it and digested it by now, I'm sure, so I don't have to tell you that it opens like a flower with repeated listens. It makes me wonder if this is the album that takes them to the next level of a wider audience.

It was the same Cameron Crowe that helped break Pearl Jam when he cast them in Singles, but I doubt Elizabethtown will do the same for MMJ... but with Z, they can do it their own accord.

Next:
Fast Times at Ridgemont High & The Wild Life
Say Anything and Singles

Previously:
Pardon me, but... your bird's on fire (My Morning Jacket in Elizabethtown)

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2 comments:

drake leLane said...

Elizabethtown - Music From The Motion Picture

1. 60B (etown theme) - Nancy Wilson
2. It'll All Work Out - Tom Petty
3. My Father's Gun - Elton John
4. io (This Time Around) - Helen Stellar
5. Come Pick Me Up - Ryan Adams
6. Where To Begin - My Morning Jacket
7. Long Ride Home - Patty Griffin
8. Sugar Blue - Jeff Finlin
9. Don't I Hold You - Wheat
10. Shut Us Down - Lindsey Buckingham
11. Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) - The Hombres
12. Hard Times - Eastmountainsouth
13. Jesus Was A Crossmaker - The Hollies
14. Square One - Tom Petty
15. Same In Any Language - I Nine

drake leLane said...

My Morning Jacket - Z

1. Wordless Chorus
2. It Beats 4 U
3. Gideon
4. What A Wonderful Man
5. Off The Record
6. Into The Woods
7. Anytime
8. Lay Low
9. Knot Comes Loose
10. Dondante
12. Chills (Exclusive)