Friday, January 2, 2009

Neil Young - Dead Man Soundtrack

Neil Young - Guitar Solo, No. 1

Neil Young - Do You Know How To Use This Weapon?

The first time I watched Jim Jarmusch's masterpiece Dead Man, I remember being totally infatuated with the soundtrack. And like, immediately, too. It wasn't like the movie finished and upon contemplation I thought to myself, "That was a good movie. And it had a decent soundtrack, too." No. Right after the opening scene (<3 Crispin Glover) I declared, "I love this soundtrack!" But like most things I get excited about, I completely forgot about it in a matter of time. Then thanks to the wonderful internet, I stumbled upon it recently and have once again renewed my love for this soundtrack, never again to be forgotten.

The Dead Man Soundtrack is done by Neil Young. Never in a million years did I think I would be this impressed by a Neil Young record. I mean, it's not that I hate the guy or anything, it's just that I don't think about him. At all.

The music from Dead Man is almost entirely guitar based. It's intensely thick with reverb, echoing all over itself. It's hot, dusty, dry, and full of the outdoors. Now I don't just say that because the film is hot and dry and I'm just trying to cheat out by describing the movie instead of the music. But because the music melds so seamlessly with the imagery from Dead Man that the qualities of the two are almost synonymous.

There are other pieces on the soundtrack that are quotes and dialogue from the movie. It's not a cop-out, though. It's poetic and still (I assume) meaningful to people who haven't seen the movie. You get to hear Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Iggy Pop, and Billy Bob Thorton go all existential, everything they say complementing the wide open guitar perfectly.

Everything about this soundtrack is amazing. I rank it up in the Top 5 Best Soundtracks along with 28 Days Later, Lost In Translation, Snatch, and Marie Antionette. For maximum mind-fuckling, I recommend you try listening to this while trudging through a snow storm. There's nothing quite like it.


Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of working on the recording and the really mindblowing thing he did it in real time playing to the picture...2 passes.

Justin Snow said...

That's amazing! It totally makes sense, though. That's why everything is so integrated and seamless. Thanks for the trivia. It must have been pretty awesome witnessing that.