Drive Soundtrack Review
I am generally not a soundtrack type of guy, in fact I am generally not a movie guy, so I have been surprised to the extent which a movie soundtrack has permeated my playlist over the last week. After seeing the dark, minimalistic Drive and seeing the great effect the soundtrack had in filling in the gaps in the movie. While it seems like many movies just grab stock classic rock songs that are about as subtle and artistic as a hammer to the face, the original tracks on the Drive soundtrack are chilly, Euro-80’s synth pop jams that only served to heighten the movie and, to their credit, stand pretty well on their own.
The soundtrack is an anchor point in creating a retro yet futuristic sound that cultivates the detached, lonely feel that is at the center of the movie. The soundtrack is split into electro synth instrumental soundscapes and 80’s referencing Euro synth pop. The latter are the song easier to pull out from the soundtrack, including the part girl pop and part Daft Punk/Justice synth epic “Nightcall” by Kavinsky & Lovefoxx, the sexy, forlorn loneliness of “Under Your Spell” by Desire and album standout “A Real Hero,” which is by College and Electric Youth and serves as an emotional jolt at a crucial point in the movie, filling in the feelings that Ryan Goslings character can’t, or won’t seem to utter. The only band I knew coming into the soundtrack was the Chromatics, who are part of the sexed up electro crew Italians Do It Better. The instrumental portions of the soundtrack are by Cliff Martinez (who apparently was in the Red Hot Chili Peppers?) and are as moody, cerebral and gut wrenching as the movie. Outside of the context of the movie the tracks are surgery sweet, apocalyptic ambient synth tracks (which by itself is great), but when juxtaposed with the scenes they represent in the movie (as correlated by the very descriptive titles), they become something even more heavy and engrossing.
I am wracking my brain to think if I ever have reviewed a movie soundtrack before (maybe one Nick Cave did?), but this soundtrack is surely the most compelling instance to me of the music not only raising the stakes of the movie, but actually being an integral part of making a captivating experience. Whether or not you see the movie (you should), this soundtrack fits right in with the current scene of great synth based audio explorers, artists unafraid to look backwards to create sounds that seemingly come from the ether from some far off planet. I don’t know which to recommend more, the movie or the soundtrack, but considering I have recommended about 4 movies and about 0 soundtracks in my 26 years on earth, recognize that it doesn’t come easily and hopefully that goes to show how much I enjoyed each.