A Love Letter to Baby Driver’s Musical Prowess.

Let’s go over reasons one might rewind their iPod when in their car.

  1. The guitar solo of “Oblivius” by The Strokes is too good for one listen, and so you constantly scrub back.
  2. Someone is talking over the best part of the song, and you absolutely refuse to let them ruin the song.
  3. Someone lowers the music and so you start the song over, and now put the volume higher because, the audacity.

 

And finally, because you’re in a high speed chase and the only way you can drive is if your fave jam is on, and you can’t not be in perfect rhythm. 

Duh.

Baby Driver was something huh? From a music fan perspective, it was pretty mesmerizing and awe inspiring. It took me back to my greasy days as a teenager with far too much chest hair, and an obsession with Call of Duty. I would spend hours upon hours watching Call of Duty montages synced with music, and to say I was obsessed would be an understatement. I was in love with how you could make something like online multiplayer artistic expression, by editing and using music to elicit a response.

How was it possible, that I would get the feels watching someone decapitate another person by jumping off a building? Easy…add “Grapefire Vines” By Death Cab For Cutie. The cutting and editing was mesmerizing, and it got to the point where I even had a crack at it. It was terrible, but I tried to sync up my gameplay to Cage the Elephant’s “Aint No Rest for the Wicked”.

And so when I hear comments blasting the story, or even knocking the soundtrack that was hand picked and curated specifically to the vision of Edgar Wright, I get a little defensive. Maybe it’s because I can’t stand when people make comments on my music, saying stuff like “what are you listening to”, or “what is this shit”. BUDDY, I LISTEN TO MUSIC FOR ME NOT FOR YOU, OKAY? And so I make sure I never demean anyone’s musical taste.

I’m not too sure what the point of this post necessarily is, because it’s not a film review, and it’s not even a soundtrack review. But to see music used as brilliantly and creatively as is done in Baby Driver, to that effect, to that type of precision, evoked a response strong enough from me to know I had to write about it.

Now for those of you who don’t know, Baby Driver is a heist film that is completely centred around the score. The music is the film, and the story is merely there to support it. Nearly every scene is perfectly synced to the music, whether it be a chase scene or a shootout. It’s every montage I watched as a kid combined, except with great choreography, excellent stunts, and far more energy. The film succeeds because of the risks it takes, kind of like me attempting 360 no scopes through walls. (A little something for you COD fans 😉 )

To have music playing for nearly the entire film, that of which is almost entirely made up of songs that are currently not “popular” is an impressive feat. Maybe I’m living vicariously through Edgar Wright, because all I want is for my indie playlists to be widely accepted by audiences everywhere, and if you force people to listen to your music by hiding it behind a film, than you win right? Audiences listened to it, and they probably loved it, so that’s the end goal right? You’ve done what you needed to do. You can retire, or better yet, you can take a Larry David style hiatus, because ultimately you got millions of people who have no idea what songs are playing, to listen to them, and to enjoy them. You win Edgar. (But I also win…right?)

This is Edgar Wright’s own personal playlist, hand selected to match every mood his character is feeling.  This is what I talk to my friends about when they ask me what my dream is. I just say “to make playlists and hand select soundtracks to people’s lives”. How cool would that be? To control each song someone hears every time they experience an emotion or mood.

Oh, you just woke up, and you’re feeling a moment of happiness as the birds pick you up like Cinderella? – “Feel it Still” by Portugal. The Man

But now for some reason you’re feeling a moment of anxiety as you remember that you have to make coffee before you actually wake up. “Yet Again” by Grizzly Bear

It gets to the point where I make playlists for obscure moments in my life I’ll probably never experience.

“Sad, but also technically happy because you were named after Happy Gilmore”

“When you’re trying to cry, but can’t because you just had surgery for your tear ducts”

I could do this all day.

And that’s what is at a play here. Full creative musical responsibility. I dabbled in screenwriting for a mere moment, and my favourite part of that was adding music to match the mood of the characters.

I go into work at the restaurant that currently employs me, and I literally just wait for upper management to ask if I can put my playlist on. I talk to people, and I’m not listening to their words, I’m listening to the music playing in the background.

In Baby Driver, we are N’Sync, and Edgar is our master. We are Team America, and Edgar Is Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

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I think it’s important to keep this lens when watching the film, because what it makes up for in music it lacks in plot. The story is pretty simple, and acts more as a vehicle for action packed music fun. The characters are mostly one dimensional and shallow and the actual driving force thematically, which is freedom and love, is pretty weak. But you forgive this all because of the fun, self aware nature of the script. You forgive this all, because Baby is all of us in high school, and maybe even now, walking around acting too cool listening to his favourite jams.

Baby has 7 different iPods for different days. Baby understands more than anybody that music needs to fit the mood, needs to fit the environment, needs to fit the person, and personalizes it so. Baby is the playlist addiction inside of me, and when I see him, I see me, in the darkness, at 1am, sweating because my home has no air conditioning, adding songs to obscure emotional playlist I may never listen.

And so when you go watch this film, watch it for the music. Appreciate the precision needed to make a film this fun with music this good. Forgive the story, because that’s not the purpose of this film. Go in, and enjoy someone’s deepest passion come through his two favourite mediums, and leave your judgemental hat at home. I know, it can be tough to be fully satisfied by a film that gets as absurd as it does by the end, but try and remember how unique it is until that point. 

So if you’re going to make comments as “audacious” as  “the film, and music sucked”, just leave the theatre early and put on 99.1. There is more than plenty of top 40 to go around.

Love you, Eddy. Now, for more musical and theatrical fun, go watch “Scott Pilgrim vs The World”, for me, but also, the universe. 

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