Thursday, August 31, 2006

perfect sound forever

It's hard to explain to anybody who didn't watch it at the time just how bizarre Twin Peaks really was. A show about the brutal murder of a High School Prom Queen at the hands of (*plot spoiler!*) her dad, who had been possessed by some elemental force of evil, set in a weird hybrid time zone of the 1950s-via-late-80s - actually, that doesn't even begin to describe the show... Anyway, it wasn't what you expected to see on BBC2 at 9pm on a Tuesday night.

I've been thinking about the show since I dug out my copy of "Floating Into The Night" by Julee Cruise, an album of songs written by TP creator David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti.

The three of them first worked together on the song "Mysteries of Love", featured in "Blue Velvet". Apparently, some people used that song to soundtrack their weddings. These are the same people that think "Every Breath You Take" is a sweet love song, or that go around singing "You're Gorgeous" to the object of their affection. Y'know - psychopaths.

Julee Cruise - Rockin' Back Inside My Heart

Julee Cruise - The World Spins

I guess people could use these songs to soundtrack romantic moments... but there's something so unutterably WRONG about them; they're like psychotic versions of 1950s death songs ("Johnny, Remember Me", "Tell Laura I Love Her", etc.).

The music occupies the same time-warp as the show, all sweet, echo-y finger-clicking backing tracks, synthesisers and dreamy guitar. But rather than being smooth and easy-listening, the music is completely devoid of all humanity, totally synthetic and precise, and really cold. Plus Julee Cruise sings these songs as if she's dead or dying.

At times it's like she's sat in the wreckage of a car crash, the lone survivor, cradling her dead lover in her arms - "Love, don't go away / Come back this way / Come back and stay / Forever and ever". The idea of "Forever" is very big throughout all the songs on the album, so they could be sweet, if taken at face value. But the way they're presented they're more likely to creep you out. "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" can be seen as the most romantic of these two songs - "Do you remember our picnic lunch? / We both went up to the lake...". But the last line (and the way it's delivered)... - "I thought our love would last... for... ever...". Yikes.

Jimmy Scott - Sycamore Trees

Julee Cruise performed "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" in the 'Twin Peaks' pilot episode; jazz legend Jimmy Scott sang "Sycamore Trees" in the series finale. This amazing song was featured on the soundtrack of the rubbish follow-up film 'Fire Walk With Me'.

The Julee Cruise songs also appeared in David Lynch's Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted.

Visit - Julee Cruise
Buy - Floating Into The Night
Buy - Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted (video)
Buy - "Fire Walk With Me" OST
Buy - Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to "Twin Peaks" (book)

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