Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sing out this song and I'll be there by your side

I had two signs today about what this post should be about (maybe what I was planning for today will be tomorrow). It's a little unusual, compared to what I normally post; I would never have guessed that I would ever write about these songs, but I do adore them--completely and totally. The first sign was when I turned on the TV to find it on the channel playing the movie these songs are from, with twenty minutes left (and if you know the movie, I couldn't very well not watch it from there once I'd seen even a couple seconds of a broken-hearted Nicole Kidman watching as her lover walked away from her in front of a packed auditorium; I couldn't stand to watch the very end, though--as is, this is my favorite movie, but it's not one I can stand to watch all that often because of the ending). The second sign was when I went to see the movie Happy Feet (I think I was the oldest non-parent in the theater, but it had adorable dancing penguins in it--really, I had to see it--and I was surprised at how much I ended up liking it; I may even say more about it tomorrow), which also has Nicole Kidman singing in it.

There are so many reasons to love Moulin Rouge--the music, the visuals--but it's all centered around a love story. In my eyes, it's an absolute must-see. As a musical, it adopts the interesting strategy of incorporating both classic popular music and original music (there's far and away more of the former than the latter, though rearrangements may sometimes make it difficult to identify the originals). It may have launched the inescapable reworking of "Lady Marmalade" by Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Mya, and Pink, but if that's the only music from it you know, you're missing out.

Elephant Love Medley--this is one of the cases in which the movie incorporates classic pop songs, here in the form of a medley and duet between Nicole Kidman's Satine and Ewan McGregor's Christian, with Christian trying to convince Satine that she should give him (and love) a chance. As a warning, all of these songs are even better when watched in the context of the movie, both so you can understand the characters and so you can see the absolutely stunning and stylized visuals accompanying them. The one trouble with it being a medley is that I'd love to hear even more of their versions of each of these songs.

Your Song--another cover (of the Elton John song), this time sung by just Ewan McGregor (with some backing). In the movie, this song does precede "Elephant Love Medley." It's a lovely cover, too, though, of course, it's done up to be more showy in parts. Still, there's a disarming simpleness about Ewan McGregor's singing that, despite all the orchestration and operatic background singing, keeps this song grounded and sweet.

Come What May--another duet between Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, but this time an original song. Of course, it's a love song, and a ballad, but I still love it. Once again, I'm not sure how much power these songs will have out of context, but I'd really, really encourage you to go rent the movie if you haven't seen it. It may have a simple love story at it's heart, and that alone is reason enough to love it--that it tells a love story beautifully--but there are so many other levels on which to appreciate it that you're almost sure to find one on which it can resonate with you. Random trivia: this song was originally written for another of director Baz Luhrmann's films, Romeo + Juliet (starring Claire Danes and a pre-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio), but it wasn't used in the film.

To buy the soundtrack for Moulin Rouge (there are actually two, but for the "main one"), go here (physical) or here (digital).

Next up: maybe another sort of left-field post.


Anonymous said...

Thx a lot ! All those songs are really great and u made me discover them.
Your blog is great. Keep it on !

A french visitor of ur website :)

Poster Girl said...

You're welcome! And thank you so much! I'm so happy you like the songs--the rest of the soundtrack is pretty great, too. As is the movie!

Paul said...

God, what´s not to love about Moulin Rouge - despite the fact that uncultured Dazpants can´´t get thru the first ten minutes... they had clips of it on in a musicals bar herein gran canaria last night, and even in my drunken state i knew it was visually stunning and that the world could use more modern musicals like this engrossing piece of genius...

Poster Girl said...

I completely agree! You always seem to find the perfect and most descriptive adjectives--it is so gorgeous and I am completely convinced that it will be--already is--a classic. The fusion of modern pop music with elements from classic stories, the style, the music, the story--genius, as you said :)

atle73 said...

I am a big fan of your blog too. Read it religiously at least once a week and it's the best one around. Have discovered a lot of great music by reading it. Nice to see others having the same taste as me in music. Please keep it going :-)
On the subject "Come what may" i would really recomend the dance-mix of this song if you haven't already heard it. It's not on the album. It's a lot better than the ballad version and very happy uptempo pop.

Poster Girl said...

Wow--that's amazing to hear! Thank you!

"Dance-mix," "happy uptempo pop"--that sounds perfect for me :) I hadn't ever heard of it before, but I'm definitely going to go looking for it--thank you so much for the tip!