Monday, April 16, 2007

Boogie Nights: The Soundtracks

Perhaps even more than Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson is a master at using music in his films. Composer Jon Brion has been involved in all four of his features along with help from Michael Penn in SYDNEY and BOOGIE NIGHTS. Anderson would of course base much of MAGNOLIA on the songs of Aimee Mann and her incredible tracks would provide that film's soundtrack (along with Brion).
BOOGIE NIGHTS differs from Anderson's other films as he uses many vintage songs from the seventies to compliment the film along with the instrumental work of Brion and Penn. The songs he chose ranged from the very well known (THE BEST OF MY LOVE) to the more obscure (JUNGLE FEVER). Anderson is able to provide an ambitious musical soundscape with bands ranging from WAR to The Beach Boys and everything amazingly fits perfectly well. It would be hard to imagine BOOGIE NIGHTS without the selections Anderson came up with, they place the film securely in its time period but they never overwhelm the action on the screen
Two soundtracks were released for BOOGIE NIGHTS and almost all of the songs for the film were used. Both are fine albums in their own right and they each feature some of the best soul, funk and rock tracks from the late seventies and early eighties. Also featured are bits of the great Brion and Penn score as well as the unforgettable Dirk Diggler and Reed Rothchild tracks, FEEL THE HEAT and YOU'VE GOT THE TOUCH. Songs so bad but so authentic sounding that you can't help but wince and sing along at the same time.
One sly moment happens towards the end of BOOGIE NIGHTS as Jack is walking through his house when we can hear a very brief and distant snippet of Aimee Mann singing VOICES CARRY. Anderson obviously had her wonderful songs in his head as he was putting together BOOGIE NIGHTS and in this brief moment we can hear perhaps the beginning of MAGNOLIA.

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