The Soundtrack Series takes a departure from the norm today. Typically, the series has featured filmmakers with massive filmographies, providing lots of scenes to choose from for the series. Today’s choice, Edgar Wright, has directed just three feature films. And so it should speak volumes for how impressive the soundtracks have been for Edgar Wright films that he can be included in a series that has also featured directors like Stanley Kubrick, the Coen brothers, Martin Scorsese, and Wes Anderson. Here is the Soundtrack Series: Edgar Wright.
Hot Fuzz, The Village Green Preservation Society
When you boil down the entirety of Hot Fuzz, it’s basically about the Kinks’ The Village Green Preservation Society– a cult of people dedicated to cherishing an era that has passed them by. “We love Donald Duck” (Sandford residents repeating the sentiment: “Donald Duck”). It plays just as Nicholas Angel is greeted so gleefully by the townsfolk who would one day become his nemesis.
Hot Fuzz, Village Green
And like everything else in Hot Fuzz, there’s a perfect echo point, this time the Village Green Preservation Society‘s companion song, The Village Green. Naturally, the song references setting eyes on a steeple just moments before an especially fun scene involving a church steeple. And it has a considerably more wistful air to it than The Village Green Preservation Society.
Shaun of the Dead, The Blue Wrath
The opening credits of Shaun of the Dead are brilliant, featuring Shaun’s neighbors all going through their daily life in zombie-like fashion. Sure enough, we see them all later in the same mode with one minor exception. They’ve since died and returned as the undead. It’s all punctuated by the whimsical and eerie Blue Wrath from I Monster. And it ends with Shaun, stumbling like a zombie through his life, complete with zombie groan.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, I Heard Ramona Sing
The perfection of this song is two-fold. Obviously, it’s a song about a girl named Ramona, which matches Scott’s infatuation with Ramona Flowers. And the use of Frank Black in any film is endearing. It’s a great song from Black Francis, executed just right by Edgar Wright and crew.
Shaun of the Dead, Don’t Stop Me Now
Apparently, every single version of this video clip is embedding disabled by request because Universal doesn’t want me to show you three minutes of how awesome their movie is and how much I think you should buy it. But I digress. You can find the clip here. What you’ll find is a Busby Berkeleyesque sequence full of humor and chaos wherein the Berkeley symmetry is set to movie characters whoopin’ a zombie with pool cues. That is to say, it’s amazing. And dogs CAN look up.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, We Are Sex Bob-Omb
Putting aside the song, the opening credits to Pilgrim- when We Are Sex Bob-Omb plays- are a total trip. It begins with Scott asking to play “Launchpad McQuack”, which spirals into “We Are Sex Bob-Omb”, an impossibly long and perfect tracking shot, and a credits sequence rife with references to both classic film and the Pilgrim plot that you’re about to see unfold.
Hot Fuzz, Goody Two Shoes
If you want to establish that your protagonist as a Dudley Do-right type, capable of strictly upholding the law, adding Adam Ant’s Goody Two Shoes to a montage of his job history sure does the trick. Making “Angel” his surname only adds to the fun.
Shaun of the Dead, You’re My Best Friend
You have to love the cheekiness of ending a zombie movie- especially one that ends the way Shaun ends- with a song that features the refrain “Oooh, you make me live.” And then it goes on to espouse the strength of friendship, again in lock step with the film’s ending.
Scott Pilgrim, Black Sheep
Wright and company executed this scene perfectly, using a flurry of DePalmaesque split screen shots to capture the awkwardness of Scott and Ramona each encountering their respective exes- Envy Adams and Todd. It’s a scene and a song sure to blast the audience to dust. And the cleaning lady can clean it up on Monday. Because she cleans up dusts. She dusts. And she has the weekend off, right?
Shaun of the Dead, Panic
I’m cheating a bit by including this song, since only five actual words of it appear in the movie. But it’s plenty memorable when The Smiths’ Panic howls “Panic on the streets of London” as Shaun flips around the channels early in the film, trying to decipher what’s going on in the outside world. Embedding is disabled on the scene but you can find it here.
Hot Fuzz, Caught by the Fuzz
This is the song that plays over the closing credits. Given how the movie shakes out, and the mug shot scene that precedes the credits, it’s hard not to crack a huge smile. And the vibe from the song is pitch perfect with the film.