It should go without saying that I have been ostracised by my entire family, deemed ‘gay’ on many an occasion and laughed at by peers when I say that our Baz’ colourful, eccentric and highly stylised take on The Bard’s most famous love story is my favourite film of all time. Ignoring the fact that it was the only vehicle to make Claire Danes look semi-attractive before she hitched up with ‘Our Ben’ (we Australians have this pathological need in claiming as our own the kids we used to bully in the playground – ‘Our Nic’ anyone?) and that Leo DiCaprio had the rug pulled from under him by the extrodinary performances of Mercutio and Tybalt, this is killer. This is like Shakespeare as reimagined by Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction; fast-paced, exciting and with backing music to die for. Luhrman has always seen the score as paramount to the picture, as evidenced in Moulin Rouge, where shit got even more ridiculous and he managed to get Pink, Christina, Li’l Kim and Mya in the room for a burlesque number. I recently found this gem in the treasure trove known as ‘hard drive from when I used to own a PC’, and thought it criminal that you not be treated to at least some of its amazing pieces.
3. Everclear – Local God
Scene: The Capulet gang get stupid on the sands of Verona Beach
Everclear are a band famed for making songs that recall the exuberance of youth without reminding you of all the ridiculous shit you got up to in the meantime. Personally, I can’t stand the singer’s voice, but Local God is so full of beautiful pop culture throwaways “I feel just like a local god when I’m with the boys/We do what we want, yes we do what we want” and “I feel so stupid happy in love” that you kind of have to dig it. It’s also got that two-chord, repetitive guitar chugging that sounds so 90s I’m surprised it’s not featured on every music channels countdown. Most importantly, it’s the most un-Shakespeare sounding track on the record, a perfect juxtaposition of style and taste which was probably Luhrman’s idea in the first place.
2. Radiohead – Talk Show Host
Scene: The banished Romeo finds out about Juliet’s death.
One of the most harrowing scenes in the film (apart from, y’know, the ending), Romeo’s letter from the priest ushers in the serene sounds of Britain’s favourite anti-heroes and lots of wandering around in the dust, beating himself and crying. This is a B-Side, you can’t find it on any of Radiohead’s plethora of records and the bastards at EMI just altered it to sound cleaner for the ‘Best Of’ compilation. The sparse bass line, effected drums and Thom Yorke’s almost drugged-up vocals “I’ve been waiting…With a gun and a pack of sandwiches, and nothing…” make this an intensely moving piece of music. And the fact that Leo’s crying over a woman, not blood diamonds, makes it increasingly realistic.
1. Kym Mazelle – ‘Young Hearts Run Free
The scene: The Montague’s royal ball where a raving, cross-dressing Mercutio steals the show
I know, I know. I also can’t believe that this wasn’t recorded as a gay anthem before it became hugely popular upon R+J‘s release. But rest assured, there is no better party song in the world if you’re able to stop worrying about life and just go with it. Seriously, this song signalled the end of my innocence, as I saw as a 14 year old what it is real adults do at parties. Well, that and the sight of a black man in drag probably did it. I couldn’t give a shit what y’all think, I reckon this beats the crap out of any Kid Cudi number. It’s so joyous and uplifting, especially given the fact that it’s basically a ‘how-to’ guide for when you get dumped. Brilliant, simply brilliant.
The other notable inclusion is Des’ree’s I’m Kissing You. But that one gets a whole post to itself.
Get this soundtrack. You won’t regret it.