The other day, I was listening to my local NPR station, and they have this weekly feature called “The Do List” where they list events that are going on locally during the weekend.Â They mentioned the San Francisco Jazz Festival and they said Jimmy Scott would be performing. That made me smile because, to me,Â Jimmy Scott is part of the David Lynch universe, and being that I’m a big fan of Lynch’s work, I tend to hear his music through that perspective.Â Inspiration struck, and I got to work on a mix of songs that were featured in David Lynch films — and a couple that could be. Grab a slice of pie, a cup of coffee, pull up a log, and let’s get started, shall we?
“Sycamore Trees,” Jimmy Scott (download)
Well, you knew I had to lead with Jimmy Scott. right?Â It was such a great moment in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me when Jimmy appeared in the Black Lodge to sing this creepy, but memorable tune.Â But like many things Lynch, moments like Scott’s serenade in the film are not explained, and it’s up to the viewer to interpret what it all means.
“Jitterbug,” Angelo Badalamenti (download)
Mulholland Dr. was supposed to be a TV show, but it got lost in the Hollywood maze, and ended up as a film.Â The dance sequence that opens the movie (with this tune playing) is a nice contrast to the weirdness that ensued as the story progressed.Â But that’s the way it is in Lynchville.Â There’s usually a sunny patina of Jitterbug dances, kids playing in front yards, friendly firemen waving from trucks, and some of the best damn coffee you’ll ever taste. Just underneath, though, is a dark underbelly that becomes the core of his work.Â Mulholland Dr. was the second film by Lynch to explore the nature of identity and how it can fracture into alternate realities.
“Three to Get Ready,” the Dave Brubeck Quartet (download)
This film opened and closed so fast that I felt lucky to have seen it in a movie theater. It’s over three hours long, and it requires the viewer to completely surrender to the experience.Â Looking for a logical narrative in a movie like INLAND EMPIRE is a fool’s errand.Â Like Mulholland Dr. and Lost Highway, this film is about split identities, alternate realities, and how they intersect at times.Â It’s not an easy movie to watch, but Laura Dern does such a great job in this film that her performance alone is worth the price of a rental/download/DVD sale.
“Worrisome Heart,” Melody Gardot (download)
At 19, Gardot was struck by a car while riding a bike and suffered some major injuries that required her to remain in bed (to this day, she walks with cane). As part of her recovery, her doctor suggested she work with music to restore her damaged cognitive functions.Â She did just that, and eventually recorded an EP in her bedroom.Â This song, however, is from her first full-length album, and it’s really quite wonderful.Â I heard a clip of it on the radio and later downloaded the entire album from Amazon (Yeah, I paid for it, bitches).Â Gardot was also featured at the San Francisco Jazz Festival and her cool jazz style is one that I think would fit well in a David Lynch movie.
“Red Bats with Teeth,” Angelo Badalamenti (download)
If there was ever a song that foreshadowed the narrative of a film, this is it.Â The straight 4/4 rhythm builds in intensity as the saxophone surfaces to complement the melodic sounds, then quickly morphs into more discordant explorations, and finally fractures into a squawking cacophony of crazy, almost violent, noises. If you’ve seen Lost Highway, you know that’s pretty much the fate that befalls the main character played by Bill Pullman.
“Sun Dirt Water,” the Waifs (download)
Another tune that should be in the David Lynch universe. It’s jazzy, sultry, and such a wonderful departure for the Waifs.Â Â The entire CD is quite good, but this track stands out as the most Lynchian.