By Niall McArdle
What’s your favourite song from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack?
As you probably know, Quentin Tarantino has fairly eclectic taste in music (matching his broad taste in film), and he often incorporates music into his films in a way that few others do, making the soundtrack another character, and doing so in such a manner that probably alters your perspective on the song. He seeks out obscure tracks to accompany his images (sometimes they find him). Does anyone hear “Stuck in the Middle with You” and not picture Michael Madsen’s dancing?
While the music of Reservoir Dogs was mostly 1970s pop and soul hits, Pulp Fiction has a much broader range (but then again, the film is much broader in scope than his debut). Surf music, country & western, rockabilly, soul, rock n’ roll, and, er, Neil Diamond (actually, a Neil Diamond cover). Something for everyone, even an Elvis man (or a square).
Tarantino wanted a great song to open the film because he wanted to announce “We’re big!” He chose surf music because he thought “it’s like rock n’ roll Ennio Morricone.”
Jules Winfield moves the dial on the car radio and we get to listen to a sample of the 1973 funk hit. The film made Kool and the Gang kool again among Tarantino fans: never have so many white people got down.
The classic, smooth love song is the perfect thing to have on your iPod when you and your lady want to make some sweet, sweet loving … or when you’re an over-the-hill boxer taking a dive for a gangster.
The film has one scene that could have been mundane – Mia keeping Vincent waiting on the intercom – except for the song playing in the background. Tarantino has said he wouldn’t have done the scene if he hadn’t got the rights to the song.
L.A can be a lonesome town, even for Mrs Mia Wallace, so Marcellus asks Vincent to take care of her while he’s gone. The song plays as they sit down at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. Another Nelson song, “Waitin’ in School” is covered by actor Gary Shorelle as Mia and Vincent enter the restaurant.
When Uma Thurman and John Travolta were unsure about how to dance during the twist contest, Tarantino showed them this scene from Godard’s Bande a part
This cover of the Neil Diamond classic is the only song to listen to when you’re OD’ing on heroin.
Sometimes you just have to relax. Particularly when it’s 4:30 in the morning and you’re baked.
Bring out the Gimp!
If you’re interested in submitting for the Cheeseathoon, send me your stuff at firstname.lastname@example.org
And – still in the musical vein – can I give a shout-out to Silver Screen Serenade: Cara is hosting a songs from the movies thing you should check out.
5 thoughts on “The Royale with Cheeseathon Singalong: The Music of Pulp Fiction”
It’s a hard choice from some good stuff, but got to go with Al Green, the Soul Master!
Best wishes, Pete.
Such an amazing soundtrack, start to finish. Then again, I think that about pretty much all of Tarantino’s films. None of the soundtracks ever disappointed me, and while so many of his films showcased different styles of music, they were always perfectly chosen for each piece.
For Pulp Fiction though, I’ll have to go with Chuck Berry’s “C’est la Vie”.
Niall! Thanks so much for the shoutout here. You’re too sweet. And this looks super cool! Your whole BLOG looks super cool! When I get some more downtime, I will peruse more for sure. 🙂 LOVE this soundtrack. It’s just…perfect.