Thursday, November 17, 2005

Music from the End of the World

I haven't posted these last few days because I've been too busy working the Comments to my A Funny Thing post. The first comment took me totally by surprise, coming out of left field to accuse me of "stealing music" and thus setting a bad example for my son. Much back and forth merriment ensued, with an old friend stepping up to the plate in my defense.

An unrelated comment (unrelated to the Comment discussion, but related to the original post) led to my opining on filmmaker Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World, a flawed but intriguing film that somehow generated one of the greatest soundtrack albums in the history of film. If you haven't heard this soundtrack, I urge you to sniff out a copy. Take a look at these Amazon reviews if you don't believe me.

Go ahead, check 'em out. I'll wait until you get back.

Wow, that's a very moving set of Amazon reviews, isn't it? They really reveal the deep, deep reservoir of love and loyalty to this album. Count me among its devotees.

This haunting collection has been in heavy rotation in my life on and off since it came out. Until the End of the World doesn't quite come together as a film, in my opinion (apparently it was heavily butchered by the studio before release, and a redeeming five-hour cut may one day be released), but Wenders' tremendous gift for illuminating love and human connections in the midst of isolation and despair permeates this extraordinary album. The consistency of tone is extremely Wenders-like, despite the amazing diversity of artists contained within.

The Amazon reviews do a fine job covering specific tracks by the likes of U2, Talking Heads, Jane Siberry, Daniel Lanois, R.E.M., Elvis Costello, Lou Reed, and many others; suffice it to say that all these talented artists seem to have been magically inspired to produce at a special meta-level for this soundtrack. Wenders asked the artists (in 1991) to produce the music they thought they would be making in 1999, the year in which the film is set. The result has the feeling of a dispatch both from and for the future.

Wenders cemented his genius as a filmmaker with Wings of Desire, but it is with the Until the End of the World soundtrack that his vision finds its perfect aural complement.

No comments: