#17 on the 2012 Musical Bacon Calendar
The Master: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood
Given yesterday’s news, I’m finding it hard to separate my throwaway thoughts about music from: my mounting hatred for the shooter, the gun-owners among us and the ineffectual government I happily voted into office; my deep sympathy for the victims, their families; and my growing sense of dread and helplessness because of the impossibility of keeping my son — all children — everybody — 100% “safe.”
I tried to ignore it, to move on without acknowledgment, resulting in a handful of pithy and, now, upon reflection, guilt-inducing tweets, as well as a few posts about music that seem oh so unimportant now. So forgive me if this post tries to draw a line — no matter how tenuous — between what I’m currently listening to and to what is happening in the world all around us.
I cope through music.
Here, where I’m finally giving myself a chance to reflect, I determined the band I was originally going to write about for #17 wasn’t right for my state of mind. So that album now moves up the charts so something more in tune can move down to this more appropriate spot.
The soundtrack to P.T. Anderson’s disturbingly wonderful The Master, created and curated by Radiohead’s lead instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood, is strangely perfect for right now. For those of you who have not seen The Master, I recommend it, especially if you can see it right now, in our current collective malaise.
It’s not an especially exciting movie, but the lead characters in the movie are so off kilter, suffering from some mental imbalance, crippling dependencies or delusions of grandeur, that the movie proves especially poignant for right now. The people are brilliantly portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams, and these are career defining performances from actors who have had numerous such moments already in their lifetimes.
Another key character in the movie is Greenwood’s equally disturbing soundtrack, eerily perfect for my current mindset. It has an amazing ability to engender and/or feed my sense of melancholy that very few albums could achieve at this very moment. Each song, with only a couple of exceptions, is hard to tie to the exact scene within which it was played in the movie. You remember the tune, but you can’t quite put your finger on what visuals were playing under it when you first heard it.
The soundtrack is also entirely listenable on its own, provided you share in my desire to prolong the happy-sad feelings. This is a mark rarely achieved by a soundtrack, and while Greenwood wrote the entire score, its longevity will inevitably be attributed in part to the unsettling, memorable characters created by Anderson and acted by Hoffman, Phoenix and Adams.
Of course, this soundtrack and now the bridge I’ve drawn between it and the horrific events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, don’t solve anything. It doesn’t do anything to make me feel I’m keeping my family safer, nor does it help me understand why my elected officials pretend to have their hands tied, powerless against the conversely powerful gun lobby. But it helps a little.
And there are a couple of other, more concrete ways to ease the pain, to help you feel like you can affect change, if ever so slightly:
Donate to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Tips for contacting elected representatives:
Identify yourself as a constituent: Politicians are most interested in the opinions of people who can vote for them. Identify yourself as a constituent of the legislator you are contacting.
One issue at a time: Whether writing, visiting or calling your legislators, focus on a single topic - like closing the gun show loophole. You’ll be more effective and receive a faster response.
Be specific: Ask the legislator to take specific action, like sponsoring or voting for a piece of legislation. Ask for a written response that gives your legislator’s position on the legislation, and your request.
Be brief: Make your points quickly and concisely to have the greatest impact.
Be polite: Be respectful when contacting your legislators. It is important to contact legislators even if you know they will disagree with your position. They need to hear from you, but always be respectful. Those who agree with you need to hear from you too.
And lastly, go see The Master and give the soundtrack a listen. Chances are it probably won’t give you the same small sense of satisfaction it gives me, but there’s no harm in trying.
18. There’s No Leaving Now by The Tallest Man On Earth
19. Transcendental Youth by The Mountain Goats
20. A Church That Fits Our Needs by Lost In The Trees
21. Hospitality by Hospitality
22. Free Dimensional by Diamond Rings
23. History Speaks by Deep Sea Diver
24. A Different Ship by Here We Go Magic
25. Negotiations by the Helio Sequence
26. Moms by Menomena
27. The Sound of the Life of the Mind by Ben Folds Five
28. Shields by Grizzly Bear
29. Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun by The Wooden Sky
30. Fragrant World by Yeasayer
31. Reign of Terror by Sleigh Bells