Thursday, August 2, 2007

Make a soundtrack for a John Hughes film

It is as easy for an adult to convince a teenager that her or she empathizes with the younger one's experience as it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. When auteur John Hughes convinced an entire generation of teens that he did, it was loaves and fishes. In Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink and Some Kind Of Wonderful, we middle and high schoolers saw our self-centered selves made miraculously universal in characters and situations that embodied the new archetypes of our age.

To accompany those films, Mr. Hughes compiled soundtracks that outdid one another with achingly beautiful music by new and established alternative artists. Bless him, too, for giving some of those artists the biggest pushes of their careers in the States: Simple Minds, Psychedelic Furs, OMD. The soundtracks were such a priority for him that he was personally involved in the music supervision, and for a time he even maintained his own imprint (Hughes Music) in association with I.R.S. Records.

I cherish those films and their music today as an expression of nostalgia, but Hughes's influence is still alive: today it's commonplace for music supervisors to scour the indie labels for music. Occasionally I hear a new song and think how it could be a refugee from a lost John Hughes soundtrack. Here is a sampler of those tracks, in case Mr. Hughes decides to make a new movie that universalizes the lives of us grown-up teenagers. (And Molly Ringwald had better be in it...)

1. Van She - Kelly
2. Placebo - This picture
3. Sounds - Rock 'n roll
4. Ivy - Tess don't tell
5. Pipettes - It hurts to see you dance so well
6. Ladytron - He took her to a movie
7. Melody Club - Play me in stereo
8. Dandy Warhols - The last high
9. Umbrellas - Angel or demon
10. Gwen Stefani - Cool
11. Stills - Still in love song
12. Bravery - An honest mistake
13. Rock Kills Kid - Hideaway
14. Tribeca - Teenage
15. Hot Hot Heat - No, not now
16. stellastarr* - Love and longing
17. Iris - In spite
18. Shout Out Louds - Impossible
19. Hellogoodbye - Here (in your arms)
20. My Favorite - Homeless club kids