Tune Up

As much as I love classic movies, I think that the cinema, or really rather anything in this world, will become seriously dreary without music. And there’s no arguing in that.

As soon as I came down to this earth from heaven, music instantly became something of a great importance to me. My family loves themselves some good music, and so do I. My childhood was influenced by simple melodies and unforgettable Disney songs, and my teen years (and I’m confessing this cheekily) were more hardcore, because I was introduced to punk-rock and alternative bands from the 90s and afterwards. As I matured, though, I fell in love with house and electro, and like an addict I used to download tons and tons of amazing disco-influenced albums. My iTunes is filled mostly with this genre, if I have to be honest. Then I was briefly infatuated by rap and some mainstream, but that was the end of it.

The me now is proud to admit that my favourite kind of music is (and I plan to stick to this genre for a very, very long time) swing music, and anything along those lines. Predictable, isn’t it? I was introduced to swing just recently, but it’s really the only genre that is able to capture my heart the quickest.

Some of my favourites are the two above: Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman, and Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Artie Shaw, Art Tatum, Django Reinhardt, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, and in a broader range, Frank Sinatra, The Andrews Sisters, Doris Day, Fred Astaire and Dean Martin.

I love the fun elegance swing music have. To me they’re timeless, simply one of a kind. And you know, you’ve got to really appreciate and understand it to truly love it, because this is not a simple genre, not at all. In depth, they have such complexity in their rhythm and the arrangement almost always has a strong, distinctive style that gives them that glorious, old-fashioned (but never outdated) feeling.

I have always thought that swing music isn’t comparable to any other genres, for the reason that they really play with your emotions. The blues cause you to feel moody and solemn, but then your feet tap along to the sudden and fast-paced beat, yet afterwards, you become nostalgic and sentimental as the soul singing starts, but finally, a new and greater sense of excitement takes over as you come across the catchy chorus. It’s just amazing how you can feel one emotion over another by listening to some excellent swing music.

I too love the broader range of swing like ragtime, scat singing, soul and ballads, and simply jazz. It’s kind of lovely to know that they’ve made pre-1920 jazz standards that listed many of my favourite tunes, like Sing, Sing, Sing, St. James Infirmary (one of the most haunting and eerie songs I’ve ever heard), After You’ve Gone (listen to the Kirsten Dunst version, I insist), and St. Louis Blues.

You know, I love it when a movie has the perfect soundtrack. Most musicals do (of course), and the earliest of films have probably the awesomest tunes I’ve ever listened. I love Henry Mancini for composing Moon River, the Pink Panther Theme Song and Days of Wine and Roses, and I just cannot ignore the theme songs from Singin’ In the Rain, Star Wars, The Way We Were, New York, New York, and all of the Astaire-Rogers musicals (especially Top Hat).

But I think that this here (click it) epitomizes the perfect soundtrack for the perfect movie. It has just everything! Exquisite melody, nostalgic singing, amazing piano, and an elevated atmosphere. You can’t imagine the glee I felt when I found out that the AFI listed As Time Goes By as the second greatest song in the history of American cinema (quite the accomplishment!)

And I just love Walt Disney for epitomizing swing music in most of his cartoons. The perfect example would be this one (clickity too), a cartoon from Make Mine Music that never fails to captivate me every time I watch it. It did an excellent job in capturing the spirit of swing and the thick retro feeling it has really makes you wish you were born in the 40s. And well, you’ll see what I mean when you heard the song and watch the cartoon. Just gorgeous.


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