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Friday, 21 March 2014

Music: Only Lovers Left Alive


Several weeks late, I finally went to see the Jim Jarmusch vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive this week; contrary to the mostly horror/paranormal foundations of the majority of vampire films, Jarmusch's film (starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston) ignores all tropes and is a quietly paced love story at heart. A love story like no other, as the many-thousand years old vampire couple Adam and Eve go through their life, showing us a brief snippet of their ageless existence.

I won't talk about the themes or the ingenuity of the film and aesthetics (the commentary on humanity's fragility, the stark contrast between how Eve and Adam relate to the human race - shown in their clothing and interiors - and how this shapes their attitudes), or the characterisation, or even how it deconstructs the genre, because that's been talked about many times before me. I will, however, talk about the music; I would probably love the film anyway because of the dream team combination of Swinton and Hiddleston, but it's the soundtrack that makes it for me.

Only Lovers Left Alive is, at heart, a film by a depressive music nerd for depressive music nerds. Music features prominently through the film, with a slowed down version of the dizzying Wanda Jackson's Funnel of Love starting the film off, and the two vampires dancing and listening to both snatches of 20th century and underground rock as well as classical and the Lebanese artist Yasmine Hamdan. Jim Jarmusch also includes music from his own band SQURL, which is full of heavy, intense noise walls and broken guitars. The gamer (who went to see the film with me) hates it, calling it terrible, new wave rubbish, but it's my catnip - the perfect soundtrack for an immortal brooding vampire couple.

You can buy the soundtrack here - also available on vinyl, which I desperately want - or listen to it on YouTube first here (I would recommend buying it and supporting independent cinema and artists, but the album doesn't feature all songs, and try before you buy is never a bad thing).



  1. I've never heard of this! looks awesome. And Tilda Swinton is one of my favorite actresses

    1. Hmm - I thought that it was getting a lot of exposure because of the high profile cast, but perhaps not over the water. Tilda Swinton is my genderless alien empress from outer space

  2. I am dying to see this! It still isn't out in Australia! It must be nearly a year since I first read about it! So sad! I love Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man!

    1. Surprisingly, I haven't seen a lot of Jim Jarmusch's stuff before (never should I be called an independent film buff), but it's a very enjoyable film, if deliberately on the long side. Let me know how it goes!


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