Monday 27 August 2018

don't write me off just yet: three years of musing + lyrics

i'll be honest, now that my blog is somehow in its third (!) year, i'm finding it difficult to think of new things to write about every time its ~anniversary~ comes around. 

however, one obvious thing i've never talked about is how my blog got its name. i mentioned it briefly in this post, but i was surprised to find i've never actually done a full post on the film music and lyrics and its soundtrack, both of which are excellent, so today is that day. 

it goes without saying that this post is full of spoilers, so if you've somehow never seen the film in the eleven (!) years since it was released, proceed with caution.

first we need to flashback to 2009 (i'm sorry). i was in year nine and we had just entered the classroom where our music lesson was to take place. what had so far been a normal school day was about to be transformed via the power of 80s pop and piano ballads. 

bear in mind i was very much still in the Pop Closet at this time and it would take years before i would publicly admit my love for this film. for a long time it remained a closely guarded secret between my two best friends, and we would randomly break into snippets from the film's soundtrack when the mood struck us. 

upon entering the classroom we discovered that our regular teacher wasn't in and we were to have a supply, much to our delight as it meant we were most likely going to watch a film. 

and what a film it was. 

our supply teacher was young and blonde and as expected, fairly disinterested in the rabble of teenage boys who usually caused havoc by repeatedly blasting out sound effects from the keyboards every lesson. in attempts to keep them quiet, she put on music and lyrics

the opening of the film was like nothing i'd ever seen before; hugh grant launching into a spectacular performance of pop! goes my heart

for context: hugh's character in the film is a washed up 80s star from the band pop! (i know) tasked with writing a new song for pop sensation cora corman - responsible for bops such as this, and scantily clad performances which no doubt contributed to me being Very Gay - and after meeting sophie fisher - played by drew barrymore - when she comes to water his plants, they embark on both a songwriting and a personal partnership. 

pop! goes my heart - the song that made alex fletcher a star - is a masterclass in all things 80s; the synths, the dramatic breakdown and a halfhearted attempted at a choreographed dance routine and i'm not ashamed to say i know every word.

fast forward to the present and he's performing at a high school reunion attended by sophie and her aunt rhonda, a pop! superfan. the song he performs is meaningless kiss, a shameless rip off of careless whisper but of course my 14 year old self wouldn't yet know this. 

upping the ante, the next time we see him on stage is at an amusement park playing to a crowd of approximately thirty people, now supported backstage by sophie. 

dance with me tonight is reminiscent of true by spandau ballet, a new wave masterpiece and one of my all time favourite songs; i've lost count of how many times i played this at full volume to drown out the sound of my housemates during my last year at uni. the film version sadly only lasts for one minute and thirty eight seconds, but a full version can be found on spotify, showcasing the saxophone solo in all its glory. 

following a run in with her (terrible) ex and an argument with alex, sophie is all set to pack up and move to florida when rhonda drags her along to cora corman's show at madison square gardens, where the song alex wrote for her will be debuted. 

so imagine her surpise when alex opens the show with don't write me off, a piano ballad he hopes will win sophie back. naturally it works and they embrace back stage before going on to become a successful songwriting duo. say what you want about how unrealistic romantic comedies are, but if someone isn't willing to write a ballad and perform it at the second biggest arena in the world to declare their love for me, i don't want it at all. i'm clearly kidding, but it's that kind of thoughtful gesture that i feel should be mandatory in all romantic relationships. 

the grande finale is of course alex and cora performing way back into love for the first time, and after her insistence that the song have a "heavy indian" theme, she eventually agrees to release the original version written by alex and sophie, which i've secretly always preferred; my favourite scene in the film is when alex and sophie are rushing to finish the song and deliver the final CD (!) to cora before she jets off in a helicopter. 

nevertheless, the final version has a coldplay-esque quality to it that makes it perfect for their stadium performance and i still take great pleasure in yelling along to it today. 

though i left that lesson slightly confused about what i'd just watched, it was probably the beginning of my obsession with Big Choruses, Sad Bops, Piano Ballads and of course Key Changes, so i have to give credit to that supply teacher - whose name i sadly don't remember - for opening my eyes to the sheer joy of pop music.

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