Gin & Tonic for the Soul: The Songs that Make the Scenes (Part II)

Interesting Discussion Topics for Happy Hour

This Thursday brings us even closer to the Academy Awards extravaganza! In honor of the movies we love, the music we dig, and the Happy Hours we sing praises of, we present Round II of the Songs that Make the Scenes.

– JB

“I’m Shipping Up to Boston” – Dropkick Murphy’s – THE DEPARTED

Pretty safe to say that we all love THE DEPARTED – from its unbelievable cast to the interweaving narrative of those pesky moles in the state police/mob to the film’s hilarious one-liners. “Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe fuck yourself,” is how I often answer yes or no questions. I also firmly believe that “Are ya on your period?” is a perfectly valid response to any request for cranberry juice. Or how about “What, you don’t know any fuckin’ Shakespeare?” followed by a farting sound – when someone quotes Hawthorne? Lame, read some fuckin’ Shakespeare.

Like any good Scorsese joint, I especially love the music cues in the film; Howard Shore’s tango as the moles ascend the ladders of their infiltrated organizations as well as the precise song selections – including the opening sequence’s “Gimme Shelter,” introducing us to that craziest crazy ass, Frank Costello.

My favorite song, though, is the Dropkick Murphy’s “Shipping Off to Boston” as Billy Costigan ruins his “statie” career to go deep cover. The song wraps up the film’s introduction – the film’s title finally comes on-screen a good 15 minutes into the film – and plays us through Costigan’s jail-time transformation into an undercover brother. The song abruptly and jarringly ends when his oxygen-mask wearing aunt opens the door to him upon his release.

The song plays again near the end of the 2nd act; all parties are converging upon a warehouse and the song cues us that shit’s about to get real. Again, the song abruptly ends and we’re thrust back into the action.

I love the song’s male fury (the JAWS-theme kinda intro, the screaming-singing dudes) and how well it matches the raging male testosterones on display on-screen. Even more so, I love that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to hear a Dropkick Murphy’s song in a picture from Maestro Scorsese. Well done!

Happy Hour Match: EASY, try Tom Bergin's on Fairfax, the self-proclaimed home of Irish Coffee! Snag a seat at the bar and if your seat-mate orders a cranberry juice, don’t be surprised if they break your nose when you ask if they’re on their period.

Drink: Not cranberry juice! Try the Irish Coffee!


“Love Will Tear Us Apart” – Joy Divison – SERIES 7: CONTENDERS (Kinda Spoiler Alert)

You could have called me a sheltered 20-year-old (in some ways, you’d be correct :), but I didn’t really know anything about Joy Division until about that age. My introduction came by way of SERIES 7: CONTENDERS, a rad-ass movie that’s basically shot and edited like a reality show. In the Contenders game, six players are selected in a national lottery and are given guns, forced to kill the other contenders if they want to survive –a la THE RUNNING MAN. Winning the series gains automatic entry into the next series and the cycle starts over; lucky winners…

Series 6 Winner is a pregnant woman who happens to have a history with her new fellow Series 7 contender; they were former high school flames who had recorded a fantastically silly “Love Will Tear Us Apart” video together.

By the end, the star-crossed duo become the last contenders standing and the producers of the show resurrect the love-song, piping in “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as the duo attempts to outlast one another. The music video is my favorite use of the song i
n the movie, but I can’t find the video on-line, so here’s the final sequence – the song comes on at 1:21.

Happy Hour Match: Pourtal plays Joy Division. ‘Nuff said. At least they did when AP & I visited last September – their awesome satellite radio selection featured a cool-as-ice mix of Depeche Mode, the Cure, the Smiths, etc. The beautiful near-beach setting and the gorgeous afternoon setting is a little at odds with the moody music, but in my opinion, that just makes it all the cooler!

Drink: Whatever deep red wine is on Happy Hour special, perfect for penning your anguished love letters!


“Hurdy Gurdy Man” – Donovan – ZODIAC (Kinda Spoiler Alert)

David Fincher is another one of those directors who always seem to use the right music to sweeten the scene. This is evident in his new collaboration with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, yielding the tense electronica SOCIAL NETWORK masterpiece of a score, and very much so in his/his music supervisor’s song choice of “Hurdy Gurdy Man” as a musical book-end to the film, ZODIAC.

The song plays during the opening scene’s attempted murder/murder and also in the final scene wherein the original surviving victim identifies the man who we have come to believe may have been the Zodiac killer in a photo line-up. In the movie’s employment of the song, “Hurdy Gurdy Man” becomes synonymous with the boogeyman of our nightmares, a cryptic masked killer, uncontrollable and striking at random.

In the first instance, the song’s eerily hummed intro is unmistakable, sending shivers down your spine with the knowledge that something sinister awaits the young couple in their car. When the tune finally plays at the end, the same hummed intro feels almost cathartic this time, that there may finally be some closure for the police and the victims. This doesn’t quite happen as we read the end credits; what we’re left with is the knowledge that a bonafide Hurdy Gurdy Man walked/walks among us. Whatever a Hurdy Gurdy Man is (okay, I had to find out – here’s a dude playing a Hurdy Gurdy.

Happy Hour Match: Sheddy’s on Fairfax – get there early, befriend the bartender, request this song on their already-playing Pandora mix, and wait for creepy loner to come in to the bar so you can ask yourself – is he the killer? Who is the killer? Just kidding on the latter, there haven’t been any creepy loners when I’ve visited Sheddy’s. But Sheddy’s has the right urban vibe mixed with a timeless interior – so that you might feel you’re in 70’s era San Francisco!

Drink: Lots of Sangria – enough so that you begin hallucinating since “Hurdy Gurdy Man” is so trippy. Maybe the monkey lamp will fly. Maybe not. Maybe go fuck yourself. Sorry, wrong movie!


Hope you’ve enjoyed this discourse! What are your favorite Songs that Make the Scenes? And what bars should we visit to hear them?

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