Josie and The Pussycats… And 3 More Movies with Great Original Music
By Kat Nykolaychuk on January 4, 2018
Here’s a list of songs for the enjoyment of your eardrums. Now, these tunes all have two things in common. One: They were all written or rewritten for movies. And two: they are all sung by women. All really awesome songs, all from really great movies, all really talented voices. I will admit, two of them are from Baz Luhrmann films. Sue me. They’re great, which is why they’re in here.
The first one comes to us from a great movie, not only portraying one of the coolest comic book all girl bands EVER. Josie and the Pussycats. The movie is pretty campy. With a jokey and ironic amount of product placement, there’s also hilarious quirky characters, great early 2000’s clothes, and last but not least, fantastic 2000’s pop-rock music.
These aren’t songs that they wrote and produced in five minutes. Any songs from the movie have genuinely clever lyrics, and groovy pop-rock guitar riffs, and that’s why this song makes the cut.Where did electric guitars go these days? Honestly! Any popular music these days is like, acoustic or synth. Where’s the sustain, man? Pop music would be so much better if they just added in some electric guitars. It also helps that Kay Hanley from 90’s band Letters to Cleo lent her voice to the main character Josie (played by Rachel Leigh Cook) to give the songs that authentic sound.
Josie and The Pussycats was such an underrated movie. It’s so colourful and loud, and I think I’ve seen it upwards of about 50 times. On VHS. Best song in the movie is Pretend To Be Nice. If you like that, you should also give a listen to 3 Small Words. Equally clever, always exciting.
Song two is another earworm tune (no, I don’t mean Song 2 by Blur).
The song Lady Marmalade that came from Moulin Rouge! in 2001 featured awesome female artists like P!nk, Maia, Lil Kim, and Christina Aguilera. It was originally recorded in 1974 by a group called The Eleventh Hour, then re-recorded and made popular by the girl group LaBelle. It was originally written about the happenings in New Orleans, thus the french language use and lyric “Creole Lady Marmalade”. Then repurposed a little bit in the 2001 version for Moulin Rouge!, based in Paris, France. Do repurposed songs count? I think they do. It’s a great song anyway, so I’m saying it counts. Listen here.
Song number three goes by the name of Moon River, and comes to us from the classic 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The song was written literally for Audrey Hepburn’s voice, and her vocals complaint every single lyric. Music and Lyrics by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer won the Academy Award that year for Best Original Song. It’s a beautiful, simple song about friendship and the scene when Hepburn’s character Holly Golightly sings it is equally as beautiful. She’s not wearing an evening gown, pearls and a tiara as you’d expect from her. She looks casual and has no facade as she plays the guitar on the windowsill out by the fire escape. It’s a great moment in the movie and a great timeless song. Watch the scene here.
Last, but most definitely not least, Old Sport, we have a tune from the grand and extravagant film, The Great Gatsby, the film of course its own spectacle. The film does romanticize the indulgent and hedonistic lifestyle at times, but the real heart of the movie is the realization that none of it really matters, but the person you love. The song Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey is simple in its subject matter, but paints a brilliant melancholic picture of life and love. It’s such a timeless song, so unique and not tied to any specific genre that it could’ve been written 100 years ago or two months ago. It’s original, and brings imagery of summer, music and luxury. It won a Grammy, and is performed by Lana Del Rey for the movie, and as jazz number. It’s great to hear it in different ways, and the song itself is haunting and thought provoking. Almost like you wind up inside of an old music box and that’s what plays. Listen and watch the beautiful music video here.
The music itself plays an interesting role in the film, sort of as a symbol for the future and the new culture that was emerging from the 20’s. Most of the music in that movie is from the last 20 years, and it’s interesting in its symbolism as well as the juxtaposition between the relatively new genre of hip-hop and the role it plays in young people’s lives today, similar to the rebellious role jazz music played to young people in the 1920’s.