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Exclusive Track By Track: Edgar Wright Discusses 'The World's End' Soundtrack & His Musical Choices

Features
by Edward Davis
August 22, 2013 4:52 PM
5 Comments
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With three films spanning just shy of 10 years, Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy ends this weekend, but it ends with a bang. The director's third film in his loose trilogy — which always includes his pals Simon Pegg and Nick Frost — is "The World's End" — a sci-fi-ish pub crawl comedy with heart and mind that actually focuses on nostalgia for one's youth, the meaning of friendship and even the idea of how globalization can change what you once knew as home.

A funny, entertaining and fitting ending to the Cornetto trilogy (which includes "Shaun Of The Dead" and "Hot Fuzz"), music has been integral to all of Wright's films including his pop-soundtrack-stacked, "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" (which featured the likes of Beck, Broken Social Scene, Metric and more). And as a film that also acts as a warning about the dangers of nostalgia, the soundtrack to "The World's End" looks back on the music the characters in the film listened to growing up: mainly late '80s and early '90s Britpop such as Blur, Pulp, Stone Roses, Suede, Teenage Fanclub and many many more (see the U.S. and U.K. soundtracks here and here as they are slightly different; for completists, here's a list of every song used in the movie regardless of whether it's on any CD). We asked Wright — who we also already interviewed about "The World's End" here — to do a track by track commentary for each song on the U.S. soundtrack and why he chose them, and the amiable filmmaker totally obliged. Note: Christopher Nolan, Michael Bay and even Jason Reitman would never ever do this for any site, much less us. What a mensch. "The World's End" opens tomorrow, Friday, August 23rd.

 

“Loaded” – Primal Scream
Early in the writing process we made a playlist of songs from 1988 to 1993, roughly the period where Simon and I were in school and college. The idea was to use Gary King’s party anthems as a woozy link to the past. Gary still listened to these party anthems and wanted to take the hedonistic spirit as a design for living. "Loaded" quickly became the song that rose right to the top of the playlist. Not only do the vocal samples from Roger Corman’s "Wild Angels" summon up the perfect note of youthful rebellion, but also the song was a musical gateway drug for me. In my teens I had mostly listened to current pop or looked backwards, starting with my parents' Beatles, Stones and Simon & Garfunkel, and then listening to all the Bowie, Roxy Music and Queen that I could. Around 1990 though, the indie scene started to gatecrash the charts and I specifically remember hearing "Loaded" on the UK Top 40 when it entered at Number 37. Apart from the amazing opening sample, I was confused and wowed by Andy Wetherall’s groundbreaking sounds. This song was a window into a cooler world and I still play it endlessly today.


“There’s No Other Way” – Blur
Blur’s 1991 breakthrough was with this evergreen indie disco classic. For a while this song was a millstone for Blur as it wasn’t until "Girls & Boys" in 1994 that they managed to have a second top ten hit. Judging by the fact that they’ve enthusiastically blasted it out on recent tours must mean they love it once more, now they have 20 years of other hits under their belts. Even though it was firmly on the baggy dance bandwagon, it’s pure indie gold.


“I’m Free” – The Soup Dragons
The Soup Dragons were previously known as the jangly members of the C86, had a surprise smash in 1990 with their cover of Rolling Stones B-side "I’m Free." This wrongly put them in the one-hit wonder bracket for many, but at least they could be proud of the fact that this song was bigger than any Stone Roses, Charlatans, Blur or Happy Mondays song in the U.S. When I recently heard it in a Burbank IKEA I knew that '90s nostalgia had finally arrived. That sealed its prominent place in the movie. I’ll admit that I can’t not sing along to this. It’s still an infectious summer smash and perfect for Gary King’s road trip mix tape.


“So Young” – Suede
I dearly love this song and I think its mix of joy and melancholia is perhaps the perfect bittersweet anthem for the characters of "The World’s End." We used this for a scene where our heroes are walking the streets of Newton Haven in slow motion. Usually this type of five-wide walking montage is designed for Vegas or Manhattan gloss, but I like that it soundtracks the autumnal streets of a British new town. This song is such a hit of nostalgia, it fires me right back to 1993 and Vauxhall Chevette where me and Corin Hardy listened to the Suede debut on audio cassette and belted out every tune.


“Do You Remember The First Time?” – Pulp
I dearly love this song. Like Suede’s single, this is another epic of melancholic longing. Only British singers like Jarvis Cocker can make bitterness and regret sound anthemic. This was from Pulp’s breakthrough album His & Hers. I was not au fait with them in their long road to stardom, they took over a decade to hit the big time, but I sat up and took notice with "Lipgloss," "Babies" and this amazing track. In the movie, this song soundtracks the awkward love triangle between Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike and Paddy Considine.


“What You Do To Me” – Teenage Fanclub
One of my favourite shots in "The World’s End" is one of Paddy Considine pining after Rosamund Pike and staring with puppy dog eyes at her walking away. When we shot the moment I played the intro from Teenage Fanclub’s song on my laptop to get Paddy in the mood. It’s a great, infectious song that both me and Considine loved at the time and still love now. At the L.A. premiere of "The World's End" I met Dave Grohl for the first time. He loved the film, but he especially remarked on the use of Teenage Fanclub. That is pretty damn cool.


“Fools Gold” – The Stone Roses
1990 was the year that indie crashed the charts. "Fools Gold" hitting the top ten in the summer of 1990 was a big deal and not just because of their nonchalant performance on "Top Of The Pops." For me it was a big moment too, as they represented a gateway drug into alternative music. In the movie we give a new meaning to the title, as the fools gold in our story is lager itself. When the chorus kicks in, our "hero" Gary King contemplates stealing the dregs of strangers’ lager. Fools Gold indeed.

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5 Comments

  • Sharon | August 29, 2013 6:09 PMReply

    I think I heard "The Big Country" theme in the very beginning; right?

  • Art | August 28, 2013 2:34 PMReply

    Edgar is the man. Saw the film at the Alamo Drafthouse and they played the The Housemartins' music video before the showing and I think I have a new favorite song / video. (Bonus points - I didn't know Norman Cooke was in the music business before Fatboy Slim).

  • Kcorrie | August 26, 2013 10:04 PMReply

    Thank you Mr. Wright for the insight on your music choices. That era of music (late 80's - early 90's) was my favorite and listening to your selection brought back good memories. Based on the music alone, I will see your movie!

  • Cody M. | August 26, 2013 9:57 PMReply

    Awesome stuff! What would be the chances of talking him into doing this for Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz? :) I have the UK soundtracks but would love to read his thoughts on the choices. The music guides for Spaced that he did on a fansite I can't link to (just search for "spaced-out") are very cool.

  • Panda Dong | August 22, 2013 5:19 PMReply

    Great article! Edgar Wright is a charming dude and it's always nice to see how much he loves the process of filmmaking and sharing that process. Thanks for a really good read.

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