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

by Edward Davis
August 22, 2013 4:52 PM
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“Get A Life” – Soul II Soul
This was one of those bands that I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of at the time, but they were so huge in 1989 / 1990 that both myself and Pegg thought it was perfect to include them here. This song is an immediate nostalgia hit for me to long summers and school days. It also appears in the movie just as Gary King has triggered his own intervention from his friends. Nick Frost’s character Andy says it’s time that Gary grew up and join society right about the time that Jazzy B raps the following. "Be selective, be objective, be an asset to the collective."

“Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)” – The Doors
As soon as we had the story for "The World’s End" this song popped up in my head. I was a fan of the David Bowie version first (and indeed tried to make that one work at the end of the movie, it didn’t) but The Doors cover of the Berthold Brecht / Kurt Weill song is so majestic and spooky that it simply had to feature. The lyric of the song "Show me the way to the next whiskey bar, oh don’t ask why, for if we don’t find the next whiskey bar, I tell you we must die" pretty much sums up the whole movie. I don’t know how we could be any more on the nose. I absolutely adore The Doors cover, if only just for the late great Ray Manzarek’s marxophone solo. It’s my favourite track of the film.

“Wear Your Love Like Heaven” – Definition of Sound
This song was an indie disco floor filler back in 1990 so it seemed like the perfect song to be in the movie. It’s odd that this gem doesn’t get the same play as Dee Lite as it’s ridiculously catchy. Ironically we had a more doomy Pixies song in this slot originally, the moody "Stormy Weather" from Bossa Nova. When this choice became prohibitively expensive, we decided to bump it for an upbeat song instead. The counter scoring works for me, it’s somehow funnier to have a dance classic in the scene than a sinister one.

“20 Seconds To Comply” – Silver Bullet
This is a Brit rap classic that exploded onto the charts around 1991. It doesn’t get as much play as it should, but more than 20 years and this "Robocop" sampling track stills sound fast and extremely furious. It was pretty much the only choice for Nick Frost’s big fight sequence where he goes completely berserk. I never tire of watching this fight scene and Silver Bullet’s song is one of the big reasons why.

“This Corrosion” – Sisters of Mercy
This song is so great we played it not once, not twice, but thrice. This is the sound of Gary King’s very own gothpocalypse. Pegg is a true Sisters fan and in fact had a full-on black fingernails goth phase in his teens. When we cleared the use of the Sisters t-shirt that Simon wears in the movie, we discovered that lead singer Andrew Eldritch was a big fan of ‘Shaun’ and ‘Fuzz’. I’ve never heard Simon so excited and that’s saying something. I love the Jim Steinman production on this single. It’s just beyond epic and seemed fitting to be the song to play out in our happy end of the world.

“Happy Hour” – The Housemartins
I’m a big believer in putting a song at the end of your movie that you can never tire of hearing. In ‘Shaun’ it was Queen’s "You’re my Best Friend" and in 'Fuzz' it was "Caught By The Fuzz" and so in that peppy tradition, I like the idea of contrasting the gloom of the apocalypse with this evergreen jangle classic. Songwriter Paul Heaton appears elsewhere in the movie with "Old Red Eyes Is Back" by his band The Beautiful South. That man knows his drinking songs and is underrated as a great British songsmith.

And while we're at it, five clips from the film below. "The World's End" comes out this weekend Friday, August 23.

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  • 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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