In his interview with Noel Murray at the AV Club, Will Oldham expresses from pretty strong thoughts on movie music in general and Wes Anderson in particular:
AVC: You mentioned talking to Richard Linklater and Caveh Zahedi about your ideas on movie music. Can you summarize those ideas?
WO: Well, for a while, it seemed like you were always seeing movies where all the music was determined by the music supervisors and their special relationships with certain record labels. And I just felt like, “Wow, I’ll bet they spent months or years writing this screenplay, and I’ll bet they spent months shooting this, and I’ll bet they spent months editing this, and now they’re spending no time at all picking these completely inappropriate songs with lyrics to put under a scene that has dialogue.” How does that even work? How can you have a song with someone singing lyrics under spoken dialogue and consider that mood-music, or supportive of the storyline? As somebody who likes music, when that happens, I tend to listen to the lyrics, which have nothing to do with the movie. And then I’m lost in the storyline. Not only is that a crime, but it’s a crime not to give people who are good at making music for movies the work. It’s like saying, “We don’t need you, even though you’re so much better at it than I am as a music supervisor.” Like the cancer that is that Darjeeling guy… what’s his name?
AVC: Wes Anderson?
WO: Yeah. His completely cancerous approach to using music is basically, “Here’s my iPod on shuffle, and here’s my movie.” The two are just thrown together. People are constantly contacting me saying, “I’ve been editing my movie, and I’ve been using your song in the editing process. What would it take to license the song?” And for me it’s like, “Regardless of what you’ve been doing, my song doesn’t belong in your movie.” That’s where the conversation should end. Music should be made for movies, you know?
I totally disagree, but it’s an interesting stance, and having recently watched a film with an overwhelmingly intrusive soundtrack, I’d be the last one to say song choices can’t be lazy or lousy or both. Oldham, on the non-lyrical, made-for-the-movie kick, composed Wendy’s hummed theme in Kelly Reichardt’s “Wendy and Lucy,” in which he also has a small role.
[Photo: Oldham in “Wendy and Lucy,” Oscilloscope, 2008]
+ Will Oldham (AV Club)