Here we have the entire album “Themes for an Imaginary Film” from Symmetry, yet another project by Italodisco revivalist Johnny Jewel, known for his involvement in Chromatics/Glass Candy/Desire/all of the “Italians Do It Better” music label. Word around the ‘net is that Jewel was originally tapped by Nicolas Winding Refn to score “Drive,” and while several existing tracks from his groups Chromatics and Desire were used, the gig for original music went to Cliff Martinez. Jewel denies that “Themes” is his unused “Drive” music, but it’s already become Internet canon to interpret it as such.
“Themes” is a good listen, but I can surely see why Winding Refn would choose the tracks he did, particularly Kavinsky’s “Night Call” during the opening credits. Jewel’s “Themes” are subtle, a little too cool and laid back for the on-edge tone of the film, and they’re experimental–messing around with rhythms when a simple kick-snare-kick-snare much better represents the single-minded driving force of Ryan Gosling’s character. Furthermore, the synths are noticeably MIDI instead of analog, which would have made the film seem low-budget and campy.
Still, it’s an interesting listen to think of what may have been, and it’s a reminder that script isn’t everything; style and tone can make or break a film as much as stilted dialogue can. For comparison, here’s the song that was ultimately chosen for “Drive”‘s opening sequence–a work with far more grit, aggression, and swagger:
Kavinsky, “Night Call”
[youtube MV_3Dpw-BRY nolink]
Have any suggestions, past or present, for the Playlist? Send a link with an embeddable player to firstname.lastname@example.org.