David Lynch: “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity”
Rebekah Del Rio: “Llorando (Crying)” (from Mulholland Drive)
Angelo Badalamenti: “The Voice of Love” (from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me)
Burial: “In McDonald’s”
Chopin: Nocturne No.2, Op. 27 in D-flat
David Lynch opens our collection with a few words of his own. “Ideas are like fish.
If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you
want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper.” In film, in music, in meditation,
in life: this is true. What do we find in the deep water? We find scenes as in Mulholland
Drive, with Rebekah Del Rio’s “Llorando” piercing walls of stone and heart muscle,
the song continuing in the air after the singer has fallen unconscious. This is
as it is with the films of David Lynch: the song and its meanings continue in your
head long after the flickering light of the projector has fallen dim.
Lynch has created some of the most memorable visual songs we’ll ever see on a film
screen: the lovely, the horrifying, the deeply disturbing, the consoling, the existentially
echoing, the puzzling: all of them pulling us back into the deep water, all urging
us to once again peer into the dark, to see what it is that’s been brushing against
our leg all this time, down there, just out of conscious sight.
Well here we are. But why?
A “film” consists of a “sequence” of photographs or drawings “projected” on a screen
in such “rapid” succession that they create the optical illusion of moving persons
and objects (this is due to the persistence “of” vision). A tune is a succession
of musical tones forming a rhythmic, catchy whole, and a song is a piece of music
sung or composed for singing, et la sange est sur la branche.
Films often couple their images with tunes and songs in order to heighten sensations,
to deepen meanings. This is a true statement. David Lynch, one of the men who “lead
the team” in the creation of films—a profession termed director—has participated
in the coupling of film to music. Yes. Some of Lynch’s memorable images have been
supplemented with notable music. These songs and tunes, grouped together, are often
made commercially available (“soundtracks”) and can be obtained at your favorite
With these soundtracks in hand, and with songs divided into vocal and instrumental,
enterprising lads and lasses can blend these song elements with those from other
popular songs, producing what men from Edinburgh to Aberdeen call “mashed-ups.” These
men are also known to eat something called “neeps.” These men are regarded as unstable.
So then: David Lynch, his films, the music of those films, the people who watch these
films and hear their music, and the fanciful bootleggingses that result from fabulously
legal song sampling. But why? Not sure.
But for now, let’s not question why. Let’s dip a toe in . . . feel the deep waters
offered here . . . gently remove our Directoire drawers (underpants that are straight,
full, and knee-length, often referred to as “Directoire knickers,” a British noun,
historical in nature) . . . and lower ourselves, bit by bit, into the water. It
feels nice, then it feels not as nice. And suddenly it all feels so strange. You
happen to visit a recommended website and, before you know it, you’re naked and wet.
This is David Lynch.
Angelo Badalamenti: “Dance of the Dream Man” (from “Twin Peaks”)
Kylie Minogue: “Two Hearts”
There is a certain romance in Twin Peaks. The love a mature woman has for a log.
The love a suited man has for a good cup of coffee and a slice of cherry pie. The
love a small man has for a spastically rhythmic dance. Kylie Minogue understands
this. Kylie Minogue understands the small man.
Give your feet over to the cool cat walk. Now do it backwards. Give your heart
over to the romance. Now see the people that aren’t there. Now you’re not there.
Only the feeling remains.
David Lynch: “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity”
Miranda Sex Garden: “In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)”
Diamanda Galas: “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”
Nobody has made anyone feel less secure in the knowledge that “in heaven, everything
is fine” than the Lady in the Radiator. She fairly well makes us sure that no, indeed,
things are not going to be fine: here, there, or anywhere. And Diamanda Galas isn’t
helping things either.
If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get what Mr. Lynch wishes for you. “You pass through
a gap, and you maybe see some white light and get a little jolt of bliss. And you
say, ‘Holy jumping George.’” Thank you, sir. Your wish for our hopes is appreciated.
Let this track console you, trouble you, embrace you, disturb you. Let it be a tiny
David Lynch, peering out from your radiator, your radio, your bread box.
Angelo Badalamenti: “Laurens Walking” (from The Straight Story)
Opus III: “It’s a Fine Day”
A simple intent from a genuine-hearted man, Alvin Straight, is the focus of The Straight
Story. He will journey across two states in order to visit his estranged brother
who’s recently suffered a stroke. Hitching a trailer to his lawn tractor, he sets
off from Laurens, Iowa. His destination: Mount Zion, Wisconsin.
The modest optimism of the film and its soundtrack are given a more hopeful lift
here by Opus III’s “It’s a Fine Day.” Sweet and lilting, the track transports us
to a place alongside Alvin, watching the landscape pass by, most any simple thing
John Morris: “The Elephant Man Theme” (from The Elephant Man)
Sarah McLachlan: “The Rainbow Connection”
The Elephant Man has a terrible fairytale quality to it, like a bastard Brothers
Grimm yarn. People in it are struck as if in magical trances, bewitched and horrified
by the sights they’re given to witness. In this track, the use of “The Rainbow Connection”
is diabolical. A fantasy world of peace and understanding is evoked. And the taste
left in our mouths shuttles from the cynical and bitter to the desperately hopeful.
Imagine these lyrics as spoken by Mr. Merrick, or Mr. Lynch, or most any of Mr.
Lynch’s other creations:
Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices? / I’ve heard them calling
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors? / the voice might be one
and the same.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it, / it’s something that I’m supposed
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. / The lovers, the dreamers, and
It’s no surprise that the song was originally written for and performed by the Muppets,
a band of misfit personalities controlled by other beings.
Linda Scott: “I’ve Told Every Little Star” (from Mulholland Drive)
The Smashing Pumpkins: “1979”
Linda Scott’s 1961 charmer drips brightly with the hopefulness of the Fifties and
early Sixties, while The Smashing Pumpkins, formed in 1988, take us on to “1979,”
from their 1995 album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (an appropriate alternate
title for Mulholland Drive).
“I’ve Told Every Little Star” was written by Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern
for their 1932 production Music in the Air. The bubble-gum sweet song tells of a
lack of communication between two lovers. Scott, born in 1945, saw her version of
the song become the first of her chart hits. Her last, coming in 1964, was entitled
“Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?” (an appropriate alternate title for Mulholland Drive).
As Ms. Scott’s star waned after 1964, her recordings became more soulful. In 1970,
she finally quit show business to pursue studies in theology. This turn of events
may have been presaged by her 1965 single “Don’t Lose Your Head” and it’s b-side
“I’ll See You in My Dreams” (both being appropriate alternate titles for Mulholland
David Bowie: “I’m Deranged” (from Lost Highway)
Tori Amos: “Caught a Lite Sneeze”
Om is a sacred syllable in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. It is the first syllable
in the Buddhist om mani padmehum mantra, in which, it is said, all the teachings
of the Buddha are contained. The syllable is written in honey on the tongues of
children when they are born, the infants eating of the Buddha’s teaching. Meditation
as sustenance. Satori is a Buddhist term for a lasting state of enlightenment. Meditation
is one of the disciplines by which one attempts to transform the mind and reach satori.
In satori, one achieves freedom from (or oblivion to) the external world and its
Tori Amos may or may not be an anagram of satori om, but it’s a certainty that David
Lynch is a firm believer in the practice of Transcendental Meditation.
Phillip Jeffries is an FBI Special Agent who disappears from a hotel in Brazil only
to appear moments later in the elevator of the Bureau’s Philadelphia office. Seeing
Special Agent Dale Cooper as he is (“Who do you think this is, there?”), he confronts
Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole with the knowledge. His words are deranged, unconnected,
and he finally calls out, “I found something . . . and then, there they were.” With
that, he disappears: again in the wrong place, and his voice applied to the wrong
Angelo Badalamenti: “Main Title” (from Blue Velvet)
The Beatles: “Eleanor Rigby”
Eleanor Rigby is a woman in trouble. Her son and husband have been kidnapped and
she is being controlled by a sociopath, told she must do as she’s told or her family
will be murdered. Dorothy Vallens is dreaming she’s just been married, waking to
find she’s as lonely as ever. By the door is a jar in which she keeps her face.
Eleanor is abused, sexually and psychologically. She is reunited with her son but
only after her husband has been disfigured and murdered. Dorothy, a pious woman,
dies and is buried along with her name. Her name, now widowed, is disinterred by
the emotionally disturbed Eleanor. Eleanor takes the name as her own, becoming Dorothy.
Dorothy, happily raising her son and later remarrying, takes on a job singing covers
of Beatles and Bobby Vinton tunes in a place called the Slow Club. One day, a man
named Frank comes in with some friends.
Angelo Badalamenti: “Night Streets” (from Blue Velvet)
Angelo Badalamenti: “Lumberton U.S.A.” (from Blue Velvet)
Roni Size: “Snapshot”
In the legend, it is said that Dracula cannot intrude upon your home; he must be
Jeffrey imposes himself on a situation in what he thinks is an act of mercy. Sandy
steps beyond her safe cocoon of family and home. Frank runs roughshod over societal
decorum. Jeffrey hears justice urging him on, Sandy hears the siren call of excitement,
Frank hears society’s darker seams begging to be split by his wrath.
But alone, Ben stands as the welcoming presence. He is the embracer of all things
simultaneously: chaos and order, the demonic and angelic, the guilty and the innocent.
Ben welcomes Frank over his threshold, into the home where Dorothy’s son is held
Ben is the center pivot. Ben is both Vishnu and Kali, preserver and destroyer. Ben
is the presence inside each of us, whispering things. Ben is Conscience. And once
in a while, at the door of the soul, Ben says, simply, “Frank’s here” . . . and he
welcomes him in.
David Lynch: “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity”
Angelo Badalamenti: “Shelly” (from “Twin Peaks: Season Two”)
As David Lynch opened this collection with his words, so he closes it. After speaking
of the essential element music brings to his films, and of dream logic, he asks of
the universe the following: “May everyone be happy. May everyone be free of disease.
May auspiciousness be seen everywhere. May suffering belong to no one. Peace.”
May fitful dreams be yours . . . followed thereafter by understanding, clarity, and
peace. This, we devotees of Lynch believe, is possible. Dive into the deep water
so that you may bring the darkness up to the light, where it will dissolve . . .
and the two become as one.
Angelo Badalamenti: “Twin Peaks Theme” (From “Twin Peaks”)
Angelo Badalamenti: “Haunting & Heartbreaking” (From Lost Highway)
The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” slows and melts into Angelo Badalamenti’s “Falling,”
the theme music for the “Twin Peaks” series. In it, we hear Donna ask, “Do you think
that if you were falling in space that you would slow down after awhile or go faster
and faster?” To which Laura responds, “Faster and faster. For a long time, you
wouldn’t feel anything. Then: burst into fire. Forever. And the angels wouldn’t
help you. Because they’d all gone away.”
Lynchian metaphysics. A staggering topic, informed thoroughly by the human heart,
human soul, human understanding and misunderstanding. The image evoked is a spacebound
Alice, not yet in Wonderland, Laura Palmer falling from her own grace and that of
her quiet town, a place burbling with subcutaneous demons. Maybe Michael Jackson,
his adult self crying out for release from his tortured earthbound skin, imagines
some fantastical, child-safe otherworld, a place where someone will reach out their
hand and be there for you. Just as Laura Palmer still does, somewhere.
Barry Adamson: “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (from Lost Highway)
Garbage: “Stupid Girl”
Shirley Manson, not Marilyn Manson, leading the band Garbage, drawls out a story
suitable for Naomi Watts’ character in the second half of Mulholland Drive, while
a Marilyn Manson contribution to the Lost Highway soundtrack, “I Put a Spell on You,”
penned by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and appropriately trance-inducing, might seem the
perfect complement to the tone and bewildering existentialism of either Lost Highway
or Mulholland Drive, although its pulsing, driving tone really only fits one of them,
not Mulholland Drive, while this, the track we’re concerned with, clearly suits Lost
Highway and its regard of the monotony of the road of existence, its relentless reach
stretching out to the horizon and beyond, rendering all of us dumb animals in the
face of our own long mortality, the circularity of life and death and the never-ending
cycles, cycles of perception and intent and soul-dropping despair, continuing, on
and on, a story forever drawling out its next line, never quite completing, never
slowing, never ceasing, never . . .
Angelo Badalamenti: “The Pink Room” (from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me)
AC/DC: “The Jack”
Dead Can Dance: “Dawn of the Iconoclast”
The full despair behind the story of Laura Palmer is revealed in this track: hopelessness,
perverted sexual desire and heart-dropping abuse, the loss of sanity that accompanies
a loss of soul. By taking a raunchy rock tune and showing up its sexually negligent
side, a new (and still more vertiginous) twist is given to a dark tale. The light
menace of the instrumental track is turned all the more grim . . . and the result
is one of the most emotionally disturbing portraits in sound you’ve ever heard.
Angelo Badalamenti and Kinny Landrum: “Cool Cat Walk” (from Wild at Heart)
“Our blood will stay: we will not go away. On hands and knees, we crawl: you cannot
stop us all. Our blood, our brains: will never leave this place.” So sayeth the
Book of Reznor.
Within a film filled with blood rising hot beats a slow cold heart. And with this
track, it is exposed. The freaks and mental aberrants of the movie beat upon the
battlements of Lula and Sailor’s love, trying to tear it down. These degenerates—this
word is chosen most carefully—attempt to wrest from the lovers what they themselves
cannot encompass: love, desire, and devotion. If these individuals who are more
demon than flesh cannot have peace, they will not allow any other to have it.
And once you’ve seen Willem Dafoe in dental prosthetics, moving his mad-dog face
closer and closer to Laura Dern’s, whisper-barking moist and vile words, you won’t
forget the image.
Chris Isaak: “Wicked Game” (from Wild at Heart)
Yazoo: “Don’t Go”
Sailor and Lula must deal with the demons that pursue them. A tempestuous love binds
them. Friction is everywhere.
This track captures the essence of that rub. As Chris Isaak croons of wicked games
in love and the rifts they form, Alison Moyet of Yazoo pleads with her loved one
to not leave. Push and pull . . . in conflict, in sex . . . always setting the teeth
on edge. And waiting for the inevitable climax to come.
Peter Ivers: “In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)” (from Eraserhead)
Crystal Method: “I’m Ready for Action”
Geza X: “Mean Mr. Mommy Man”
David Lynch had an infection, a persistent infection that took years to process and
give full birth to, and he spread it to several others around him. These included
Jack Nance, the man who gave a body to the dark spirit that is the main character
in Eraserhead. The film was the first full-term progeny of Mr. Lynch. The Lady
in the Radiator was there, the Baby-Not-a-Baby was there . . . and so were some of
the worst fever dreams ever sweated out.
This track captures the essence of Eraserhead: its disjointedness, its fearful happenings,
its primal terror. Plus beats!
Roy Orbison: “In Dreams” (from Blue Velvet)
Bobby Vinton: “Blue Velvet”
While the spirit of the Bobby Vinton track hangs heavily over the film, it’s Roy
Orbison’s “In Dreams” that marks us the deepest. Dean Stockwell, as wraith-satyr
Ben, lip-synchs the track, mesmerizing not only Frank Booth but us as well.
Syrup-sweet Fifties sentiments may provide the template for the song “Blue Velvet”
and the small-town appearance of the film, but it is revealed to be nothing more
than a thin veneer. As Lynch would explore further in Twin Peaks, a darkness lies
in the heart of small town Lumberton. And Dorothy Vallens, a tragic figure both
mirror-image and photo-negative of Laura Palmer, is trapped at the center of that
darkness. We are beside her.
Julee Cruise: “The Nightingale” (from “Twin Peaks”)
The Beatles: “In My Life”
Sometimes a song embodies our deepest longings and our best intentions, as “In My
Life” does. My own thoughts on the track lead to considerations of those people
who’ve entered my sphere and passed from it. Arms reach out, wanting to hold the
person, the soul, the memory of the experience. Bend your will to contortions deeper
than you’ve ever attempted, stamp your foot and wish it all to return: it won’t.
Back in time the person is with you and within you; but in the now, and forever,
they’ve flown, a nightingale taken wing, disappearing into the sky.
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