Flickering Myth’s writing team discuss their favourite movie soundtracks; next up is Martin Deer with Drive…
As much as I love Drive – and I do love Drive – I can’t think of another film that’s enjoyment level is so squarely rooted in the accompanying music. I certainly don’t want to say that Drive would be an average film without it, but it is undeniably elevated by the soundtrack that accompanies it. In fact, the first time I watched the film I wasn’t as in love with it as I am today, and it took some time to sink in; however after that first viewing, I was immediately in love with the music.
The Drive soundtrack is a visceral experience; it’s the most wonderful of dreams but it is also the most terrifying of nightmares. Of the 19 tracks on the soundtrack, 14 are original compositions from Cliff Martinez – a mixture of high octane electro-pop and slower more ominous tracks under which you can feel the darkness swelling. Martinez captures the more uplifting yet dark elements of the film perfectly, and there aren’t many scores which so embody the feeling of the images on the screen so dutifully.
Where the film and soundtrack so perfectly crossover, however, is in the 5 pieces that were not composed by Martinez but were pre-existing tracks. When the film opens with The Chromatics’ ‘Tick of the Clock’, a sense of urgency and a rush of adrenaline are experienced which carry you through the rest of the proceedings: everything feels like a countdown to an inevitable explosive finish. The tracks they’ve chosen are perfect choices, and this is exemplified by Riz Ortolani’s rather sweet song ‘Oh My Love’, which accompanies one of the most disturbing scenes of the film, as the Driver – now spurred on to enact revenge and make sure his love is safe – stalks his prey.
The two tracks that really stand out for me however are ‘A Real Hero’ and ‘Under Your Spell’. Despite being a dark film, Drive is filled with hopefulness, and it is only out of love that the darkness exists to ensure survival. When I talk of thee Drive soundtrack being the ‘most wonderful of dreams’, I refer to the the brewing romance between the Driver and Irene that never gets a chance to fruit, as is given a real magical feel, a real purity by the two aforementioned tracks that accompany their scenes: they’re star crossed lovers, a modern re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet if you will. And the score allows it this otherworldly, fantastical feel than can instill a longing for romance in yourself.
Among the great soundtracks out there, Drive is my favourite because I’ve not heard these songs before; they’re not on any other soundtrack, and they elevate Drive’s quality to something ethereal, which it would not have been without it.