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Positive Feedback ISSUE 59
january/february 2012


Drive, the Soundtrack
by Paul Baterina



After watching the movie Drive, I was completely blown away by the music. The songs fit perfectly during the scenes, and most of the credit goes to film composer, Cliff Martinez. Several other movies with music composed by Martinez are Contagion, Lincoln Lawyer, and Solaris. For those that haven't seen Drive, the setting had an 80's type of feel, and some of you may think that most of the songs would have that new wave, electronica, and synth-pop kind of sound. The soundtrack, however, provided only a total of three songs with that type of sound, but that doesn't mean that the rest of the songs were awful. I'm just giving a fair warning that if you really want that new wave kind of music, then you can save your money by purchasing the singles from the soundtrack.

I drive a 1992 Toyota Camry that's near its end at 330,000 miles. People laugh at me for driving such a beat up car. However, the moment I pop in the soundtrack, I feel like a bad ass cruising through the night. The reason for this is because there are several songs that have a great build up, where it feels as if something suspenseful is about to happen. It's like I'm actually on a mission to do something crazy; when in reality I'm probably driving through rush hour. I can honestly say that there have been times when I wouldn't want to stop driving my car, because I was blown away with the music.

In Drive, "Tick of the clock" was the first song that was played, and that already caught my attention to listen to the rest of the songs. "Tick of the Clock" starts off softly, you can barely hear the music until the kick gets louder and louder. It gives that feeling of excitement as if something out of the ordinary is going to occur. Halfway into the song, the music gets softer again, which adds that mysterious feeling, and then it starts building up again throughout the end.

The song "Nightcall," by Kavinsky, is one of the three songs that are in the new wave genre. I have played this track on repeat numerous times. The main reason is due to the lyrics: "I'm giving you a night call to tell you how I feel. I want to drive you through the night down the hills."

The moment I listen to the lyrics, I want to pack my bags, pick up my girlfriend, and just drive throughout the night while playing this song. In addition the sound fits perfectly with the lyrics. It has that uplifting kind of feel, and I believe that's because of the way the synthesizers were used throughout the song. The transition of the song through the body and the chorus is to my liking, particularly the synthesizer changes. All of these factors have brought tears of joy. Every time I drive at night, especially through the city lights, I want to make sure that I have "Nightcall" ready on my playlist.

Although I must say that I am not completely happy with this album, overall. For instance, there's a song called "Oh My Love," by an artist named Riz Ortolani. This song has a completely different feel from the rest of the tracks, and I just feel like it's misplaced. As I mentioned above, I feel like a bad ass driving through the night with these terrific tracks, however, the moment this song plays, it gives a soothing melodic sound; with a theatrical singer. Sure the song is beautiful, and has amazing lyrics, but I really don't think it belongs with the rest of the songs throughout the album. "Oh My Love," should be put into a separate album, for when you just want to be at home and have a slow romantic dance with your loved one. I'm a little disappointed about this, because the moment this song plays on the CD while I'm driving, it just completely changes the mood for me or whoever is inside the car. It is just that awkward moment where the music gives that adrenaline rush, and then this song starts playing and kills the mood.

There are several tracks that are all instrumental, that have that slow melodic feel. However, it still remains in that setting where you just want to drive your car throughout the night. The song "See You in Four" from Cliff Martinez brings that mysterious sound as if you know something is about to happen. There are several instruments that you can hear being played in long drawn out notes that creates that mysterious effect. And then, out of nowhere, you can hear random rattle sounds that are supposed to keep you on your toes.

The song "Wrong Floor" is usually the song that I listen to last. Once I know that I'm close to my destination while driving, or even when I'm about to turn off the stereo, this is the song that I want to finish with. It has that great closure feeling, as if I've accomplished a long journey; whether that long journey was from driving, or just listening to the whole album. I think the reason why this song has that effect, is because the melody sounds a little more at ease. It has that feeling of accomplishment, as I have mentioned, without any random noises or screechy sound that can intensify the song. It's just long notes being played throughout the songs with wonderful chimes in the background that fulfills "Wrong Floor."

By listening to the entire soundtrack, I can tell that Cliff Martinez created a story through music that is filled with emotions. The only thing that I would suggest, in order to completely enjoy this soundtrack, is to watch the movie first. After watching the movie and listening to the soundtrack, I feel as if my driving experience has gotten more exciting.