24 Mar The music success of Sing Street
“Did the Sex Pistols know how to play? Who are you, Steely Dan?”
John Carney’s latest movie Sing Street is a must-see.
Set in 1980s Dublin, the film is the third in his loose music trilogy that includes the Oscar-winning Once and Begin Again. Telling the story of Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), a new student to the Christian Brothers school on Synge Street and his attempts to woo the cooler older girl Raphina (Lucy Boynton) by starting a band.
The misfits he assembles are at the heart of the movie. Aided by older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor) and kicking against a family breakup, Conor re-christened Cosmo by the object of his affection, rallies his crew into a lean ’80s pop music machine that defies his peers and his teachers.
It is a warm-hearted, naturally nostalgic, superbly cast, teenage story of starting a band & growing up and finding a place in the world.
At the centre of the film are songs, both historic and composed especially for the film.
The compositions in Sing Street penned by Scottish songwriter Gary Clark (King L, Danny Wilson, Transister) and sung by the cast, are perfectly-pitched, sounding at once like original ’80s lost hits and also aurally echoing Conor’s exploration of music discovered on Top Of The Pops. ‘The Riddle Of The Model’ is a new romantic song that the band use to rope Raphina into a lo-fi music video in a back alley. ‘A Beautiful Sea’ is the sound of a kid becoming a Cure head, ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ is the film’s big Duran Duran pop moment, an insanely catchy track, while ‘Go Now’ ends the film with Adam Levine singing an emotional song that Glen Hansard help write.
In between those songs are a glut of nostalgic tracks of the era – Motorhead’s ‘Stay Clean’ is the sound of a new school warning Conor, Hall & Oates ‘ManEater’ is an inspiration for a band’s bassline, The Cure’s ‘In Between Days’ inspires the band, and songs like The Jam’s ‘A Town Called Malice’ and Joe Jackson’s ‘Steppin Out’ brace up the ’80s credentials of the film. Becky Bentham (Les
Misérables, Mamma Mia, De-Lovely, La Vie En Rose, The Edge Of Love, Strictly Sinatra, One Chance and The Book Thief) served as the Music Supervisor on the film and did a great job of capturing the spirit of the era.
My favourite songs in movies are always discoveries or songs you’d forgotten about that the film gives a new lease of life to. ‘Pop Musik’ by the British band M, originally released in 1979 is one such song used in Sing Street that lifts the movie. Its bouncy beat and bright delivery suggest possibility and excitement while also encapsulating the protagonists’ exploration of where and what their music may bring.