Sunday, August 25, 2019

Night Drive

Back in 2011, I saw a movie that changed my life. That movie created a ripple effect that saw me fall in love with a music genre, one I never knew existed. I used to like driving at night, still do, encapsulated by my surroundings, car illuminated by the glow of the dashboard and consul lights. There's nothing like driving at night, driving somewhere, driving anywhere, driving nowhere, listening to pulse-pounding, indie electronica music, inspired by Ryan Gosling's Driver in the groundbreaking, independent film, Drive.

When we lived in Laramie, WY, my wife and I drove an hour to Cheyenne to see a movie. I don't even remember what we wanted to see initially, but whatever it was, the theater had changed the movie times for it and we missed out on our planned feature. We looked for a quick substitute, and she suggested we check out this movie called Drive. I had seen the previews. The movie looked like a Fast and Furious wannabe flick, one in which I had no interest at all in seeing. Reluctantly, I entered the theater, and was immediately drawn in by the cool, neon glow of the title, and by the opening driving montage track, "Nightcall" by Kavinsky.

The music went well with the movie, and turned me into an electronic junkie. The whimsical chimes of acts like Chromatics and Desire swept their brushstrokes across the canvas of the film's scenes with their retro-80s flare and gusto, beats and melodies intertwined around one another like twisting vines. The music selected by Danish writer/director Nicolas Winding-Refn and score artist Cliff Martinez fit like the driver's hand into his blood-soaked leather glove. Driver was a hero, or rather an anti-hero, the best in the game, willing to anything and everything to keep his love interest and her young son from harm. Drive is Pale Rider for a modern audience, one soaked in neon lights and pulsating tunes and ultra violence.

Drive is my favorite movie of all-time. I never could have expected as much going into the movies that fateful night in Cheyenne. It, and it's music, made Winding-Refn one of my favorite directors, and his preferred choice of music, indie electronica, mine the same. I next fell in love with tracks like "Secrets" by Silver Swans and "Brokendate" by Com Truise. This was a new genre of music I had fallen into headfirst, all because I went venturing off to see Drive that night. Retro electronica opened up a whole new world for me, beats and synths overlapped by swooning vocals, captured in the revelry of their melodies. "Secrets" reminded me of Drive every time I listened to it, and I was soon inspired to create my own "Night Drive" track list on Spotify.

The playlist features standouts like Drive hits "Nightcall" by Kavinsky, "Tick of the Clock" by Chromatics, "Under Your Spell" by Desire, plus newer tracks like "Secrets," "Perfect Speed" by NAVVI, "Tanned Skin Dress" by Xander Harris, "Fallout" by Neon Indian, "Oblivion" by Grimes, and "Night Walk" by Still Corners. This is one of, if not my favorite playlist, one I've updated over the years without changing the core of its essence. This is still one of my favorite music genres, as I have also dedicated Pandora playlists to it to listen to on my workdays. Drive is certainly an indie flick, but it's a gem, having opened up my eyes to the music and the style it brought with it. Now if my wife would just let me buy a replica of Driver's scorpion jacket...

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