It’s amazing how much difference a soundtrack can make.
Recently I stumbled across an interesting way to appreciate movies: the re-cut trailer. It works like this: you take footage from one movie, and then splice it together in a way that makes it appear to be in a completely different genre. For example, here’s what Mrs. Doubtfire would look like as a horror movie:
Positively creepy, right? Suddenly Robin Williams’s antics don’t look charming and loving, they look disturbing and potentially fatal. I especially like the way the editor of this film makes him look ready to snap at a moment’s notice.
Part of this effect was achieved through the soundtrack. Instead of using music that is light and airy and invokes a spirit of fun, the music is ominous, thunderous, and a few more -ous words that I can’t think of right now. Listening to that music helps shape our impression of what we’re seeing. Light-hearted music, and Robin Williams’s cross-dressing adventure is a family comedy. Dark and foreboding music, and suddenly his scheme will likely end with someone on a morgue slab.
That’s the beauty of a soundtrack. The right music enhances the story. The wrong music can derail it. Another example: when I was in high school, I watched a movie called Ladyhawke and, for the most part, I fell in love with it. Great story, epic action, and a sword fight in a church! What’s not to love? Well, the soundtrack, for one. For most of the movie, they went with an orchestral score that fit the story perfectly. But then, every now and then, the soundtrack switched over to ’80s synth rock produced by Alan Parsons, and the mythical, magical tone of the movie is ruined. The right soundtrack makes all the difference.
Which got me to thinking: what’s the soundtrack of your life?
I’m not talking about what music you’d want playing during a movie based on your life. Instead, what’s playing in the back of your mind as you go about your day-to-day life? What’s informing your thoughts and your actions and your words?
The sad truth is, a lot of us have the wrong soundtrack playing in our lives.
We hear bitter words, spoken by those around us, telling us that we’re stupid and worthless. We hear the lies the world tries to feed us that life is all about consuming and getting and hoarding more and more stuff. We feel the regret of past mistakes that chain us and bind us and break us.
Even if we listen to the message of the world that says we’re strong and confident and capable, all it takes is one mistake, one screw-up to realize that we’re not and that the world has been lying to us. The soundtrack of our lives are made up of notes of worry and fear and shadow and sickness and darkness.
And it doesn’t have to be that way.
Jesus once spoke about music. He compared his critics to a group of children playing in the marketplace, creating a soundtrack and demanding that people dance to their tunes:
“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'” (Matthew 11:17)
Jesus made this comment because He and His followers were dancing out of step to the music the world was producing. They didn’t celebrate the things the world said they should. They didn’t mourn when the world said they should.
Why? Because their soundtrack was different.
Instead of going with the beat of the world, they heard a different Drummer and they danced to his rhythm. They heard glorious music from a greater Composer and they were swept up by the melody.
It’s a soundtrack that’s playing even now in the halls of heaven:
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come. You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being…
You are worthy…because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on earth.
Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!
To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!
(Revelation 4:8b, 11; 5:9b-10, 12b, 13b)
It’s a soundtrack that gives praise to God, for He is the only one who can change the melody of our soundtrack. That’s what He’s done by His Son, Jesus Christ, and now, we are part of the music that gives praise to Him.
Need a change in your tune? Need your soundtrack recut and remastered? Turn to God. He’ll make you a part of the on-going song.
But I don’t mind ending on a lighter note. Let me ask you this: What’s your favorite movie soundtrack and why?
Pirates of the Caribbean, A World’s End. I love Hans Zimmer in the first place, especially for the strong cello parts he loves to put in the mix, but this soundtrack also had a great mix of cool themes. I don’t think I’ve found another that I like quite as well.
Awesome. I may have to check that out!
Return of the King, Complete Recordings by Howard Shore. I love the way the music tells the story through motifs for different characters and themes, and it masterfully handles a wide range of emotions and settings.
This edition has the full track for the charge of the Rohirrim, and that piece is one of the (maybe half dozen) most powerful pieces of music I know.
The last 15-20 minutes (Frodo/Sam rescued by eagles thru credits) have been my go-to music whenever I’m stressed or can’t sleep for the past several years.
Plus it’s just plain cool 🙂