Metroland (soundtrack) - Composition

Composition

The instrumental tracks, specifically composed and recorded for the film by Knopfler, effectively help to create the mood and highlight the distinct personalities of the principal characters, with the soundtrack changing the atmosphere as the film flips back and forth between Paris in the early '60s and suburban London in 1977. Parisian flavour is augmented by the music of Fran├žoise Hardy, Django Reinhardt and Quintette du Hot Club de France, with some late-70s classics from The Stranglers, Dire Straits, Hot Chocolate and Elvis Costello that are appropriate for that the period.

In the lyrics of "Metroland", the only song he wrote for the move, Knopfler says "I've danced in the rain and I've been Django", so it is entirely appropriate that music by Django Reinhardt should also be on the soundtrack. The song is illustrative of Knopfler's art: it begins with a rising four-note theme on flugelhorn which parallels the hymn Jerusalem, the quintessential anthem of Englishness, but with a vibraphone accompaniment recalling Anglo-French jazz of the '50s. The same theme has been used throughout the movie as the protagonist's signature. The song then moves from a conventional verse backed by acoustic guitars into an electric guitar and organ-driven rock song, sweeping the listener along in its accelerating rush. Knopfler skillfully manipulates the dynamics to take the listener along an emotional journey, mimicking the film's protagonist's journey from detached observer to painfully involved main character.

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