Friday, July 16, 2010

The Greenhornes featuring Holly Golightly - "There Is An End"

I'm a sucker for great credit sequences. But a great credit sequence is nothing without a great credit sequence song. Think of Pulp Fiction and "Misirlou." Or Mean Streets and "Be My Baby." Sometimes I come across a great credit sequence where I least expect to find one. For example: Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers. I had never seen a Jim Jarmusch movie before. All I knew when I came into the theater was that everybody considered him some kind of acclaimed "indie" filmmaker. So here's what kind of credit sequence I was expecting to see: a crappy low-fi indie punk song with lots of grainy hand-held out-of-focus shots and text written out in shaky imitation scrawl. Instead, there was this sharp, hypnotic collection of imaginative graphics, all gliding along to a haunting, moody '60s retro garage/R&B number. It would not be the first time I would underestimate Jim Jarmusch.

The song was "There Is An End" by a band called The Greenhornes, with guest vocals by Holly Golightly. As AMG's John Duffy writes, "the Greenhornes so perfectly nail the careening, rough side of 1960s pre-psychedelic rock & roll that they leave almost no room to consider the music in any other context. They even add gimmicky harpsichord to more than one tune, a trend that was dated as soon as the Yardbirds did it." "There Is An End" is like a great unreleased Rolling Stones single, but with vocals by Nancy Sinatra. Aside from this song, I only know Holly Golightly from her cameo on The White Stripes' Elephant. Unlike many female rock singers of today, she sounds mysterious and complicated, but effortlessly so. I get the impression she wouldn't give a rat's ass whether you liked her or not. She seems like she'd be just as comfortable singing in a darkened corner all by herself as she would be at a crowded concert hall. I like it.

The Greenhornes haven't just nailed the style of the mid-60s here; they've nailed the production. Notice the absence of today's requisite hideously overproduced drum sound. And don't tell me those "ooh-ooh" backing vocals aren't straight out of "Heart Of Stone."

So after seeing the movie (which I really liked, but would not recommend to Zrbo as it features the latter-day "serious" Bill Murray that so gets on his nerves and yet thrills Yoggoth to the bone) I downloaded the song, and then I decided to download the full Greenhornes album. Maybe lightning could strike more than once, eh? What a surprise: Jim Jarmusch had picked the best song! Thanks for leading me on, Jim.

No comments: