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“On the Significance of Mellowness in Quentin Tarrantino’s ’90’s Movies”

Oddly, a lot of times the shape of music is opposite that with which a person would live: for example the lead singer of a band like Helmet or Loudermilk might be really peaceful in real life, but be unable to release, to quench the inner self of its need to violently express. So hard rock is virtuous, if it indeed, as theoretically it does, curtail the need to be violent.

But we all know Quentin Tarrantino’s movies are violent, and there is definitely something cool about a dude fresh off a fight, provided he’s had a reason, chilling out to like “Warm San Francisco Nights” by Eric Burdon and The Animals. Ironically, though, I don’t think “coolness” is the objective with Tarrantino’s soundtracks, I think they’re meant as reverse expressionistic gaudiness. Let me tell you, nothing is more inappropriate to listen to if you’re in a room full of professionals in the middle of the day than the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.  The music is not sublime, it’s picked for the soundtrack for its ability to have a secondhand effect — displaying, essentially, the lack of the need for music. It’s quite possible that Tarrantino actually hates these songs, like “Jungle Boogie” and “Lonesome Town.” With the exception of the Dick Dale surf songs in the film, the numbers as a general rule tend to be extremely indulgent, not to mention failing to follow a single zeitgeist paradigm.

Young people will always need loud, intense music, and just like with old people, hearing the songs on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack will only make them want to bust into someone’s home, start eating their Big Kahuna burger and eventually “strike down with great vengeance and furious anger.”

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