So, I wrote an entire article (essay) about why I love La La Land so much, and in it I explain that I am literally OBSESSED with the film’s soundtrack. So much so that I have written this separate article which goes through my reactions to each individual song. (It was the only way that I could even begin to express my love for these beautiful pieces of music!)
And before anyone says it, let me first say, as I have before, I know that these actors aren’t amazing, perfect, ‘blow-you-away’ singers. And that’s the point! It all draws in to La La Land’s realism vs. fantasy element (read more about that here), as it represents them as ordinary, regular people, with raw, realistic, non-broadway voices; and I love that!
So without further delay, here we go! Come with me on a journey where I relive the emotional roller coaster that is La La Land, through the medium of music (and way too many GIFs…)
#1: Another Day of Sun:
How can a song be so bouncy?
I like to listen to this when I’m walking home after I’ve just accomplished something I’m proud of. I bounce along down the road, and as the song builds up to its climax I begin to feel so light that my steps are practically floating up off the ground. It gives me an overwhelming sense of “everything is going to be great”
(Is this my modern equivalent to ‘I’m walking on sunshine?‘)
#2: Someone in the Crowd:
Can we please just talk about this song’s significance for a sec? Like has anyone noticed that Mia is ‘someone in the crowd’ when she sees Seb in the bar? And at the party? And at the Jazz club? And at the big gig? And we think that Seb will be Mia’s ‘someone in the crowd’ during her one woman show, but he isn’t. Then we find out that the director of the big famous movie actually was in the crowd though, and she is the one to take Mia ‘where she wants to go.’ Damn.
(Also, I absolutely adore the choreography for this song, especially that part where everyone looks like they are dancing in slow motion and Mia is delicately walking through them, it is so captivating and I find myself holding my breath when I watch it.)
ALSO, this song makes me feel so excited! Someone buy me a blue dress already so I can stomp on down to a party!
#3: Mia and Sebastian’s Theme:
Too soon. Too soon.
Never has a song made my heart ache so much.
This song is literally the essence of melancholy. It is so beautiful and it is so tragically sad.
I honestly cannot listen to it or even talk about it any longer without being reduced to tears.
#4: A Lovely Night:
My favourite non-romantic, romantic song.
For me, this so perfectly captures that feeling of liking someone but not wanting to admit it to yourself.
“But, I’m frankly feeling nothing” “Is that so?” “Or it could be less than nothing” “Good to know”
So charmingly sassy. Oh and it also makes me want to tap-dance badly around my bedroom, hold on #brb.
#5: Herman’s Habit:
Oh crap, do I actually enjoy jazz now, how has this happened?!
#6: City of Stars (Ryan Gosling):
The only way I can describe the feeling of this song is that it’s like flying over a city at night. The lights inside the plane are off, it’s dark and sleepy. Gazing out of the window, the lights of the city below twinkle, everything looks tiny and insignificant, and it’s strangely comforting. (Hopefully someone knows kind of what I mean?)
This takes the slow, heart-achingly sad Mia and Sebastian’s theme and turns it into something so much grander. It begins like a gentle, delicate Waltz, but it escalates, and eventually erupts into the most wonderful combination of so many elated feelings rolled into one.
If any piece of music could make you feel as if you were being swirled around in space, it is certainly this one.
#8: Summer Montage/ Madeline:
This jazzy lil’ number is good for getting me out of my deep feelings after Planetarium, (bringing me ‘back down to Earth’ a little), allowing me to enjoy the thought happy little Mia/Seb sunny montages. (Whoever said that La La Land has too many montages has no soul).
#9: City of Stars (Duet):
“I felt it from the first embrace I shared with you, that now, our dreams, may finally come true.”
This is so tragically beautiful: their dreams do come true, but not together. Ouch.
But if we manage to forget about that ‘slight’ stab to the heart for a moment, this can also be appreciated as such a perfect love song. “Just one thing everybody wants: “it’s love, yes all we’re looking for is love from someone else.” This will resonate with anyone who has met their someone that makes everything seem to fall just perfectly into place.
#10: Start A Fire:
I think we are supposed to not like this? Though I was tentative at first, I have to admit, I actually kind of like it!
#11: Engagement Party:
I love how bits of other songs resurface and are recycled into various parts of the film. Here, Someone in the Crowd is transformed into a little piano piece, and somehow tainted with a graceful sadness.
#12: Audition (The Fools Who Dream):
The audition scene is HANDS DOWN my personal highlight of the film. The script for this scene simply read: “Emma sings. She is astonishing.”
And astonishing she was.
This song makes me feel something deeper than I ever thought a song from a film could. I have never heard, or felt, the melancholy of being a dreamer captured so beautifully. The emotional charge in this song is so overwhelming that even thinking about it now actually starts to bring tears to my eyes. How can something reduce me to a whimpering mess, yet at the same time make me feel so ALIVE and inspired to go out and chase my dreams!?
(ain’t no GIF that can capture my reaction to this one kids!)
#13/14: Epilogue/ The End
As if listening to this soundtrack hadn’t turned my emotions to scrambled egg enough already, I’m now taken through the entire journey again, but this time at a million miles per hour.
First, the lingering sadness of Mia and Sebastian’s theme washes over my soul, then I am again re-catapulted into Planetarium space for a mere few seconds before landing back down with a bounce, or is it a stomp? Is this Someone in the Crowd, or is it Another Day of Sun? I can’t even tell anymore, my heart is a mess, my mind is a blur, and I’m blind from all of the tears I have cried. Am I ecstatic right now? Or am I distraught? I think I am both? Could music even get anymore emotionally powerful!? Oh wait, it just did. A violin begins to sing out the melody of ‘The Fools who Dream’ and I become paralysed as I surrender myself to pure emotion.
Mia and Sebastian’s theme tiptoes back in again, softer than ever. The tears are silently streaming down my face at this point.
As it ends, I remember to take the first breath in what seems like hours. And while #15: City of Stars (Humming) plays, I begin to remember where, and who I am once again. As I wash my salty face with cold water, I wonder if anything will ever be the same again…
P.S. Let’s just take a moment to personally thank Director, Damien Chazelle, and composer, Justin Hurwitz, for bringing this music into our lives. They worked on more than 1,900 track demos for this film. (One thousand, nine hundred. Just let that sink in…) No wonder this soundtrack is incredible! THANK U SO MUCH<3
Please let me know what you think about the La La Land soundtrack (and my embarassing emotional outpouring) in the comments below!
Image Credits: Lionsgate, 2016 © (and Giphy, of course)