By Giliann Karon
Welcome to Soundtracks Reimagined, where I create the soundtrack of movies I love as if I was scoring them. Instead of just picking songs that I think would fit with the movie as a whole, though, I am noting which of the scenes already have music in them and choosing a song that I think better fits with the mood of that particular scene. After all, the order of the songs guides the story and every choice is intentional.
To begin this series, my first film pick is Olivia Wilde’s 2019 debut, Booksmart. The film’s plot goes as such: after realizing their classmates will also be attending prestigious universities, even though they partied every weekend, overachievers Molly Davidson (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy Antsler (Kaitlyn Dever) try to cram four years of missed fun into one night. (Watch the trailer here).
NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD!
At the beginning of the movie, the lead characters are introduced when Amy picks up Molly and they dance outside her car before heading off to school. In the original soundtrack, the music they danced to was “To Whom It May Concern” by Sam I (ft. CeeLo Green, Theophilus London, and Alex Ebert). So, for my pick, I chose an equally snappy opening, “Shakedown Street” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra — I needed a song that was as bold and eclectic as the main characters.
In another scene later on, Molly and Amy watch a video of their classmates at a party that they’re trying to get the address for. In the video, everyone’s drinking, dancing, and jumping into a huge pool as “I’ve Seen Footage” by Death Grips plays in the background. The original track differs significantly from my pick, “money machine” by 100 gecs, but both 100 gecs and Death Grips rely on heavy synths and experimental sounds that push boundaries.
Shortly after, “XS” by Rina Sawayama plays when Molly and Amy finally arrive at the party in my version of the score. Since the original song is “Boys” by Lizzo, I wanted to choose something equally as upbeat. In this scene, the club is bumping, the ladies look good, the alcohol is flowing...there is so much pain in the world, but not in this room, and the music should reflect that.
This playlist was particularly exciting to make. The picks span across different genres, much like the original soundtrack which includes picks that fall into categories such as indie rock (LCD Soundsystem), EDM (Sofi Tukker), and rap (Leikeli47). I also included songs from artists of all decades and genres, too.
A film’s music shouldn’t just reflect the mood, but it should also subtly guide the plotline. Therefore, my choices draw upon my personal taste in music, while also moving the story along.