Soundtrack Lovin’: Drive
Katie Fox reviews the soundtrack of Drive.
Drive is well known as a film that lacks in excessive chatter, and instead lets the soundtrack do the talking. Following the story of a getaway driver, played by Ryan Gosling in his usual brooding but cheeky manner, the film is a slow acceleration that teases sensuality and lust before stepping on the gas and hitting its violent climax. It turns out that a couple of retro French-style tracks and a score from Cliff Martinez was the perfect recipe for reaching number 4 on the iTunes album charts after the film’s release in 2011.
a couple of retro French-style tracks and a score from Cliff Martinez was the perfect recipe for reaching number 4 on the iTunes album charts after the film’s release in 2011.
The film opens with Kavinksy’s ‘Nightcall’. Heavy, thudding beats merge with the retro sounding synths and Lovefoxxx’s sensual vocals on this French house track, setting the tone for the rest of the film. Next up, Glass Candy’s Johnny Jewel gets his hands on two tracks that blend seamlessly with the sound and mood of ‘Nightcall’. Haunting female vocals and slow, pulsing beats mirror the underlying feelings between Gosling and his neighbour, played effortlessly by Carey Mulligan.
Although Johnny Jewel was due to score the rest of the film, it was in the end handed over to Cliff Martinez. We sit in the passenger seat as the film and its soundtrack rises in moments of explicit violence and then drifts along with the character’s lives in the city. Toronto duo Electric Youth and French producer College collaborate for ‘A Real Hero’, which is arguably the most notable sound of the film. The slow heartbeat-like rhythm deepens the connection between Gosling and Mulligan.
Drive is a film that deserves an incredible, cinematic, and timeless soundtrack, and Cliff Martinez achieves just that. Although you can’t improve from perfection, apparently you can re-score it. In 2014, BBC 3 re-released the film, with a soundtrack curated by Radio 1’s Zane Lowe and the best up and coming artists of the time. The 1975 and CHVRCHES offer up ‘Medicine’ and ‘Get Away’ as their answer to the iconic French house style songs on the original soundtrack. Bastille’s brooding song ‘The Driver’ comes together alongside the likes of Banks, Bring Me the Horizon and Baauer to create a second, equally perfect soundtrack for a modern-day retro classic. With this, you could argue that Drive is a masterpiece, regardless of the soundtrack supporting it. Yet in reality, it is the careful selection of sounds that match the range of scenes and emotions in the film, that cements Drive as a visual and sonic piece of art.