Introduction: The Essential Details
- Movie title: The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- Composer: Jon Brioni
- Music styles: Pop, soft rock (“Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime”), psychedelic pop (“Light&Day”), art rock (“Mr. Blue Sky”), filmi songs (background music), trip-hop, electronic, indie (“A Dream upon Waking”).
When the Music Is an Integral Part of the Movie
For those who have never seen the movie, the list of music genres above might seem somewhat unrealistic. However, weirdly enough, these genres work in the film in some miraculous way; perhaps, the way they are lined up in the Eternal Sunshine makes them sound like each of them is a continuation of the preceding melody. To start with, the song that was promoted as the key soundtrack, “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime,” should be mentioned.
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Adding a nice sentimental touch to the movie, it sets the right mood and helps the audience get ready for the drama. It leaves the impression of something that was lost and cannot be found anymore, the idea that almost works its way to a movie spoiler. To help the audience understand that they are watching not merely a romantic comedy, but a romantic film with the elements of science fiction, psychedelic pop winds up (“Light&Day”).
In a nonchalant, almost elegant manner, “Mr. Blue Sky”, an art-rock song, conveys to the viewers easily that the leading characters are having fun; besides, the easy-going, could-not-care-less atmosphere of the melody makes it clear that the lead characters are a happy and somewhat extraordinary – the artistic type of extraordinary – couple. The disquieting, seemingly out-of-tune sounds of the violin create immediately the atmosphere of anxiety and anguish, which also works for the plot, as this is the soundtrack for Joel Barnish to lose his memory too. It is exciting that, alone, these melodies can convey two messages at best; however, when pulled together in a movie, they create a breathtaking sequence.
What Else Could Have Worked: Other Possible Music Genres
It truly is hard to judge Brioni’s choice of music, especially in the light of the fact that the movie has received a rather positive critical reception. The soundtracks of the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind seem like a complex structure; once a single element is taken away or replaced, the whole construction falls flat. However, it would probably be a good idea for Brioni to focus on psychedelic rock or soft rock a bit more. With pop songs making a huge chunk of the movie, it is rather hard to plunge into the atmosphere that art-rock, filmi, and trip-hop creates.
Even though the movie does not offer the whole palette of music genres, it is still worth mentioning that the choice of music is fantastic. While some of them can hardly seem compatible, such as pop music and art rock, when put together, they make a wonderful mosaic. Jon Brion made a daring experiment by mixing different genres of music in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and, whether the specifics of the movie made the music work, or, on the contrary, the seeming incompatibility of the genres that Brion made his amazing soundtracks of, the music in the movie leaves a long-lasting impression.