Once – Original Soundtrack Album

Once's Original Soundtrack Album Is Dominated By Glen Hansard's Songs. Marketa Irglova Has Two Sogs In, And The Band "Interference" Sings "Gold"

Once's Original Soundtrack Album Is Dominated By Glen Hansard's Songs. Marketa Irglova Has Two Songs In, And The Band "Interference" (With Glen In Tow) Contributes "Gold"

This new section (Original Soundtrack Albums) should have been added to MusicKO last month. I knew that the first album to be featured had to be the OST to “Once”, arguably the most striking musical I have ever seen. And that was what held me for so long. I have lived with the CD for the past month, trying to convince myself that it is every bit as good or essential as the film. And it is not. It is a fine album. But the movie was more than fine in every sense.

The problem might as well lie in Marketa’s solo songs. “The Hill” is not played fully in the movie. It is used in a very specific scene towards the end, and if you take the scene away you are also taking its weight with it. And “If You Want Me” is completely insipid. It dawns on you that what matters is how the song comes to be (the phenomenal street shot), not the finished song. The impromptu “Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy” is a toss-off, and while it is too short to cross anybody it is irrelevant.

Besides, “Say It To Me Now” is somehow limp if you didn’t watch the scene in the movie, with the camera slowly closing in and the Girl clapping as the shot ends.

Still, the album has its fair share of brilliance. I don’t need to tell you about
“Falling Slowly” because the song speaks for itself. I would kill to get my hands on the Oscar performance. All I could find was the performance embedded above, and the moment when Glen and Marketa get the coveted statues. Notice how they cut poor Marketa off. It is a good thing the host brings her back after the break. You can watch it here.

Incredibly enough, my favorite song on the album turns out not to be “Falling Slowly”. It turns out to be “Lies”, the song that accompanies The Guy’s’ flashback. It has a lilting melody and a joint vocal by Glen and Marketa that transmits a lot of fragile (and hence perfect) chemistry. That is the one song that summarizes the movie, and it was what I expected from the whole disc.

A song that definitely works both in the movie and out of it is “When Your Mind’s Made Up”. As you probably remember, it is the first song Glen and his newly-recruited band play in the recording studio. The engineer’s mien goes from “Who cares?” to “Holy Shit!” in a matter of minutes.

The electro-poppy “Fallen From The Sky” is also pleasant enough, whereas “Trying To Pull Myself Away” is certainly more than that. “Gold”, “All The Way Down” and “Once” are harmless, and “Leave” (much like “Say It To Me Now”) works on the strength of Glen’s furious vocal delivery. Glen’s solo numbers mostly work out, in direct contrast to Marketa’s music on the disc.

Again – this is a good album. Actually, it is a very good album. The problem is that when pitched against the movie it is merely a souvenir. It is like a snapshot, like a photograph you take of the best spot that you stayed in when traveling. It captures only a part of the experience. I was sure that in a musical the CD alone would stand on its own two feet, and in a proud way at that. That sadly turned out not to be the case. Watch the movie first. You will love it, adore it, think it over for weeks on end. And if you want a memento, buy the album. But don’t expect it to hit as hard as the film.

Do you enjoy the album half as much if you haven’t watched the movie: No

3 thoughts on “Once – Original Soundtrack Album

  1. Pingback: Once (Movie Review) | MusicKO

    • Thank you so much for sharing the link, you can’t imagine how
      much I appreciate it… actually, you seem to love the movie as much as I do.
      So you must have an idea what it means to watch that clip again, after
      a good couple of years.

      I hope to see you around!


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