A while back, we looked at albums that’d make for great TV series, a topic that gave rise to much intra-office discussion and several as-yet-unfulfilled promises to actually sit down and write some serious pitches. Anyway, the release of David Lynch’s Crazy Clown Time has got us thinking about the logical follow-up to this idea — albums that’d make for great films! There are plenty of records that spring to mind, several of which could happily be shot by a certain Mr. Lynch himself. Here are the ten albums that we’d love to option the rights to — so if you’re a mega-rich producer, at least give us credit when you cash in on these, eh?
Blur — The Great Escape
For some reason, we’ve been listening to a lot of early/mid-period Blur of late, and particularly this album. Revisiting The Great Escape many years after the Great NME-Hyped Chart Battle of 1995, two things stand out about the album: a) how musically weird it is (especially Graeme Coxon’s guitar solos — see “Country House” and “Stereotypes” for examples) and b) how dark and misanthropic it is. Like all of Blur’s early work, the album’s populated by a rich cast of characters from a cross-section of English society, from the grotesque wife-swapping duo of “Stereotypes” and the charmless man of, um, “Charmless Man” to the forlorn taxi driver of “Best Days” and the star-crossed lovers of “Yuko and Hiro.” We’d love to see someone build a narrative around these characters and the theme of escape that dominates the album — we reckon the result’d be something like a modern take on The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
Liars — They Were Wrong, So We Drowned
Back in July, we looked at some of music’s most unfairly maligned albums, and among that selection was Liars’ second album. As we noted at the time, “a concept album about witches that starts with the lines ‘I no longer want to be a man/ I want to be a horse’ doesn’t sound like a particularly enticing proposition” — but it does sound like it’d make for one hell of a weird DIY Blair Witch-esque horror film, which everyone’d hate at the time and which would subsequently attain a cult following and eventually inspire a new generation of indie filmmakers.
The Flaming Lips — The Soft Bulletin
We’re not proposing anything radical here, since there’s been talk for years of turning Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots into a Broadway musical, but we think film would be an even better fit for the Lips’ “other” masterpiece. We’re envisaging it as a high-concept sci-fi masterwork about the scientists described in “Race for the Prize,” the ones who are “racing for the good of all mankind” for a cure to humanity’s pathological desire to wipe itself out. The answer lies in the brain’s chemistry, and the discovery that the same chemical that allows us to feel love was the one that catalyzed the Big Bang. That’s some heavy shit right there.
of Montreal — Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
This year’s hit indie film is the off-kilter story of young couple Kevin (Cillian Murphy) and Nina (Alison Pill), whose efforts to save their faltering marriage are complicated by the fact that Kevin appears to be slowly metamorphosing into transgender sexual voyager and funk musician Georgie Fruit (True Blood‘s Nelsan Ellis in his breakout film role). Will Kevin and Nina work it out? Or will Georgie steal Kevin away forever? Find out in the most unconventional and moving drama of the year. Original soundtrack available on Elephant 6 Records.
Mastodon — Crack the Skye
Any of Mastodon’s flat-out mental concepts would make for great films. But as we noted when we looked at gloriously geeky concept albums a while back, nothing quite approaches the conceptual outlandishness of an album about an astral-travelling quadriuplegic who somehow travels back in time to inhabit the body of Grigori Rasputin. Actually, this could be the perfect project for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s return to directorship! Our heads are hurting just thinking about it.
Sufjan Stevens — Illinoise
Stevens’ rambling and idiosyncratic telling of the history of the state of Illinois would make for, well, a rambling and idiosyncratic film about the history of the state of Illinois. We’re envisaging it as a kind of Midwestern filmic equivalent of Don DeLillo’s Underworld, tying together a series of narratives to explore the history and evolution of the state (and, of course, the central character’s Christian faith). Actually, come to think of it, this could be a pretty great TV series, too.
Kode9 and the Space Ape — Black Sun
Steve “Kode9” Goodman explained to our friends at The Quietus earlier this year that this album was written with a post-apocalyptic setting in mind — specifically, a world after a nuclear holocaust, where survivors need to take a drug that allows them to survive in the hostile, radioactive environment but causes irrevocable mutations, or eschew the drug to remain human and leave Earth forever for the colony planet of Kryon, from where no one has ever returned. Which all sounds to us like a pretty awesome plot for a gloomy Blade Runner-esque sci-fi film.
Tom Waits — Franks Wild Years
In which Tom Waits (Ron Perlman) narrates the story of Frank (Mickey Rourke) and his journey from sunny California to the dive bars and down-and-out shelters of New York City. A gritty drama based on the play of the same name. The surprise hit of 1986!
Magma — Kobaïa
We’re still basking in the warm Magma-related afterglow of our weird album round-up from last week, so let us propose to you a long-overdue filmic adaptation of the album that started all this zeuhl weirdness in the first place — Magma’s 1970 debut, which narrates the departure of a group of colonists from a doomed futuristic Earth for the planet Kobaïa. On arrival, the colonists found a utopian society, and eventually travel back to earth to spread the word of their new God via the sacred music of their culture. In a parallel universe, this film was made in the 1970s by Stanley Kubrick, was met with general bewilderment at the time, and has since been acclaimed as a massively trippy proto-sci-fi cult masterpiece.
We’ve never understood why no one’s ever followed through on the idea of realizing Parliament/Funkadelic’s Starchild/Dr. Nose D’Voidafunk mythology on film. Seriously, how could an acid-soaked Afrofuturistic narrative about a god-like alien creature who descends from the heavens to bring the holy Funk to earth not be all kinds of awesome?!