Leonard Cohen – “The Stranger Song” from Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
Songs of Leonard Cohen is Cohen’s first album. Before recording music, he found success as a poet and novelist (the novel Beautiful Losers is his literary magnum opus…read it!). Songs was released on December 27, 1967, which is the same day Bob Dylan’s return from oblivion, John Wesley Harding, was released. I don’t know if album release dates were as big a deal in 1967 as they are now, but what a day for album releases that was.
I always have to stop whatever I am doing and listen when this song starts. L. Cohen’s lyrics offer extraordinarily intricate ruminations on human relationships, and this song is a stellar example. It’s about the uncertainty that is a part of every relationship, and how people are, simply put, strangers to one another, and there’s really nothing we can do about it.
This song is used to great effect in Robert Altman’s superb anti-Western film McCabe & Mrs. Miller. The film’s soundtrack consists entirely of songs from this album. The Stranger Song serves as McCabe’s theme, with Warren Beatty as the consummate stranger. The songs seem to fit perfectly within the framework of the film, despite the album being four years older than the movie. In fact, Cohen disliked the film after having first seen it, but later saw it again and liked it. Altman’s films often warrant repeated viewings in order to fully understand them, and McCabe is no exception.
Another note which has nothing to do with this song; he visuals in McCabe remind me very much of those in There Will Be Blood. This is not terribly surprising, given that PT Anderson was Altman’s protege for a while. Also, both films take place around the turn of the 20th Century. McCabe is set in the Pacific Northwest, and Blood is set in California. When watching one film, I find it interesting to think of the events of the other film happening at the same time in a different part of the country. I may very well be the only person who finds that interesting, but I’m OK with that.
Don’t be a stranger to Leonard Cohen
or to Robert Altman, for that matter
Posted by Adam
Will Oldham – “All These Vicious Dogs” from All the Real Girls(Soundtrack) 
I really like this movie – I have for a long time. And this is probably one of the better soundtracks I’ve ever heard; David Gordon Green knows how to put a soundtrack movie together; check his stuff out if you haven’t yet.
I don’t know if you’ve heard the version of this song Oldham does on Master and Everyone, but this version kicks that version’s ass back to school. I’ve been holed up in my car listening to this song for an hour and a half, left the car and had the song stuck in my head for the rest of the night. And not the kind where you can’t get it out of your head, it’s more the kind that bores into whatever part of your brain is active on any given night. That’s the kind of shit this song is.
If you listen real close, you can hear the little rhythm track in the background. Good stuff, kids. Good stuff.
I told you it was a really good soundtrack so buy it already
Also you should buy the movie
Posted by Phil
Ennio Morricone – “Il Triello” from Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo OST (1967)
I give you the full-length Italian release of the final track from the greatest film score of all time.
Popular instrumental music is deeply indebted to Ennio Morricone. There would be no Calexico or Explosions in the Sky without Morricone’s unabashedly bold and triumphant soundtracks.
Nothing consistently gives me shivers like the trumpet passage here. When I hear it, I can see a vivid rendition of that final showdown and I am reminded that this is the perfect intersection of film and music.
Buy the film and/or soundtrack (version Italiano)
Posted by Jordy
Neil Young w/ Johnny Depp – “Dead Man Theme” from the Dead Man soundtrack (1995)
This flick is playing at The Loft here in Tucson this weekend. I always liked it and think it would be killer on the big screen.
NY recorded this soundtrack after the film was mostly edited. He claims that he improvised much of it while watching the film on “about 20 TVs all around me, big ones, little ones, tiny little portables, and wide screens and everything hanging from the ceiling in a big semicircle all the way around me.”
Buy the soundtrack and/or movie
Posted by Jordy