Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Look at Lana Del Rey's Songs for "Big Eyes"

Okay, I will be upfront about something. I am a big fan of Lana Del Rey. As those who followed last year's race with me, I spoke highly of "Young and Beautiful" from The Great Gatsby. She simply has a cinematic quality to her music from the orchestration to the tortured voice. While this post should serve me as a reminder that soon and very soon I should actually look into the Best Original Song race, I want to focus for now on the two songs that were recently made available that will be featured in director Tim Burton's latest film Big Eyes. If nothing else, I would like to give them notice and hear what you think of them.

There isn't much pretext to this. I have already written about Big Eyes a bit and likely will only do more of it when it comes out in a few weeks. For now, I want to focus on the music. It seems like an ingenious pairing with the goth-centric director and the hauntingly beautiful voiced singer coming together to make something great. Of course, Burton worked with the equally interesting Karen O for the Frankenweenie soundtrack and that didn't quite pan out for an Oscar nomination. Nonetheless, it seems like Burton has at least begun to do one thing right. He is getting interesting niche artists to do music in his film. Lana Del Rey just happens to be the latest. 

Two songs have recently been made available for listening. You can check them out below.

"Big Eyes"

"I Can Fly"

I cannot really comment on what is the front runner for the Oscars this year. I am also not sure if that's a great or a bad thing. Where the past few years have featured clear favorites, there hasn't been one song that has stood out, blown up radio and demanded our attention. That should make things interesting, as long as we don't have another outbreak of Alone Yet Not Alone. That travesty is thankfully behind us.

The initial reaction is that neither of them aren't anywhere as good as "Young and Beautiful." Of course, I have had over a year to listen to it and enjoy it. Even then, the orchestration and themes in that song were sweeping and beautiful in ways that feel lacking here. "I Can Fly" plays like an Sinead O'Conner ballad with its echoing, melancholic vocals and atmospheric rhythms. It is very much enjoyable if a little long thanks to elaborated intros and outros. Between the two, it is my favorite of hers. "Big Eyes" is more straightforward and has an espionage feel to it. This isn't a bad thing, but unless the Academy goes for simplicity, I am not sure what's going to stand the better chance.

For the sake of argument, I feel like "Big Eyes" will get more notice predominantly because of its placement within the film. It is said to be featured prominently within the middle portion of the film. If this is the case, it will likely stand out to audiences more and thus stand a better chance at an Academy Award. As stated earlier, I am in need of some serious research on the Best Original Song category. However, as a Lana Del Rey fan, I am enjoying the songs and feel like she is a perfect fit for Tim Burton, even if I don't like his films that much anymore. If nothing else, I cannot wait to see what their contexts will be.

Does Lana Del Rey stand any chance at a Best Original Song nomination? What are the biggest contenders so far? Is Big Eyes going to be a better Tim Burton film than those that we have been seeing lately?

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