As you likely know, I love director Paul Thomas Anderson's oeuvre. He has released a lot of the best cinema from over the past 20 years from Boogie Nights to last year's Inherent Vice. One of the perks is the iconic monologues that seem to crop up in every one of his films. It's impossible to think of There Will Be Blood without "I drink your milkshake." It's not the same without The Master arguing about its cult status. Well, if you've ever wondered what these craftily worded monologues sound like set to music, you can thank Colburn Sound Express, who have just released an eight track download that combines them to a varying genres of music.
It sounds like a gimmick to release an album called "Songs in the Key of Paul Thomas Anderson." At most, it feels like a trick done by a no-name band to get attention, along the lines of recent death metal band Okilly Dokilly being a tribute to religious character Ned Flanders from The Simpsons; or more notably Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift's "1989" album for no real reason. Well, I come back to you from listening to this album, and I am proud to say that this is a gimmick that is worth your time. It may not set the world on fire, but it will entertain you nonetheless.
The catch is simple. Each song is a monologue pulled from Anderson's films and set to music. Where you would think that the syllable count would interfere with rhythm, Colburn Sound Express have put in some effort to make them flow. There's no alteration to make words rhyme. This is direct text from his films. It's kind of exciting to hear this experiment work out well enough. Among the more noteworthy entries is "I Am a Man," which turns The Master into an epic song about identity. As you can expect, there's also "I Drink Your Milkshake" about There Will Be Blood. If the worst that can be said about this album is that it's sometimes a little too twee, then that's fair enough. Still, it's pretty good.
If you're at all interested in listening to this album, you can over on their Bandcamp website, where they also have all of the "lyrics" attached. If you like the album enough, you also can download it for free and play it wherever you want. It may not be the greatest album, but it definitely is a fitting tribute to Anderson and his ability to turn words into a meditative flow. While he had begun doing it in his own films with Inherent Vice with Joanna Newsom, it's interesting to revisit these as actual songs. Some work. Some don't. But it's definitely worth a gander.