The Music of Nana: The Musical
I’ve thought a lot about the specific music that would be played in the film. I figure there could be at least six songs performed in the film (Streets of Fire managed to squeeze in five and a half songs, so why not Nana: The American Cut). I want the tone of the film to echo two distinct vibes. Firstly, I want the sound to tribute the super-chick punk sound of early Siouxsie and the Banshees. I feel like the general look of the original Manga characters possesses the look and feel of Siouxsie Sioux (although in terms of the musical quality of the Japanese film, the music falls much more in the realm of J-Pop). So I want the whole package, an African American punk chick playing punk music.
I would also want to showcase the sounds and style of the Brooklyn independent music scene. Therefore some of the music employed would offer a mix of indie rock and pop, with a spattering of the new Brooklyn indie soul that Solange, Janelle Monáe, and Blood Orange have made cool and popular. In addition to the basic soundtrack tunes, the film would incorporate several live performances in various Brooklyn clubs (my favorites are the Williamsburg Theatre, Brooklyn Bowl, and Union Pool) and Union Transfer in Philadelphia.
- Nanette playing with Blast in the opening scene of the film at the Legendary Dobbs on South Street in Philadelphia (before Wren takes off to join Trapnest in Brooklyn). As a necessary tribute to Siouxsie and the Banshees (to whom my ideas owe much), Blast opens the flick performing an old Banshees’ tune from their second album Join Hands called “Icon.” This tune is simple, it rocks, and is meant to depict the early development of an up-and-coming rock band (which is exactly the stage at which the Banshees were when they recorded “Icon”). The tune also features irresistibly weird lyrics like “Can I stick skewers in my skin….”
- The British chic group Savages were a major buzz band in 2013 (singer Jehnny Beth is an obvious artistic descendent of Siouxsie Sioux), and I for one bought into the critical hype. My favorite tune from Savages’ debut album Silence Yourself was “She Will” that lovingly employs a riff culled directly from the Banshee hit “Christine.” A performance of “She Will” would occur as the first song of Blast’s first set ever in New York City (in some Williamsburg club as I described above).
- The Trapnest set at Union Transfer in Philadelphia will include the Chairlift song “Bruises.” I love the song – it’s totally poppy and fun. However, when I saw Chairlift live several years ago at Webster Hall in New York, they performed a version of the tune incorporating lyrics from the Modern English classic “I Melt for You.” I would love to see Charlift’s singer, Caroline Polachek, to play Trapnest lead singer Reira and replicate that exact version during their Philly set in the film.
- TV on the Radio had a big year in 2014 with their amazing album Seeds (one of my top 10 albums from 2014). The killer first single from the disc, “Happy Idiot” or “Careful You” would be a great tunes for the band to play during the final scene of the film as the scene with all of the gang when they are hanging out watching the TV on the Radio performance.
- As described above, TV on the Radio will pull Nanesha on stage for the final song of the film. Instead of the punk songs that she performs throughout the film with Blast, I would like to see Nanesha play something infectiously poppy. I have a serious crush on Solange, and in spite of her age I can totally see her playing goth Nana. I would love to see Nanesha play something by Solange or perhaps Janelle Monáe, like the Del Hines produced “Losing You,” or Monáe’s“ Dance Apocalyptic.”
So yeah, this is all a big time fantasy, but one that is fun to think about. I feel like writing this and making it public (although I have no pretensions that anyone will have read this far) I can finally let it go and move on to bigger and better things, like writing some plot points for my Rick Astley film!
Nate Jones is middle-aged, rapidly balding man with chronic bad breath who writes about culture, identity politics, and sometimes music. His published work includes pieces in Ready Player None: A Ready Player One Fanzine, Old White Dudes’ Quarterly, various want ads seeking vintage Atari 2600 cartridges, and his blog entitled “My Heaven is 1973.”