There are plenty of movie soundtracks I have fallen in love with over the years. I even have some soundtracks that friends have bought me because they have assumed that I liked the film so therefore would enjoy the soundtrack. They of course have not been entirely wrong in their thought process. I even own a couple of television soundtracks. The truth is depending on the movie, a soundtrack or a musical score can make or break the tone. Could you imagine Jaws without it’s iconic score? Or Halloween without Carpenter’s masterpiece? What about Dirty Dancing without “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” or Pretty Woman without hearing “Pretty Woman?” Me either. And the truth is part of what I loved about the original Footloose was the music. I think that is why they knew they had to use some of the same music in the updated version, despite the fact they made the soundtrack country at it’s core. Regardless, the original Footloose‘s soundtrack stands the test of time. Or at least it does for me, which is why it is the movie I have chosen that has the best soundtrack.
Day 28: Movie with the best soundtrack – Footloose
From the opening sequence of Footloose, it’s hard to sit back and sit down to merely enjoy a viewing of the film without dancing. Maybe there should be some rule that we cannot dance until the teenagers in the movie can dance. I’m not sure how many people would actually listen to that logic or apply it to their viewings. I can’t imagine this being possible because of the title song alone. I’m not sure how anyone can deny themselves from dancing to Kenny Loggins “Footloose” unless they are Allie from Hyperbole and a Half in which I completely understand because after all there was a year that Kenny Loggins ruined Christmas for her. If you have not read that story you should. I, on the other hand, have always wanted to get up and dance at the beginning and throughout the film.
One of the scenes that of course makes me want to get up and dance is during the montage to “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” when Ren is teaching Willard how to dance. What is so amazing about this moment in the film is the fact that Willard truly does want to learn how to dance for Rusty. I think Willard’s purpose throughout the film was to truly make Rusty happy. However, throughout learning how to dance we can tell that Willard is truly happy as is everyone else around him. The same can of course be said about the scene where Ariel turns up “Dancing in the Sheets” and begins to dance as everyone is waiting for their food. This of course until her father stops the music playing and gives her and everyone else a disapproving look, but Ariel most of all.
Likewise, there are plenty of other scenes where music helped get the message of the film across, or merely how the characters were feeling in that moment. In many ways, I feel the reason “Holding Out for a Hero” is played during what I have affectionately dubbed the tractor showdown scene over the years is because Ariel was in desperate need of a hero. She needed someone who was going to show her there were better men out there than Chuck! Likewise, when audiences hear “I’m Free (Heaven Helps The Man)” during the film, we are fresh off the win that the students can have a dance. The song’s lyrics are beyond perfect for this moment within the film. It reminds us that we have to fight for the things we want in life. We have to stand up for not only ourselves, but for love as well.
Furthermore, there are so many songs scattered throughout the film that truly made me research their artists. I enjoy Sammy Hagar, which is someone that most people would not peg me to be a fan of, all because I hear “The Girl Gets Around” within this feature. I’m also reminded of the phrase young and dumb every time I hear this song, which most viewers should understand if they remember the movie well enough. On top of all the rock music my mother exposed me to I found myself asking her about songs like “Hurts So Good” and “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)” because if there was one hit by these artists there had to be more I would enjoy right? I thoroughly believed this as well as wanting to figure out a way to listen to all of these songs together. A mixed tape was in my future.
Lastly, one cannot talk about Footloose without mentioning two of the most prolific slow songs within the feature. While “Almost Paradise” does play at the beginning of the dance, that is the not the only time we can find the song within this feature. And yet again we find ourselves thinking if Ariel can get out of her abusive relationship with Chuck she stands a chance of having a paradise of her own. This plays well with the fact that “Waiting for a Girl Like You” is also featured in the film. As much as Ariel needed Ren to help her end a bit of her wild streak, Ren needed Ariel to show him the exact same thing, which is what makes this song so fitting for the two of them all these years later.
Ultimately, the brilliance of this soundtrack is that regardless of if I’m listening to the soundtrack, or I hear a song from the movie, I immediately think of all the aforementioned scenes within the film. I cannot imagine hearing one of these songs and not immediately wanting to go home and watching Footloose. I also cannot imagine what my vacation from hell to Mississippi would have been like when I was younger without this soundtrack. Thank God for that hole in the wall gas station that sold cassettes that afternoon. Without this soundtrack I’m pretty sure my mother and I would have been even more mentally exhausted by the time we arrived back in Georgia. That’s a story for another time though.