A full review and love letter to Rock and Rule is forthcoming but the impression this cult movie left on me runs deeper than I realized.
In the last post I wrote about one line that I remembered 35 years later. That alone gave me reason to seek the movie out. The fact that it is a crazy mix of animation and rock music solidified that decision. For the most part I expected a trite tale of good vs an evil with high cheek bones, much like the Care Bears Movie. What I found though was a studio that pushed every limit of the day to make their vision. New animation techniques were created. Every artist was recorded solo with full booming sound, then mixed together. The sum creates music that actually turns it up to eleven, minus the joke.
What stuns me the most is how much every song resonated in my memory. Scientists say that smell is the strongest sense. Anyone who smells cookies and is immediately transported back to grandma’s house will agree. Music must be a strong contender for number two. Not only where you were physically, but also mentally. The ballad not only raises what’s on screen in the moment, it connects the two from there out. It’s arguable that much like chocolate and peanut butter on Halloween causes a lifetime of over indulgence in candy; this Reese’s of animation and music led to a love of both.
In a behind the scenes interview for the movie our hero is described as a typical American hero. Reluctant, full of attitude, while overall good may have dipped a toe into the darkness. (And tune in tomorrow for more on that.)
Omar (our hero) can credit his singing voice to Cheap Trick. Mok is Lou Reed and Debbie Harry sings for Angel. It’s not a far leap to take these voices and lay them as seeds to enjoy music as I grew older. Cheap Trick wanted me to want them, and I surrendered to it. I wasn’t the only one. Deep in my head, I know I like this music but getting the credits and then finding more of this music wasn’t easy in 1983. But it festered and grew. As bands who were influenced by Cheap Trick started to have hit records of their own, something familiar came across in every beat and measure to a familiar place in my brain. The Ramones, Green Day, Guns N Roses, and Nirvana had and have all mentioned Cheap Trick was the flame of musical creation.
Do you know the last single and record Lou Reed had was a collaboration with Metallica? It just came out in 2011, which is forever ago and yesterday. Metallica, who also had their first album released in 1983, sees Lou Reed as an icon they are honored to work with. I’m thinking my love of not only metal but the lyrics within can walk on the wild side straight to Mr. Reed.
Years ago when I lived in New Jersey one of my co-workers lived next to Debbie Harry. For some reason I found this endlessly fascinating, but I couldn’t pinpoint why. I give credit to Blondie for their place in rock, but they’re not a band I obsess over. I’ll praise them for Rapture being one of the first mainstream uses of rap music, and as important as Aerosmith and Run DMC in bringing hip hop to the mainstream. I didn’t realize Debbie not only has the voice of an angel, she is Angel.
These voices joining together in love and rock and roll to save the world still feels like a realistic solution even today. There’s a lot going wrong in the world and every so often I will wonder aloud where is the music that inspires people to take (legal) actions? It’s never really that easy, but two humanoid animals in a post apocalyptic heavy metal world made me think it will be.
Enjoy the song at the link below!