“What came first, the music or the misery?” Muses Rob Gordon in High Fidelity, was he miserable because he listened to pop music or did pop music make him miserable he wonders.
In Rob’s case as in mine, working in a music shop does give you a world weary distain for most things and most people. Oh, and turning you into a towering music snob.
Misrerabilist Alt-Country out fit Richmond Fontaine tread a steady path of music dealing with death, car wrecks, drugs, murder, prison, gambling, homelessness , yet perhaps leaving the listener feeling somewhat relieved that their life is not so bad after all, in line with the “they do it so we don’t have to” school of thinking.
2004’s Winnemucca contains all of the above in spades and includes the track “5 Degrees Below Zero” …… “sitting towards the back of a Greyhound, he sits next to an overweight lady with metal braces on both her legs, and she sits there coughing” has got to rank up there with anything ever written by Porter Wagoner…
The West Of Memphis soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is no soundtrack to any fictional miscarriage of justice, child murder, or people from the wrong side of the tracks , it is the soundtrack to the documentary centring on three young men from West Memphis, Arkansas falsely accused of murdering three 8 year old boys in May 1993.
The documentary by Amy Berg is powerful , shocking and in part uplifting, in that the three men are rightly freed after years being falsely imprisoned. Cave and Ellis provide a suitable , beautiful and resonant soundtrack to the whole tragic affair.
“Casino light’s, they only bring darkness to the night” Richmond Fontaine.