One of my other favorite movies (in addition to Raiders below) is Blue Velvet, David Lynch's masterwork, as far as I'm concerned. I think that it's one of the all-time great film comedies.
Yes, that's right, I said "comedies". Yes, yes, I know, Blue Velvet's depiction of crime, sexual deviance and murder taking place below the placid surface of a seemingly sleepy small town is profoundly disturbing to a lot of folks. And people were shaken by Dennis Hopper's portrayal of the psychotic Frank Booth - I understand all of that. But in many ways, the film is hilarious, especially in Hopper's over-the-top performance and a lot of the scripted dialogue. My buddy Ed is also a huge fan of this movie, and it's guaranteed that we can crack one another up in any location or situation by dropping one of the movie's lines - "It's DADDY, you shithead! Where's my bourbon?" "PABST - Blue Ribbon!" "No, I don't want you to pour it, I want you to fuck it - shit yes, pour the fuckin' beer!" "Here's to Ben!"
Ah, that never gets old - at least not for us.
One of the great things Lynch did in that movie was to set viewers up regarding the sleepy, bucolic nature of the town of Lumberton through the soft, semi-dreamlike cinematography and through the music. The soundtrack features a lot of old-fashioned pop songs from the '50s and '60s, like "Blue Velvet" (of course) and "In Dreams", in addition to some original songs penned by Lynch and his music director for the film, Angelo Badalamenti. But the song that really grabbed my attention was one at the end of the film, a airy, haunting melody called "Mysteries Of Love" that reminded me a lot of the Cocteau Twins, but was actually sung by an Iowa chanteuse named Julee Cruise. Cruise was working as a talent scout for Badalamenti in New York, and noodling around on the fringes of New York's music and arts scene after moving there from Des Moines. Her boss recommended her to Lynch for the Blue Velvet gig, and it was her big break.
"Mysteries Of Love" got a pretty good response, so much so that it led Badalamenti and Lynch to write additional songs for her, and finance her debut album, Floating Into The Night, released by Warner Bros. Records in September 1989. I bought that album on Super Bowl Sunday, 1990, at the record shop on Thames Street in Newport, RI, shortly before the big game. Cruise has an airy, haunting voice, and the album is superb, a fine example of ethereal dream pop (One song off of it, "Falling", was used as the theme music for Lynch's TV show "Twin Peaks", which debuted later that year). But the thing that really struck me about Floating Into The Night was the strong thread of SADNESS running through all of the songs. Note that I didn't say "depressing" - there's a difference between the two states of emotion, I think. Cruise sings about lost loves and missed opportunities, backed by retro-50's style pop music morphed by Lynch and Badalamenti into something spooky and infinitely heart-rending. I enjoy this album quite a bit, but there are some songs on it I simply cannot bring myself to listen to with any regularity; the sadness contained therein is just THAT affecting.
A year or so after I purchased Floating Into The Night, I was driving from the DC area to Atlantic City to test my skills at the poker tables. On the way there, I was twiddling the radio knob, trying to see if I could pick up any decent music. Near the Delaware Memorial Bridge, I chanced upon a station playing a cowbell-horn-and-bass-driven dance beat that sounded a little like Soul II Soul, and settled on that for a bit. Imagine my surprise when the lyrics kicked in, and I heard the familiar words of Floating Into The Night's "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" in Julee Cruise's voice!
The remixed version I was hearing completely dispensed with the sadness inherent in the original song, while still retaining the feel and sound of the original. Needless to say, it definitely tickled my ears, and I made a note to find it when I got back to DC. It took a while, but I finally tracked down the EP at my old reliable, the GWU Tower Records.
And so, here you are, the elusive "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" Remixes EP, released in 1991 on Warner Brothers Records. It includes the original and two modified versions, along with another song off of the original album, "The World Spins" (which was also featured in "Twin Peaks" the year before). Enjoy, and let me know what you think.
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