When it comes to artists writing and recording material for movie soundtracks a lot of the time they can be hit or miss. It can either be a good idea for the artist or writers of any given movie. With Eddie Vedder coming to Dublin next month i thought it would be idea to discuss the Pearl Jam’frontmans debut solo/soundtrack album.
I guess it all comes down to how good the movie can be vs its musical writer. The first time i heard Eddie Vedder’s Into The Wild Soundtrack i was mesmerised.
With Vedder being the lead singer of one of the most successful Rock band’s in history Pearl Jam at the time i felt this could be a bad move. But i was wrong.
The movie tells the story of Christopher McCandless who is played by Emile Hirsh, in 1992 he arrives in a remote area just north of the Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Noting Chris’ unpreparedness, the stranger who drops him off lends him a pair of boots.
Chris travels into the wilderness and sets up a campsite in an abandoned city bus , which he calls “The Magic Bus”. At first, McCandless is content with the isolation, the beauty of nature around him, and the thrill of living off the land. He hunts with a .22 caliber rifle, reads books, and keeps a diary of his thoughts as he prepares himself for a new life in the wild.
Two years earlier, in May 1990, McCandless graduates with high honors from Emory University. Shortly afterwards, McCandless rejects his conventional life by destroying all of his credit cards and identification documents. He donates nearly all of his savings to OxFam and sets out on a cross-country drive in his Datsun 210 to experience life in the wilderness. McCandless does not tell his parents, Walt and Billie McCandless, or his sister Carine what he is doing or where he is going. He refuses to keep in touch with them after his departure, causing his parents to become increasingly anxious and eventually desperate.
Other than the rather excellent soundtrack the movie is a great example of somebody who simply wants to start from the beginning. Give up on the day to day rat race. The movie was also written by actor Sean Penn.
The album itself is Vedder’s first official solo album. After viewing a rough cut of Into the Wild, Vedder quickly went to work writing songs for the film.After three days, Vedder gave Penn a range of material to work with. Penn placed into the film what Vedder had given him, and Vedder then went on to work on more material that Penn could add to the film.
Vedder said that Penn “gave [him] a lot of freedom,” and added that “the biggest thing was trust, which was just kind of unspoken.” Vedder also said that having to write songs based on a narrative “simplified things.” He said, “There were fewer choices. The story was there and the scenes were there.”Vedder said that the songwriting process “grew” as Penn would ask him for more material.
Vedder promoted the Into the Wild soundtrack with his first solo tour, which began in April 2008.
To many the soundtrack really makes the movie and without it the movie may have gone unknown or unheard of! Eddie Vedder will be back in Dublin next month for a solo show with Irish artist Glen Hansard.