Archive for the ‘paul losada’ Category

The Glory of Sight & Sound

October 8, 2009

Written By: Paul Losada

I’m feeling as hazy and scattered as a writer cliche gets just two hours before deadline, but what keeps me going is recalling the semi-religious feeling I had last night watching the opening credits to what is sure to go down as the party movie of the year: Zombieland.

Its use of Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” over slo-mo, hyper-violent visuals of zombies and gore made me feel, appropriately enough, more alive than I had all week. Judging by the rest of the rowdy crowd reaction at the Vista theater, something universal was attained in the marriage of sight and sound.

Music has its place in every facet of life, and improves most if not all situations whether it be screaming at you from an epic performance at the Forum, or distorting from the shitty car radio you couldn’t afford to upgrade after converting your Mercedes-Benz to run on vege oil. But when music covers a scene in a film successfully, its power to get the heart racing while you, essentially, sit and do nothing is remarkable for its own reasons all together.

Metallica didn’t just set a tone for the film, but also for the audience. I’m willing to bet 9.5 people out of 10 heard “For Whom The Bell Tolls” before and already loved it, but hearing the song with a wholly original visual revitalized it, gave it new meaning, and created the adrenaline rush one needs to watch almost two hours worth of flying blood and guts. Oddly, it was like hearing the song for the first time, yet it’s familiarity helped stir an already positive feeling.

There’s at least 9,781,347,201,239 other examples of stellar film soundtrack decisions throughout history (what I still think of as the most influential amongst the independently-minded is pictured above), but what I’m getting at here is the utter beauty of witnessing and experiencing somebody else’s visual interpretation of a song. We may not come to understand somebody else on a personal level because of how they imagine a song to look like (who knows and who cares if Quentin Tarantino fantasizes about cutting off somebody’s ear to Stealers Wheel, for example) but we can have a shared, collective experience that is entirely meaningful nonetheless. Obviously, a filmmaker’s goals extend beyond titilizing an audience with music, but sitting down in a theater and allowing music to affect us in such a way is an experience that doesn’t necessarily come first to mind for such an aural art form–but I’m willing to argue that it’s equally important,
and will probably become more so given the evolving visual mediums of video games and new media.

I really hope nobody dismisses zombie movies as anti-intellectual.

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Music We Can Depend On: The Value of Not Entirely Original Pop

September 22, 2009

Written By: Paul Losada

The deadline for my first feature for Chicks With Guns is due in 5 hours, and I can’t think of anything more rock ‘n roll than sitting down at this-a-here laptop without a goddamned clue as to what to write about except to start an argument!

I’ve been awake for 24 hours now, the past nine of which were spent chugging down Red Bulls, listening to Prurient at maximum iPod volume, bloodletting, and snorting up what still feels like all of Bolivia just to get through a shift of work. Okay, I’m making up at least two of those (and I ain’t sadistic enough to listen to Prurient), but all of this at least feels true because I’ve been without three of the most stability-inducing records of my collection.

As our economy continues to encourage freelance labor over full-time jobs, as our need increases to learn more skills than thought possible so we can better thrive, and our relationships more sporadic and “in the air” because of all this, we probably live in the most turbulent and outright chaotic times of human evolution–at least for those of us who can still remember a time when dinner revolved around the “Jackie Gleason Show.” When the reality of life seems too overwhelming, this is when we need our most predictable, almost routine-in-its-songwriting records to strike some sort of a balance and provide calm. The true value of the Ramones, Iron Maiden, and pretty much any stand-alone album by the Jesus & Mary Chain fucking shine in times like these! Order does exist in this universe, damnit–and I can’t think of a better place to find solitude and dependability than in the grooves of a great, albeit unsurprising piece of vinyl.

I went through a particularly brutal summer in joblessness and having to live with my parents this year, and Lord knows how I would have handled it without the copies of Leave Home, Killers, and Psychocandy that always remain in my old bedroom. Yes, yes, there’s plenty of better examples in ambient, dub, and drone that offer a whole lot more wall-to-wall sameness, but by no means am I putting down any of these well known records. A purpose is served with routine song structuring (which all of these albums deliver in spades–you’re tripping if you think differently). An artist that offers separate yet almost indecipherable from one another songs can create the perfect pattern to put the mind at ease without boring it.

In my case, the sheer randomness of my father’s mood swings combined with a lack of returned work calls could always be staved off with the music I use specifically for these events; the music I can always depend on NOT surprising me. Technically that can mean any album you’ve heard more than once, but there’s something truly special about a band that refuses to exert more effort into its songwriting process than it absolutely has to.

I just find it hard to believe that anyone could dislike a band because “all their songs sound the same.” Fucking awesome, I say! That’s what makes them great! Now, whether or not the songs are actually good is another argument.

Paul Losada

June 19, 2008

Position: Contributing Writer (Features)

Location: Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles, CA

Bio: This sums it up:

I’m working register at Amoeba Music when I do a double-take and see novelist Brett Easton Ellis approaching me from the line. I’m sweating and capable of folding a quarter with my asshole by the time I see his name imprinted on his American Express card and have to inform him we don’t accept ‘AmEx.’ He mutters, “Fuck,” under his breath while juggling a script and a slew of other cards emblazoned with that iconic 3-part name.

I ring him up and try to remain as cool and uncaring as possible. I say nothing and make no eye contact, but watch to see if he’s willing to break the ice first. With each second that nothing happens I’m feeling more tense, and at some point hear myself say, “I’ll hand this over to you at the other end.” We walk side by side in our steps and when he passes the sensor I hand him the bag and suddenly erupt.

“You are the reason why I’m a writer living in Los Angeles!”

I want to cover my mouth and gasp but before I can I start rambling on about reading Less Than Zero at age 10, how I’m learning more about myself as a writer than ever before, and that a recent attempt to live happily on the east coast failed, hence why I’m back in LA and having the most surreal and serendipitous moment of my life.

I think we shook hands, I’m pretty sure he asked for my name, and I could of swore he said something about how he was glad I said something to him. We wished each other a good day and within a blink he was gone.

As I walk back to the register I’m tasting colors and hearing furniture, smiling like a goofball and ready to tell my co-workers to kill me now because my life had come full circle. Suddenly I stop dead in my tracks as disappointment crashes on me like cartoon anvil.

I realize Brett Easton Ellis just bought a CD by the Killers.

Likes: The Stooges “Funhouse” and The Velvet Underground & Nico album are good starting points.

Columns At CWG: The Features, Live and Direct