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Dum Dum Daaaa!

by Robin Scher / 01.12.2010

I watched The Social Network the other day and was surprisingly entertained. For a film, that’s essentially about a bunch of virgins programming a website, there was an intensity and pace that kept you genuinely interested throughout its 90 minute length, the reason for this, excluding good directing and a great screenplay – Trent Reznor. This may seem odd to those who actually know who Trent Reznor is, of former 9-inch Nails fame, but there is no doubt that the soundtrack he composed for the film is what kept you excited about Jesse Eisenberg typing at a computer – no mean feat in my opinion.

This got me thinking about the nature of soundtracks and the impact they can have on the mood and intensity of a situation. Watched reality programming lately? Granted there are a select few reality shows that can safely rely on their content to keep the viewer transfixed, but then there’s Masterchef Australia. Maintaining a high level of scepticism regarding the entertainment value of a cooking contest I was assured by numerous trusted friends and family members that, “you must watch Masterchef – it is so exciting!” Well, it was exciting. I found myself on the edge of my seat when Adam had to present his dish and couldn’t watch when Justine took her soufflé out the oven. Once again, the entertainment value of the show rests largely on a gripping soundtrack. The fast paced piano and rising crescendo lets you know, “OK, something really hectic is about to happen – excitement”, or when there’s a slow mournful piano and possibly the low bass hum of a Cello, “Aaaah, no not the soufflé, it had such potential.”

Masterchef Australia

If a soundtrack could make something as mundane as cooking a chicken or typing at a computer exciting imagine the potential for accompanying music to everyday life. As I type this, I envisage Beethoven’s 9th Symphony rising in volume as I compose this piece of literary genius. Life could be so much simpler. I could have pre-empted dismal rejection as Shaggy instead of Barry White played in the background whilst I tried my luck with that girl the other day. Even doing the most simple of tasks could take on a magnitude of epic proportions – doing my shopping to the score of Howard Shore would transform Pick ‘n Pay into Middle Earth and the bag of potatoes in my hand into – the one ring.

It doesn’t have to stop there. Society itself could benefit from taking better cues from a soundtrack. If, for instance, every time Julius Malema got on stage to present a speech and at that very moment a full brass band, led by the driving thump of a Tuba, began to play with possibly canned laughter accompanying, we would be able to save so much energy on “public outcries”. In a similar vein, the simple repetition of two notes building up in pace could signal the arrival of, well yes Jaws, but equally Zille!

This could spawn an entire new career path – ‘personal soundtracks’. I can picture the infomercial now…
“Are you tired of the monotony of brushing your teeth every morning in silence? Do you yearn for more excitement whilst making bowel movements? Well then you need a ‘personal soundtrack’. With some favourites such as the “Enya Breakfast” or “Kanye West Colonoscopy” you’ll never have to worry about living in silence again. Get your ‘personal soundtrack today!”

If this idea doesn’t take off, I might just choose the most banal activity I can imagine and make it into a reality show with a great soundtrack. Coming next summer, one garden, ten contestants, one million rand, who will be the next… “Mastergardener” Dum Dum Daaaaa…

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