Every year is a good year for music in movies but, for some reason, 2020’s music cues have stuck with us a bit harder than usual. Gemma Gracewood, Ella Kemp, Jack Moulton and Aaron Yap interrupt their holidays to compile a Letterboxd Spotify playlist of their favorite needle drops of the past year. The conversation below contains mild spoilers.
GG: First off, how do we define a ‘needle drop’? Do we need to define a needle drop? Isn’t it obvious?
EK: I feel like it’s a definition that we can spin so many different ways.
GG: There are iconic soundtracks, and then there are specific music moments in movies, where the film itself isn’t necessarily filled with wall-to-wall bangers à la Pulp Fiction or Trainspotting. Needle drops can happen in both. Ella, I enjoyed your description in your 50 favorite music cues piece for The Quietus: “There are fewer pleasures greater, at the movies, than the moment a perfect track starts at a perfect moment, and the marriage of music and film creates an entirely new beast, a work of art in that new connection alone.” It reminds me of Ekwa Msangi’s view, in her recent Letterboxd interview, that music is “the third language” in film.