David Mamet films are not for everyone, but they have an unmistakable style. I remember renting The Spanish Prisoner and being fascinated by it’s styling and story. As someone that has worked at a Fortune 50 company and been privy to many a secret project or two over the years, it was a great story about working on secret projects and the shadowy possibilities of espionage and double-dealing.
While it’s not the best movie (it has some odd holes and a good dose of deus ex machina), I remember the sound track fondly as setting the mysterious mood. It’s by Carter Burwell – so give it a listen and imagine yourself in a world where you never know who is really on your side…
“Prisencolinensinainciusol” is a song composed by the Italian singer Adriano Celentano, released as a single in 1972.
The song is intended to sound to its Italian audience as if it is sung in English – English with a “Bob Dylan-esque” American accent. The lyrics, however, are deliberately unintelligible gibberish with the exception of the words “all right”. Celentano’s intention with the song was not to create a humorous novelty song but to explore communication barriers. “Ever since I started singing, I was very influenced by American music and everything Americans did. So at a certain point, because I like American slang—which, for a singer, is much easier to sing than Italian—I thought that I would write a song which would only have as its theme the inability to communicate. And to do this, I had to write a song where the lyrics didn’t mean anything.”
Here’s 2 more examples of what American English sounds like to foreigners.
The Concert is a 1956 ballet by Jerome Robbins. It’s a spoof of the orchestral performance experience.
The ballet includes this piece titled “Mistake Waltz” in which some of the dancers are a bit out of sync. The above video shows a performance by the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Every error is completely intentional.
Popular music of the 1960s was dominated by young bands like The Beach Boys, The Mamas & the Papas, The Monkees, Simon & Garfunkel, Dean Martin, Cher, Elvis, Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra, and many more. Turns out, these bands sometimes didn’t even play their own records. At times, the only members of the band on a song was the vocalists. The Wrecking Crew were the Los Angeles studio musicians that played for almost all of them. They played and shaped hundreds of now-classic records and are likely among the most recorded musicians in history. The movie shows just how influential these musicians were in creating the songs we now know and love.
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole sadly died at the age of 38 due to problems stemming from his extreme obesity, but he created some beautiful music. Here he sings his famous rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’