hmv.com presents… The Best Soundtracks of All Time: Lost in Translation
As part our 'Decades' series, every day we'll be picking the best soundtrack, one for every year, starting with 1950 right through to the present day. Today we're up to 2003 and we're heading East with Lost In Translation.
Sofia Coppola’s Tokyo-set plutonic love story Lost In Translation.
So what’s the film about?
Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is an ageing American actor past his glory days, and reduced to filming lucrative (but embarrassing) whiskey adverts for the Japanese market. Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) is the young wife of a celebrity photographer on assignment in Tokyo. She’s left alone, bored in their hotel, which is where she ends up meeting Bob.
Both stuck in loveless, stagnant relationships, the two of them end up hanging out each, both lost in a culture they don’t understand.
Is this a score or a soundtrack?
It’s a soundtrack of songs from the film.
So who’s on it? Anyone I might know?
The biggest contributor is former My Bloody Valentine frontman Kevin Shields, who has four tracks on the soundtrack, plus one more song from his old band. Elsewhere, there’s a list of uber-cool indie rock and electronica acts, including Squarepusher, Death In Vegas and Phoenix.
So which songs are on it? Did any of them become hits?
Sofia Coppola is more interested in cool indie cuts than big hits. It’s more like an cool dream pop mixtape, with stylish French tracks (Air’s ‘Lost In Kyoto’, Sebastien Tellier’s ‘Fantino’), alongside indie rock (My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Sometimes’) and even Japanese folk (‘Kaze wo Atsumete’ by Happy End).
What’s the best moment?
It’s got to be the much discussed finale, where just as Bob is about to return to America, he hugs Charlotte and whispers something inaudible in her ear. As he walks away and gets back into his taxi, The Jesus And Mary Chain’s searing, dramatic ‘Just Like Honey” starts roaring over the soundtrack.
Has it stood the test of time?
Anything trying to be this cool seriously runs the risk of being laughably out-dated a decade on. That hasn’t happened with Lost In Translation, and Coppola’s handpicked heartfelt soundtrack is just as touching today as it was ten years ago.