Thursday, February 24, 2011

26 soundtracks: Wild in the Streets

The Shape of things to come...

Wild in the Streets from 1968 was about an America where the voting age had been lowered to 14 and a Rock Star, Max Frost, is elected president. The film deals with the issues of the time it was created and the generation gap. Without going into my whole Baby Boomer rant, it’s interesting to see what happened to the country when the Baby Boomers really took control of national politics and where we are after two decades of Baby Boomers really running the show.

Anyway, this is about the soundtrack, which is filled mostly with up-tempo Folk, Psychedelic and Garage Rock. Most of the songs are loose and janggly, however the Max Frost and the Troopers song Shape Of Things To Come (which is not to be confused with the Yardbirds song of the same name) is of note for several reasons. First it is just a great song from the era, with a driving Farfasa organ sound that is clean and stark. It’s lean and driving and even a little chilly. Lyrically it’s a call to arms calling for a revolution that is inevitable, with a join or you’ll be sorry vibe. Of all the songs on the soundtrack it is the most fascists. First you have the name Max Frost and the Trooper, that sounds like the house band for Nazi Germany circa ’68, they would have been bigger than the beatles.

The title Shape of Things to Come is of course is taken from the George Orwell (Animal Farm, 1984) {ok, not really It's H.G. Wells thanks to Todd Mason for the correction} story that deals with the eventual succession of the nation state of the 20th century by a benevolent society of scientific technocrats running the means of production, of distribution and access to educations, health care (any of this sounding way to current here in 2010??) and the place of individual in society. I have to pause here and recommend the 1936 film version of Shape of Things to Come from Britain which is not only a great early Sci Fi film, but looks amazing.

The title track, Wild in the Streets is a disappointment in that it’s way to controlled, mellow and mild. Lyrically it’s notable for it’s warning to those over 30, letting them know that the younger generation is gunning for them. Fifty Two Per Cent is another solid song also with a threat as the message, reminding the listener that the Boomers were 52% of the population at the time.

Over all it’s an interesting album that documents the time, the place and the music. Aside from The Shape of Things to Come there is nothing that is classic, but if you are looking for a 60s Psych Gem you could do a lot worse.

Next time: The Soundtrack to another Rock and Roll Fantasy OST Streets of Fire

You can fine more Final Thursday Music HERE


Todd Mason said...

H. G. Wells, actually, is the THINGS TO COME guy...though Orwell, as do we all, owed him a big debt.

Nice cover, that...I still need to see this film.

Iren said...

Todd Of course you are correct... I really should have checked that. I also think it was a case where I liked the idea of the connection between Animal Farm, 1984 and Wild in the Streets that my brain was looking for connections... maybe I can retro fit a Bowie Diamond Dogs riff in there somewhere....