Serendipity: Weltschmerz With Fangs, Or, Sweet Vampire Love Redux

I’m being purposely obscure in all this because this is a movie one should see for oneself.  It’s a wonder of visuals and sound, including Yasmine in the Moroccan nightclub at the end reminding us once more of the love of music, just as the non-Tangier parts of the movie take place in Detroit, “Motown,” even now still a center of music as well as a city on the decline.

Thus begins the conclusion of my review of Jarmusch’s film ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (see June 26).  So I’ve now been to Detroit — albeit not for the music scene — and seen some of the squalor though, I suspect, hardly the worst.  And then, yesterday, at my writers group we discussed one story (by me, called “The Ring”) in what I would call the “bored vampire” subgenre, of which the film also is an example — the existential crisis the prospect of near-immortality might bring one once the novelty of it has ended.

But what of the music, that which showed Adam in the film that “unlife” was still worth living?  Through the wonders of the internet I blundered across a YouTube offering of Lebanese-born singer/songwriter Yasmine Hamdan — Yasmine in the movie — performing the song Adam hears in Tangier.  Adam, we should realize, has been himself an underground musician, uploading his own work onto the web back in his now-compromised Detroit hideaway.

But would this be enough to cure a vampire’s funk?  You can judge for yourself by pressing here.

  1. This looked so good from your description, I put it in my Netflix queue –and it’s available tomorrow, but I’m pretty certain it’ll say “long long wait”. Then wait I shall! Thanks, Jim.

  2. Ah, but you can hear the song now, except there might still be a reason for waiting. It sort of sneaks up on you in the movie, with Adam hearing something through the open door of the nightclub, then wandering in perhaps out of curiosity . . . then the music. With this echoing (in a way) the song itself with its long electronic/instrumental lead, building tension before the voice comes in, almost a capella against the background (while an entirely different thing, I think of Peggy Lee’s rendition of “Fever” in the 1950s with its spare instrumentation — a single stand-up bass playing repeated rising chords, a snare drum used for accents only). In this, though, the entire thing is tension, anticipation, plus the electronics to give Yasmine’s voice an increasingly ethereal tone when she comes in, the “accenting” there being the parts when she hits her higher range, I think. (And then wait — more anticipation — for when the “full orchestra” joins in.)

    Especially in context it is nicely done.

  3. I might add a quick note that I understand the song, “Hal” (“Solution”), was written especially for the movie. Also, this performance is not taken directly from the movie (where it’s depicted as a live performance) but is most likely done in studio with a bit more emphasis on electronics (the “ethereal” quality) at the end. I have run across a cut directly from the movie, but would recommend this one for the “preview,” then seeing the other in the context of the whole film (the line the title word is in is translated in English as “I have no solution,” which relates to the film too, with the final line of the lyrics — given in Arabic and in English if you scroll down — perhaps tentatively offering one)

  4. Netflix says it is available on Aug 18th, I believe. So it’s been at the top of my queue for weeks, now. I’ll revisit your description after I watch it. Sounds fascinating!

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