Revisiting the “Baby Driver” Soundtrack

todayNovember 21, 2019 33 1

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By Kaitlyn Watson
Music Journalist

“Baby Driver” is a 2017 film that will always have its great soundtrack attached to its name. As the main character portrayed by Ansel Elgort, Baby, puts great emphasis on his song selections throughout the movie, these songs became central to the overall experience. Rarely are modern movies about getaway drivers renowned for their use of vintage music, but they’re also rarely named after a Simon and Garfunkel song. This soundtrack is full of hits that stick and have stood the test of time, so I’ll introduce my favorites. 

“Bellbottoms” by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

If there was ever a song to get a speeding ticket for, it’s “Bellbottoms.” Put this on your morning commute playlist and I promise you’ll never be late for work again. Legally, I must now encourage you all to drive safely and courteously. This song embodies the best of blues infused ‘90s jam rock, complete with an intermission to introduce the band. The infectious quality of this track perfectly sets up the tone for the rest of the movie.

“Let’s Go Away For Awhile” by The Beach Boys

At this point, it’s understood that Pet Sounds is going to be a favorite album of human beings for the rest of time. It was the Sunday morning record of the 20th century and it still delivers the easy listening quality that it was loved for in the past. “Let’s Go Away For Awhile” is entirely instrumental and is the experimental, cinematic and charming experience that Brian Wilson is known for. It perfectly fits the bill for the seemingly timeless and heartwarming romance found in the midst of a movie about syndicated felonies and chaos. 

“B-A-B-Y” by Carla Thomas

Sticking with the mid-sixties theme for a while, the soundtrack also delved into the soul and R&B genres of the time. “B-A-B-Y” pays homage to our leading man, and helps to set the scene for a budding romance between two millennials that exist in their own lighthearted, vintage dream world that is far removed from the action movie esque central plot. The sweet sound does a great job in furthering the juxtaposition between the romantic subplot and the rest of the action. 

“Debra” by Beck

Without the slightest hint of irony, I can say that “Debra” by Beck is one of my favorite songs of all time. This is just proof that I’m a sucker for anything that resembles Prince’s vocals over a funky beat. This song was aptly dedicated to Baby’s love interest, Debra, played by Lily James. While the sentiment of the song is about getting with Debra’s sister, the thought still counts to a woman without many songs named after her in the world. 

“The Edge” by David McCallum

As a person in their 20s, I recognized 1967 song “The Edge” from the sample taken in Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s song titled “The Next Episode.” While it’s another entirely instrumental track, it is always interesting to see how people perk up upon hearing the original version of a song that’s been very famously sampled. It’s fitting to the running theme in this film of using the old and refurbishing it for a new sleek feel that is still entirely wrapped up in nostalgia. 

“Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up” by Barry White

Now, if I was a DJ in the ‘70s, this is where I would metaphorically have to slow it down for all the ladies on the dancefloor. If I can’t request this song at your wedding reception, please refrain from inviting me. “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up” is soundtracking a tense scene where Jon Hamm’s chaotic character is coming even further unhinged, and Barry White is one of the only artists that could still have an audience grooving while some serious plot is going down. The power of disco truly knows no bounds. 

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  1. Garrett Martin on November 21, 2019

    This is my favorite movie of all time, and I love how you captured the great elements of the soundtrack and the movie, how they fit together and the style of songs and a little of their history. Thank you Kaitlyn!!

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