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The first image that pops into the mind of viewers who saw Drive in 2011 is the scene where Gosling’s character drives through an elongated street with the film’s heroine, as the song A Real Hero by Electronic Youth whispers in the background. In the context of this film, it’s sweet and an essential scene as the viewer concentrates on the contrived pacing of the film.
For cinematic history, it is an iconic scene that left a miniature blueprint on post-2010 American culture.
Nicholas Winding Refn’s nearly surreal, art house film, Drive, has been ruminating in the minds of movie fanatics for years now. It’s intricate attention to detail mashed with its blend of animated violence and careful pacing makes it one of the more unique efforts in cinema in the recent years.
With all that aside, what really levied Drive into cult fanaticism was it’s harrowing and retrograde soundtrack. The original score was composed by former drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cliff Martinez. With his collaborations with other Electronic artists such as Electric Youth, College, and Desire, Martinez understood Refn’s comic vision of the underground world of late night Los Angeles.
Video uploaded by Valerie Records (YouTube)
With the collection of the underground nightclub musicians under Martinez’s direction, the soundtrack smoothly added life to every scene each track was placed in.
In the opening scene where the film presents it’s first ten iconic ten minutes of its potential, the camera zooms out into the city lights, as Nightcall from Kavinsky plays in the background, introducing the film’s aesthetic.
Drive received critical acclaim by the time it was released but did not perform so well in the box office. Over the years its presence loomed in the vision of edge-driven teenagers and relic-cherishing hipsters. Drive developed a cult following, and the soundtrack became the gateway for many of the viewers to be introduced to the world Refn created.
The music could be classified as Electronic, but each track differs from each other. Each track may have elements of Synthwave and Dream Pop, as the next track could involve an actual orchestra of classically-trained musicians.
Songs such as A Real Hero and Nightcaller gathered millions of listeners throughout the years. Many fans of the film admitted that the film has influenced their view on Electronic music in general, especially the nocturnal, space-infused psychedelic tracks that this film introduced.
Chris Struckmann, a film reviewer in YouTube, admitted in his video analyzing the film Drive that the soundtrack opened him to the Electronic genre itself.
Where the internet carries the potential for such influence, Drive was able to do it in a two-hour film session. Although future movie reviewers and content creators may have their own opinion about the film itself, there is no denial of the impact the soundtrack had on the viewers when it was showcased on the big screen.