Movies And Music With Messages That Inspire
Inspiration comes from many places. As a songwriter, when inspiration hits you need to grab it and hold on tight, because those moments can be fleeting. It is interesting however where inspiration can come from. One of those avenues for me has always been great movies or television shows based on music or music artists.
Looking back over the years, I was surprised by just how many there were that re-invigorated my love for music and writing at just the time that I needed it. While some may be on the cheesy side, the music and message were strong enough to keep me interested. The first movie to inspire me was from the mid eighties called “Eddie And The Cruisers”. It took place in the early 1960s and followed a band led by Eddie Wilson. The song “On The Dark Side” has always resonated with me, and whenever I hear it, it always feels like the first time I’ve heard the song. The whole soundtrack was an amazingly crafted group of songs tailor made for the movie by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. The song “Tender Years” takes you to those moments in your young life that you’ll never let go of and make you feel like they just happened yesterday. That’s the sign of a great song. The message of this movie was that if you can’t do great music that means something, why do it at all. Eddie stuck by that sentiment in the film and never broke, truly inspiring.
The next movie that took me to another place was “Country Strong”. Not only was the acting amazing, the soundtrack was another homerun that challenged me to want to be better with my writing. The movie followed a couple of rising country stars that were involved with a country superstar taking a downturn because of heavy substance addictions. The story of the rise of the two young stars was enough for me as an artist watching the movie to be inspired, but it was more about the music. The songs felt so real and so easy to put yourself in the place of the writer. “Timing is Everything”, written by songwriter Natalie Hemby is an emotional trip down the road of life. Garret Hedlund and Leighton Meester do a great job pulling off these songs vocally, and make them that much better in the movie. This film really brings you in as a writer and pushes you to keep moving forward and to not give up on what you believe.
The third movie I’ll mention is one that just finished its run in the theatres this year. The remake of “A Star Is Born” was a brilliant movie that brought two unlikely actors together in a film that was blessed with some amazing songwriters. They crafted a truly inspiring group of songs that at some points made me shake my head with amazement at how good they were. There are a lot of songs I could mention but I’ll focus on my own favorites. “Shallow” and “Always Remember Us This Way” are two of the best songs that I’ve heard over the last few years. I have been heavily involved in the writing side of my career again, and the inspiration I got from those two songs alone has pushed me to new levels. Any artists that have not heard these songs and sit down with me to listen as a music fan are completely as blown away as I am. The latter, “Always Remember Us This Way” is performed wonderfully by Lady Gaga. She’s an amazing singer and songwriter who deserves all of the accolades she gets. From the first word to the last, the lyrics take you away, create another vivid reality and then gently place you back on the ground as it finishes. I love that feeling as a listener, and 30 years after writing my first song that I can be this floored by a song.
The heart of song writing is being able to move someone, change their life or make them contemplate a different reality. I highly recommend these movies for anyone, but for songwriters wanting to envelope themselves in hit songs, these will help you out of a writers block, or just make you believe in the power and importance of a great song.