Editor’s note: In this recurring column, music writer Chris Duncan suggests two albums to listen to this week. Have a suggestion? Send a tweet to @chr_dunc, and your pick might appear in next week’s Two Albums To Listen To.
Into the Wild – Eddie Vedder
Pearl Jam’s frontman Eddie Vedder, known for his growling and powerful vocals, decided to take a dive into solo work in 2007 with a movie soundtrack.
After an invitation from Sean Penn, director of “Into the Wild,” Vedder saw a preview of the film and was inspired to begin writing. After just three days of composing, Vedder had composed what became the backbone of the film’s soundtrack.
Vedder’s folk sound expresses a sense of wide-open possibilities and absolute freedom, two major themes in the film. His vocals intentionally stay sparse and soft to convey main character Christopher McCandless’ thoughts and emotions.
Some songs never really take off because they lack the necessary dynamics, but the tracks that manage to get off the ground soar to new heights, playing along with the film’s mood perfectly.
Tracks to listen to: “Hard Sun,” “Society,” “Guaranteed”
Help! – The Beatles
The Beatles’ movie “Help!” is full of goofy gags and laughs, but the movie’s real attraction is in its soundtrack.
Arguably the best movie soundtrack of all time, Help! represents the Beatles’ transition from a patrental-friendly sound to risque times of experimentation.
The guitar on “Ticket to Ride” features one of the most memorable guitar licks in history, but the key moments of the album come in “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” an experimental folk track from Paul McCartney, and his famous ballad “Yesterday.”
Without the success of this album, the Beatles may have never expanded their sound and become one of the most influential groups in popular music history.
Tracks to listen to: “Help!,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” “Yesterday
Check out the album here.