Edgar Wright has always had cool tunes in his movies. Whether it is “I’m Free” by the Soup Dragons as the unofficial theme of his latest feature, The World’s End, or “Ghost Town” in 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, the songs are always eclectic but also an addition to the story of the movie. He’d never throw in Rick Ross for no discernible reason, unlike other directors.
Here are some songs that I humbly suggest for his next feature film, based on a study of his soundtracks* (available for a free listen here), as well as an added hypothetical application of how they might be used.
1. “Beautiful Morning” – The Rascals
This is the perfect beginning-of-movie song. Doesn’t matter the genre, it sets a peaceful tone no doubt, so an ironic use – perhaps the beginning of a post-apocalyptic comedy – might be best. Pegg and Frost are Grunk and Boody, two scavengers who discover an ancient computer and possibly the power to bring mankind back from the stone age.
2. “I Want to Break Free” – Queen
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are two over the hill ballet dancers who must choreograph a go-for-broke dance to this song. Beautiful, aching with passion, and you can never have enough Queen.
3. “Somebody’s Watching Me” – Rockwell
In Edgar Wright’s Hitchcockian tale of obsession and paranoia, Nick Frost plays a fan of Simon Pegg’s magic act that starts to follow him…a bit too closely.
4. “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have?)” – Buzzcocks
Diamond thief by night, used bookstore owner by day, Simon Pegg falls in love with Nick Frost’s Detective Dewey, the very detective investigating his robberies! Or it could be his pet monkey, or his mother or her monkey. Anyone he shouldn’t fall in love with, really.
5. “She Bangs the Drums” – The Stone Roses
Nick and Simon are in a band, The Never Bothers, and they play this song to lure their female drummer back to the band after Simon accidentally lights her hair on fire while trying to kill a gremlin that only he can see. Set in the 1990’s, a tribute to The Commitments with added gremlins.
6. “Watching the Detectives” – Elvis Costello
Nick Frost plays Nicholas Frost, a down-on-his-luck, recovering-alcoholic policeman-turned-private-detective with too many hyphens in all his descriptions. Simon Pegg slides in as Sylvester, his nerdy, inept ex-brother-in-law/partner with a crippling fear of cheese. He gets his last chance job when hired by the mysterious Lord Cornetto (Ex-Bond George Lazenby) to solve the mysterious death of his favorite niece, Eustice. Elvis Costello is the favorite musician of the hard-boiled (damn hyphens!) detective and he plays this on repeat.
7. “The Magnificent Seven” – The Clash
In a modern updating of The Magnificent Seven, Pegg, Frost and five other cool British comedians, like Stephen Merchant but not Ricky Gervais because he’s everywhere these days, protect their neighborhood from an encroaching golf course country club.
8. “Steppin’ Out” – Joe Jackson
Opening song of the aforementioned dance movie.
9. “Smooth Operator” – Sade
After selling Sade short in Shaun of the Dead, it only makes sense that Edgar Wright brings her up again, this time in a positive light. Superspy Branson Carbunkle (Simon Pegg) must go back into the field when Nick Frost blows up a Cornetto Factory and threatens her Majesty’s kingdom. This song plays when Pegg has to seduce a comely woman who may or may not be Frost in drag.
10. “You Got It” – Roy Orbison
Sung by Pegg as he declares his love for Detective Dewey in the diamond heist film.
11. “L’Estasi Dell’oro” – Ennio Morricone
Also featured in the modern day western epic.
12. “Santa Maria” – Gotan Project
Feuding chefs Armando (Frost) and Ricko (Pegg) duel to create the world’s best salsa in 1999 Madrid on the eve of the new millennium.
13. “The Missionary” – Brothers Martin
When Superspy Branson Carbunkle (Pegg) enters the Japanese dance club to hunt down an assassin, this is playing over the speakers.
14. “Drama Queen” – The Switches
Road trip movie! Pegg must stop Frost from marrying the worst girl ever – his own sister! Learn all about family and friendship.
15. “2 Legit 2 Quit” – MC Hammer
Any movie can use more classic hip hop.
16. “Dead Man’s Party” – Oingo Boingo
Opening of the Hitchcockian film.
17. “Boogie Fever” – The Sylvers
From the dance film, used in the flashback to how they met at a dance club.
18. “Take On Me” – a-ha
When Pegg tries to show Frost his friendship by singing their favorite song a cappella to disrupt his sister’s wedding.
19. “Long Cool Women (In a Black Dress)” – The Hollies
With his choice of The Doors in The World’s End, Wright showed he knows his classic rock. This classic song would go well for the femme fatale in the detective film.
20. “Starman” – David Bowie
Pegg and Frost travel through space on an imaginary spaceship in search of adventure. An animated movie, set in a mental institution. Fun, sad, but ultimately uplifting story about the power of love, imagination and friendship!
song from his underrated movie Attack the Block.
*With help from the soundtrack of the TV show Chuck which has a similar taste in tunes.