Robyn Hitchcock on 'Up to Our Nex' from 'Rachel Getting Married'
There's no real score to the film, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, director Jonathan Demme has musicians on-screen in nearly every scene, noodling in the background. Their acoustic fiddling, picking up on strains of jazz and classical, becomes a personal, living chamber hall to pre-wedding tension played-out by the characters in the film.
It meant that some of the more pivotal scenes in the film, such as when Anne Hathaway's Kym purposely loses control of her car, would play out without a score. It helps lend a more natural feel to the proceedings, even when the film's grand wedding scene is blown out with massive drum processional and a performance from singer/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock.
"When something dramatic happens, normally there would be dramatic music, and you would know everything is getting out of control," Hitchcock tells Pop & Hiss. "But there isn't. The only music in there is provided by musicians. Everything is happening live, and it's an integral part of the film."
Hitchcock's original "Up to Our Nex" gets a showcase slot in "Rachel Getting Married." It's a buoyant little ditty, with a minor horn section and some dizzyingly jubilant guitar strumming. Electric guitar notes add a hint of spacey distortion, and its mix of absolution and stubbornness mirrors the tone of the film ("Forgive yourself, and maybe, you'll forgive me," Hitchcock sings).
The English musician and Demme have a long history, as the director shot the 1998 concert film "Storefront Hitchcock," and cast the artist in his 2004 remake of "The Manchurian Candidate." For "Rachel Getting Married," Hitchcock says the lyrics came to him after reading the script, and he then asked Demme if the director needed a song.
"I read the script and I wrote the song," Hitchcock says. "I didn't know if he had a song for the film. So I said, 'Do you want one?' He said, 'What have you got?' 'Up to Our Nex' is my take on the movie. It's a synopsis of what the movie is saying emotionally to me."
For Hitchcock, that meant composing a simple song that could hint at the deeper familial complications below the surface. "Families love each other, but there are always complications," he says. "I think it's just that feeling in there -- the characters are trying to love each other, and they're very pleased to see each other.
"They do love each other, but all these landslides occur between them," he continues. "There's so many fault-lines in their relationship. I could have written a geological song, I suppose, where they're sliding through the abyss of love. But 'Up to Our Nex' seemed to be an easier way of putting it."
The song is below, and thanks to The Playlist for uploading it.
The song was only rehearsed for the film two or three times, says Hitchcock, and though not the whole song is featured in the movie, he notes on-camera musicians played through the film's wedding scene as if it were a mini set. With its elaborate dance pieces, the wedding scene in "Rachel Getting Married" takes on a more of a fairy tale setting than the rest of the film.
"Jonathan wanted to relieve the tension," Hitchcock says. "The clouds had been building up so much. There is about 15 minutes of music -- Brazilian dances, a DJ. There is a musical interlude, but in a way, that's what would be happening. A lot of that was all one take, and it was as if it was really a wedding. The only way we knew it wasn't was because the wine was de-alcoholized."
Hithcock will release a new album on Yep Roc Records, "Goodnight Oslo," on Feb. 17.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Anne Hathaway and Rosemarie DeWitt in "Rachel Getting Married." Credit: Sony Pictures.