But is it as good as 'Spinal Tap'? Beck and Nigel Godrich discuss the music of 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World'
Paul McCartney, U2, Radiohead, R.E.M., Air, Beck and Pavement are just a few of the artists that grace his resume. But the name that was perhaps far more intimidating? Sex Bob-Omb, a pretend group concocted for "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."
"It's always terrible," Godrich said of movies that contain an artificial group. Action-romance "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" has four of them.
Godrich was entrusted by director Edgar Wright to oversee what would ultimately become the backbone of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World": The film's original music. There were moments when Godrich couldn't help but wonder whether he was setting himself up for failure. On one visit to the Toronto set of the film, Godrich caught the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line" on a plane. It only made him feel more out of his element.
"I was just thinking about how terrible it looked," Godrich said. "It just didn’t look like they were playing. This can so easily be awful. My benchmark was 'This Is Spinal Tap.' That’s the best ever realized band in a film. They’re playing, they look like they’re playing and the songs work. That’s something very difficult to do. So is this as good as 'Spinal Tap'? That was my internal discussion."
In other words, does the rock in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" break the scale and go to 11?
One will certainly have a hard time claiming that Wright's adaption of Bryan Lee O'Malley's six-part comic series doesn't take its music seriously. Silver Lake's genre-hopper Beck and Canadian indie-pop act Broken Social Scene were among those tapped to contribute original music, and acclaimed electro-rock act Metric donated an unreleased cut.
Wright's attention to rock detail extends beyond its roster of artists. In this 99-cent-single-obsessed download era, the inhabitants of "Scott Pilgrim" geek out over albums. When Michael Cera's namesake character takes a girl on a date, they go to an old-fashioned, bricks-and-mortar record store to thumb through CD racks.
Capturing the look was comparatively easy. Cera's lovelorn Pilgrim struts his musical knowledge at Toronto's famed indie store Sonic Boom, one of the many real-life locales used in the film. But when the fictional band Sex Bob-Omb takes the stage at dingy dive bars -- Pilgrim is the act's bassist -- the actor knew that any sense of rock authenticity could be lost the moment he struck his instrument.
"It can be such a miss when bands are supposed to be good," said Cera, whose Pilgrim must battle the seven "evil" exes of the object of his obsession, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). "Whenever you see a band in a movie, the music is barely passable."
The songs of Sex Bob-Omb, six of which are on the ABKCO soundtrack, to be released today, anchor the film. The sloppy, fuzz-laden anthem "We Are Sex Bob-Omb" opens the movie, playing over an extended credit sequence. The sludgy, self-depricating "Garbage Truck" scores one the film's most pivotal early scenes, when Pilgrim is introduced to the first evil ex. Godrich turned to longtime friend and collaborator Beck to knock out the songs that would ultimately be branded Sex Bob-Omb.
"The problem you see in films about garage bands or fledgling bands is that you can tell how pro the music is," Beck said. "It doesn’t feel genuine. All I had to go on was the comic book. When I was writing the songs, I was looking at frames from the comic book."