Monday, 9 April 2012

H is for High Fidelity

High Fidelity is the greatest film ever made. Fact. If you're into music you'll be able to quote this film word for word. If you're not into music, well, you're missing out.

Anyway, this film is about a music obsessive and his disasterous love life, told through a whole bunch of top five lists that encompass more than just his favourite tunes. The film has an awesome soundtrack, John Cusack (ummmm...) in the lead role and poses two very important questions about life:

Was I miserable because I listened to pop music?
Or did I listen to pop music because I was miserable?

During the opening scenes of the film, main character Rob Gordon, asks this question, before pointing out that kids are subjected to thousands upon thousands of songs about heartbreak and rejection. It's an interesting question - do I listen my go-to misery guy, Johnny Cash, because I'm unhappy or is his melancholy voice the source of that unhappiness?

I'm pretty confident that it's the latter, although my entire life has been entwined with music to such an extent that I wouldn't know either way. However, my theory is that some times in life we're drawn to certain sounds and lyrics, just like the way we're drawn to certain people. Often the people we're closest to are those we see something of ourselves in; our best friends are the people who think like us, share the same interests, the same moral compass, the same hatred of Tories... Music's just the same. At certain times it just feels right.

I think when it comes to misery and music, we use it as a crutch. Somehow it's easier for someone else to sing what we're feeling than it is to actually talk about it and occasionally in life there are moments when you feel a song understands you more than anyone else.

What really matters is what you like,
not what you are like.
Books, records, films - these things matter.
Call me shallow, it's the fucking truth.

He's talking about love here and I think I'd have to agree with him. Ok, so it might be a little shallow and yes, occasionally, what you are like does matter a little bit, but on the whole having stuff in common is important, afterall the couple who air guitars together, stays together. Or so I'm told.

I think life would be pretty dull without the chatter of records, books and films to decorate it. I mean people who aren't into that kind of stuff, what the hell do they talk about??

Now I'm not saying that the books, records and films have to be to the exact same taste, I'm just saying that there needs to be some cross overs and a little mutual respect where things don't quite match up, that kind of thing. Although when I burst through the front door shouting 'oh my god, you have to hear this band!', you'd better fucking like them.

Top fives

Music lovers love a good list and seeing this film for the first time, aged around 16, I found it pretty liberating to know that I wasn't the only one with this dirty little secret. These days I think there's something wrong with you if you don't list your life, but I'll only judge you slightly if you actually admit that.

For the proud listers amongst us, whether it's music or something else, I'd highly recommend books by Lisa Nola. Her 'listography' titles give you some fun topics to list - and argue - about. I'm currently working my way through Music Listography... What else?


  1. I have to say, I'm into music but I didn't really connect with this film, possibly because I couldn't really relate to Cusack's character. Though I *did* enjoy his growth to realize that, rather than telling his girl what to like, loving her meant making mixes for her of music she *already liked. :-)

    I do agree, though, that there's something very appealing (even sexy) in having a relationship with someone who loves the music I love...I guess because it's such an integral aspect of my psyche, it makes me believe I've met a soul-mate, as it were.

    Some Dark Romantic

  2. Still haven't found anyone who has my taste in such a huge variety of music.

  3. I haven't seen this but Nik has, he liked it. I think he has it in his stash of CDs somewhere so might have to dig it out x

  4. I liked this film, maybe not as much as I expected to. I had trouble cheering for Jon Cusack's character. He was so selfish and shallow. I think he said a a lot of half-truths, but his character didn't ge the whole picture. Of course, that was probably why he was so unhappy until the end.

    Still, it's got Jack Black and Tim Robbins, so you know it's going to be pretty good.