Music And Memory

We learned a lot of things from Guardians of The Galaxy, like the legend of the great Earth Hero Kevin Bacon, and that We Are Groot, but one of the most important things we learned was that everyone should go adventuring to mix tapes that they treasured when they were 11, and that you can save the galaxy with easy listening and the running man.

I’m joking, but only a little. The incredible soundtrack is one of the biggest elements that’s cited in why people loved Guardians, specifically because most of the classic songs that James Gunn had on Peter Quill’s “Awesome Mix Part 1” (and the two we heard off of “Part 2”) all probably had the listeners own baggage attached to them, and they were recontextualized in this movie. I used to like “Come And Get Your Love,” but after watching Star-Lord dance and lip synch to it, it might be my favorite song of the moment.

Guardians wasn’t what got me thinking about those kinds of weird musical associations, though. Last week, at work, I was listening to the Legally Blonde Original Broadway Cast Recording, and for reasons not initially apparent to me, I started thinking about The Ender Quintet, specifically The Speaker For The Dead & Xenocide.

“Well, that’s an odd jump for my brain to take!” I thought to myself. “It’s not like these two things have anything in common.”

Except for timing. They have timing in common.

Last October, I read the entirety of The Ender Quintet and I was listening to Legally Blonde practically on loop. So as far as my insane brain is concerned, these two things are intrinsically linked. To the point, that while I was listening I started thinking about the similarities between Ender Wiggins and Elle Woods.

Now, if you’re a sane person that knows anything about these stories, you know that they don’t have anything in common except for typical protagonist things. They also share those characteristics with characters like Jesse Pinkman and Batman.

But in case you care, here are some things that my crazy brain has decided Ender and Elle have in common:

They both overcome the perceptions of them.

At the beginning of Speaker For The Dead, Ender is the most hated person in the universe. He is The Xenocide, who destroyed an entire beautiful society, which, people only know about because he wrote a book about them. (God, Sci-Fi plots sound so dumb when you try to articulate them, don’t they?) Then he founds a religion, and falls in love with a little girl and goes with his sentient computer and the last bug to go be with her, and she’s grown up into the worst person in the history of ever, and everyone hates him, but then they love him, because he saves the universe from the evil virus that his best friends deformed offspring created to survive. I think? The Shadow Of The Giant was probably the most confusing entry in this series.

Anyway, Elle also overcomes everyone’s expectation because everyone at Harvard thinks she’s an idiot, but she’s actually smart, and dedicated. This, by the way, is one of the best things about Legally Blonde. Elle is sort of shallow, but she’s a good person, who’s very smart and willing to work for what she wants. Being kind, smart and working hard gets her good things. That doesn’t happen enough in entertainment anymore. It also happens in Parks And Recreation. Anyway, by the end, Elle has convinced everyone that she is worthy, and she gets to marry Luke Wilson/Christian Borle (one of the best Film to Broadway casting decisions ever. Right behind Nathan Lane for Zero Mostel)

And that’s basically it. That’s what they have in common, and it’s sort of forced.

Because obviously it’s forced, because it’s just my brain linking these two things that I experienced in proximity to one another. It’s the same reason why Top Gun makes me think of Cape Cod, or the Beyoncé song “Irreplaceable” immediately conjures up homemade pizza in my junior year of college apartment. Music has that power and it’s pretty special that way.


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