(If you just want to read the interesting ways that these two things synced up, skip to where it says ‘Long story short‘.)
Most of you have probably heard about Dark Side of the Rainbow, the idea that The Wizard of Oz overlaps with The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. As cool as it is, it seems pretty unbelievable that the connections are in any way deliberate. They’re more likely the result of two things: our need to find relationships in the world around us, and our tendency to remember when our expectations are supported while forgetting the times they aren’t. (Blah and blah.) That being said, of course there are going to be some pairings that produce more overlaps than others just based on random chance. So not every movie/album pair is going to sync up as well as The Wizard of Oz and The Dark Side of the Moon, making that pairing special even if it wasn’t planned. The same can be said about other popular pairings like: Alice in Wonderland with The Wall, or 2001: A Space Odyssey with the song Echoes.
To me the fact that these pairings aren’t the product of intent doesn’t make them any less interesting, just like you don’t need to believe in a divine will to find bizarre coincidences amazing. This also means that you can pair up any random visual and audio to look for connections, without worrying about the plausbility of it being contrived. It’s a lot fun to just present a random piece of music, and a random video to your mind and let it go to work finding connections between the two.
I think that the connections are of two sorts: content and mood. Content is what I’ve been talking about up until now: lyrics/sounds from the audio coinciding with something going on visually. It’s almost a challenge to actively look for these connections, thinking about ways of interpreting words so that they reflect what you’re seeing. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it takes creativity. Although I wouldn’t agree with them, some people might use the fact that you can find these connections in a random pairing to take away from the interpretation of art in general. I would say that just because we can find them at random doesn’t mean that artists don’t put them there intentionally when they control all parts of the final product.
By mood I mean the way that the audio affects the feel of the visuals, and vice versa. Just like watching a music video might change how a song feels, or a soundtrack might change how a given moment in a movie feels. The only difference here is that the pairing is random and it’s entirely up to the viewer to fit the two together (both actively and passively), creating a new third experience, different than the audio or visuals by themselves. I find it very interesting to feel your mind making two things that were certainly not meant to go together fit with one another, creating one unified product out of two disparate things. (1)
Long story short I paired season five of The Simpsons with Kanye West’s fifth album ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ (2). I hit ‘play all’ on the first DVD of season five as I hit play on the album. I only went through the album once but in theory it would have been cool to go through the entire season with the album repeating. However despite what some people may think after reading this I don’t have that much free time on my hands. These are some of the cool content connections that I noticed between the audio of the album and the visuals of the episodes (which were on mute):
-The line “Don’t make me pull the toys out…” coincided with a shot of Lisa looking at a box of toys.
–“Penitentiary chances, the devil dances…” coincided with a shot of Springfield Penitentiary.
–“I thought I chose a field where they couldn’t sack me…” coincided with Wiggum getting fired from the Be Sharps.
–“But God said I need a different approach…” coincided with a shot of Wiggum wearing a costume and trying to trick them into taking him back.
-“You blowing up, that’s good, fantastic…” coincided with them discovering that Barney could sing (and later getting him to join the group). I’m hoping my friends won’t need this, but just in case…
-“No more chances if you blow this…” coincided with their (the Be Sharp’s) agent talking to them outside of Moe’s.
-“Well, that’s a pretty bad way to start the conversation…” coincided with the Sea Captain stopping his fight with the giant squid and starting to talk to it.
-“I got the power to make your life so exciting…” coincided with Homer giving his Dad a new car.
-“Want you to see all of the lights…” coincided with a shot of Hollywood, with two searchlights moving around.
–“Can’t see my daughter…” coincided with a scene of Homer being on tour, and Marge trying to fill his absence with this…
-A scream in ‘Monster’ coincided with this shot.
-“Do the rap and track, triple double no assist…” coincided with Matt Groening’s name in the credits. If you have to ask how that relates…
–“She came up to me and said this the number 2…” coincided with the second episode starting.
–“I smell a massacre…” coincided with this.
–“Praises due to the most high, Allah…” coincided with a shot of an angel that Ned had trimmed out of a hedge.
–“Fucking insane…” coincided with Sideshow Bob laughing manically, when you first learn that he’s the one sending Bart the bloody messages.
–“So if you had her too, it don’t affect me in the slightest…” coincided with a shot of Selma testifying and everyone behind her in the courtroom raising their hands.
–“The way you look should be a sin…” coincided with this.
-“We’ll have a big ass crib and a long yard…” coincided with a shot of a big ass crib and a long yard.
-Lastly, I’m not exaggerating when I say the credits of the third episode ended exactly when the album did. It’s also cool that the last song ends with applause.
1- If this is true it brings up the interesting question of whether or not two things can really “go together well” in terms of mood. We’ve all thought about a scene in a movie that was complemented perfectly by its score, but if any visual and audio can combine to create a third thing, how can any pairing be “more appropriate”? Is it just a pairing that better fits what the creator intended? Or fits in better with the rest of the project? Do they view one (audio or visual) as being the primary component and the other one being secondary, slightly colouring the primary one instead of creating a third and altogether new thing? Or maybe two things “go well together” when they create a third thing that isn’t fundamentally different than the two other things by themselves?
2 – They both have red covers! The third season and his third album both have purple covers! But sadly that’s where it ends.