Adventureland: 10 best songs from the movie

Music is a major component of Greg Mottola’s summer 2009 indie classic, Land of adventure, which takes place in a theme park in Pennsylvania. The characters wear Neil Young and Hüsker Dü t-shirts, mixtapes, listen to vinyl records and discuss the rumor of an Adventureland employee jam session with legendary New York punk icon Lou Reed .

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The soundtrack matches the curtains and is packed with legends from the ’70s and’ 80s, from Big Star to David Bowie to The Cure. These poignant love songs anchor the story in its frame: a melancholy summer before a big life change.


ten “Here She Comes Now” – The Velvet Underground

A photo of a bridge during the opening credits of Adventureland

“Here She Comes Now” is one of two Velvet Underground songs featured in the film, both of which play significant roles. This song is played after the cold opening as the opening credits roll and its lyrics foreshadow the events of the film, as a love interest is about to enter the life of protagonist James.

This song also sets the tone for the soundtrack to follow: it’s alternate and a bit rough around the edges, but still sweet and thoughtful, much like the movie’s main characters, James and Em, who can get in trouble. , but are, on the whole, thoughtful and gentle.

9 “I’m in love with a girl” – Big Star

James and Em get closer at Adventureland

This dreamy and serene acoustic guitar piece is aptly titled “I’m In Love With A Girl”. James puts the record on while drying off after his spontaneous swim and Em’s, and it’s quite possible he was sending her a not-so-subtle message through the lyrics.

As the song tiptoes in the background, James asks Em about his family. The public and James find out that his mother has recently passed away and that his father has already remarried. For Em, it’s possible that James is the distraction she needs from the upheavals in her personal life, and Alex Chilton’s sweet, simple words – “I didn’t know this could happen to me” – exemplify the vibrant feeling. of a new love.

8 “I don’t want to know if you are alone” – Hüsker Dü

Em and James are chatting in the car at Adventureland

This chilling alternative rock song was Hüsker Dü’s biggest commercial hit and paved the way for grunge and indie rock behemoths that followed in the ’90s, such as Nirvana and The Pixies. Grant Hart’s choppy voice comes out of the tape recorder in Em’s car as she drives James home after his first day of work in Adventureland.

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Em pulls up outside James’ house and they get to know each other a bit more, discussing their plans to go to New York while drinking rum from a bottle. The song’s lyrics, “I’m curious about exactly how you’re doing,” are a relevant introduction to this scene.

7 “Just like Heaven” – The Cure

Em and James laugh while driving the bumper cars in Adventureland

The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” perfectly captures Land of adventurethe nostalgic atmosphere of the end of summer. It marks the characters’ three-minute ride on the bumper cars, a fleeting moment shared between friends and young lovers who will soon separate.

Robert Smith’s voice sings “I’m in love with you,” ostensibly expressing James and Em’s feelings for each other. Still, the song’s poppy and well-being mood has a hint of melancholy, as if she was aware of the falling out that follows shortly thereafter.

6 “Dissatisfied” – The replacements

James looks out the window while taking the bus to Adventureland

The successors are contemporaries of Hüsker Dü of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis St. Paul. Their hoarse voices and shiny guitars mark James’ bus ride to New York at the end of the film after saying goodbye to family and friends.

Rain is falling outside as neon lights flash outside the window. Although the song sounds angry and uncomfortable, it’s an exciting scene, as James gazes in awe at his new home outside the bus.

5 “Do not dream that it is over” – Crowded house

“Don’t Dream It’s Over”, with its shimmering guitar riff, marks one of the sweetest moments in James and Em’s relationship. It performs on July 4th, as the Adventureland fireworks display is on. well advanced.

The couple sit on a bench and gaze up at the sky as the tender ballad swirls around them. The chorus “Hey now, hey now” continues as they go to kiss in Em’s car, in a major development in their relationship.

4 “Tops” – The Rolling Stones

Lisa P. meets James at Adventureland

This sexy tune from the British rock gods is used to introduce Lisa P., the much admired and alluring park worker who surprises everyone by coming back to work for the summer. Lisa is sort of the antagonist of the film: she shares a secret that James asked her to keep, which prompted Em to quit, and she’s also the person James has a date with when he thinks that Em isn’t serious about their relationship. .

In the scene where Lisa is featured, male park workers gawk at her as she appears in slow motion. The groovy song accompanies its swagger with its creamy guitars and suggestive Jagger lyrics, one of the many great uses of Rolling Stones songs in the movies.

3 “Pale Blue Eyes” – The Velvet Underground

James looks longingly at Em at Adventureland

This sweet and beautiful guitar ballad is played for the first time when Em comes home from a bar while James watches her longingly. They cross Pittsburgh’s iconic yellow bridge before pulling up and sharing their first kiss together. James includes the song on the mixtape he makes Em, which was originally released on the eponymous 1969 The Velvet Underground record.

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“Pale Blue Eyes” returns later in the movie when James puts it on a jukebox after his fight with Em. If a song in the movie were to be “their song,” it definitely would be this one, as it ends. the first phase of their relationship, before their reconciliation.

2 “Breaking the law” – Judas Priest

James and Joël in Adventureland

This upbeat explosion of classic rock energy plays out as James sprints through the theme park with a disgruntled customer chasing him. James had already punched the man after assaulting Joel and called him a “bitch.”

The sultry guitars and tight drums cheer James on as he manages to make his way to the office, at which point Bill Hader’s character scares the troublemaker with a baseball bat. It’s an important scene because it shows James’s willingness to stand up for Em, and the upbeat music matches the upbeat energy of the scene.

1 “Satellite of Love” – ​​Lou Reed

Ryan Reynolds at the Adventureland Fair

Lou Reed’s warm and eye-catching “Satellite of Love” is referenced several times throughout the film. Connell, the park maintenance man who cheats on his wife with Em, brags about jamming this song with Lou Reed, even though he mispronounces it like “Shed A Light On Love.”

He first plays when Connell drives James to his mother’s house, during which they share a joint, and Connell avoids James’ questions about his non-existent musical career. The song perfectly captures the feeling of a lazy, happy summer filled with love, and it mixes that feeling with a slight instability – appropriate, given the film’s more dramatic scenes.

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