If this sounds incoherent, it’s only because I am listening to the Magnolia soundtrack and am growing too emotional to type. Sorry. But that only makes sense, considering today is the 49th birthday of cinematically minded musical genius Jon Brion. Although perhaps best known for his work in the PT Anderson-Fiona Apple-Aimee Mann world of collaboration, the whimsically dramatic singer/songwriter/composer/record producer has scored dozens of films—ranging from Adam McKay’s Step Brothers to his absolutely perfect work on Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—while producing for everyone from Kanye West to Rufus Wainwright.
Although his projects may vary in medium and style, there’s a very specific sensation that wanders through all of his work—like gentle fingers plucking away at your heart strings, unhinging tearducts, and allowing you to journey even farther into the work it’s a part of. He isn’t melodramatic or devious with senitment, but provides an atmospheric, emotional through-line to guide you amidst the tangled worlds that his work speaks to. But however you see it, here’s a tasting of some favorites from his wonderful body of music.
Magnolia, “Stanley/Frank/Linda’s Breakdown”
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, “Phone Call”
Punch-Drunk Love, “Punch-Drunk Melody”
Hard Eight, “Sydney Doesn’t Speak”
I ♥ Huckabees, “Monday”
Step Brothers, “Back and Forth”
Fionna Apple, “Fast as You Can”
Rufus Wainwright, “Damned Ladies”
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Full OST
The Jon Brion Show – Feat. Elliott Smith / Brad Mehldau
Magnolia, “I’ve Got a Surprise For You Today”