Beyond the Mixtape: The Needledrops of ‘Pulp Fiction’

Soundtracks are fun, but they’re better in the moment.
By  · Published on September 6th, 2017

Soundtracks are fun, but they’re better in the moment.

Some directors are known for their needledrops. That moment a pop song starts, perfectly synced to the action on screen. Edgar Wright putting “Don’t Stop Me Now” on his pub jukebox during his Shaun of the Dead zombie fight. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure using “Tequila” as an absurdly choreographed punchline. These are some of the most memorable moments in the films and some that allow filmmakers to show off a little with humor and style.

You can always buy the soundtracks of your favorite movies, but they lack the beautiful juxtaposition that makes the crafting of a movie soundtrack so special. The drop itself, that moment of audiovisual impact, often has more power than the entire song alone.

Interested in this line of reasoning, video essayist Adam Tinius, posting on his Entertain The Elk YouTube channel, put together a collection of every song in Pulp Fiction, right when it begins. The Quentin Tarantino film is packed with references and pop culture, so it’s only natural that pop music (dancing to it, killing to it, robbing to it) is a huge part of the film. Tinius creates a video that gives us context, insight into editing and music supervision, and most of all, the jams.

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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).