It’s not like Edgar Wright’s cinematic adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s excellent Scott Pilgrim books wasn’t really good on its own. But there was a moment for me in this film when it went from “Okay, this is fun” to “Holy shit, this is awesome,” and it happened because of a band, and because of a song.
Specifically, “Black Sheep” by the band Metric, performed by Brie Larson in her role as Envy Adams. Envy is Scott’s ex-girlfriend and lead singer of the wildly successful band The Clash at Demonhead, and the performance above marks her first appearance in the film.
She’s been this looming presence in the story up until that point, the phantom ex who broke Scott’s heart and threatens to do it again. When she finally returns, it seems appropriate that she makes an entrance. And oh, what an entrance!
This sequence just slays me. The build up to the tune is perfect — magical graphic equalizers bounce across the stage as the music builds, with Envy coming on, saying “Oh yeah.” At that same moment Scott is coming to the conclusion that in fact, Envy’s bassist Todd is one of Ramona’s Evil Exes.
“Oh yeah,” Envy says. “Oh, no.” Scott says.
And then, BAM the song begins, and rocks almost as hard as when Metric themselves perform it.
Here’s Metric’s version, which is featured on the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Soundtrack:
Nice. Of course, the original version stomps the cover, but while I prefer Emily Haines’ performance, I really do dig Larson’s take on the tune as Envy. She makes it a bit sassier and a bit less rocking, and in that way, more appropriate to Envy’s character.
And hey, while we’re here, check out this track from Metric’s new album, Synthetica. I’m a bit in lesbians with this album at the moment, particularly this track, “Speed the Collapse.”
Those “aahs” at at 1:28 kill me — higher and higher, reaching for the sky! Not enough melodic lines move upwards, especially not in songs about the collapse. Hooray for contrary motion and music and lyrics that work together in interesting ways!
I really enjoy the idea that if The Clash at Demonhead had to be a band, they’d be Metric. That seems about right, and makes me like both Envy Adams AND Emily Haines more than I already did.