The Killing Moon
April 7, 2015 8:15 PM   Subscribe

 
The Killing Moon is a great song, but Richard Kelly didn't replace it in the director's cut of Donnie Darko because he's a knobhead. He did it because originally Never Tear Us Apart had always been meant for that scene (I read an interview where I think he said most of the scenes had music picked out for them in the script, essentially, rather than after the fact), but they couldn't afford all the music they wanted until after the movie became a cult success.
posted by axiom at 8:24 PM on April 7, 2015


I mean, he's kind of a knobhead because he made the director's cut. But that's bigger than this one song.
posted by goatdog at 8:27 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Just seeing the name of the song in the FPP description made me start hearing it in my head. It was interesting to read their descriptions of the song process; I think of their music as part of the soundtrack to my early teens but I never knew anything about the group or even their names.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:28 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I’ve always said that The Killing Moon is the greatest song ever written.

When I saw Echo live, that's pretty much how he introduced the song, which was awesome.
posted by cell divide at 8:37 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nouvelle Vague's cover is quite good, if radically different.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:49 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Never Tear Us Apart is a cool jam and all, but Killing Moon made that bike ride look so much more mysterious and adventurous.
posted by SharkParty at 8:50 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've always loved this song, but I developed a new appreciation for it when my friends and I played it in Rock Band. It's just so well put together.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:51 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


If Echo are playing near you, go. They are rock solid, and chances are high Ian will (a) ramble semi-intelligibly about God knows what, (b) do his Jim Morrisson impression, or both.
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:52 PM on April 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


Seconding what SharkParty said. That intro and that song have always captured that feeling of being a teenager and getting on a bike and tearing off into the wilderness, the empty roads, not knowing what you're going to find. It's the sound of that blend of hope and fear and loneliness and freedom.
It's something I've discussed with my high school acquiantances, and they all agree that Donnie Darko is the most perfect encapsulation of the ambience and atmosphere of our high school days. One of my friends has a bio that tracks almost perfectly to Donnie's life experiences prior to the film (no giant rabbits or jetliner crashes, however).
posted by LeRoienJaune at 8:55 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Nouvelle Vague's cover is quite good, if radically different.

Well sure, Nouvelle Vague's cover of everything is quite good, if radically different. My current favorite.

Followed closely by their take on Love Will Tear Us Apart. It's a song that really lends itself to a sort of bossa nova-esque lounge style surprisingly well. They're not the only ones to do that one.
posted by Naberius at 9:00 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Lydia Loveless's cover is pretty great, too.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:02 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Perfect song.

Perfect to me because it was a song I had heard over and over from my big sister's bedroom but had forgotten until I was sitting in a theatre watching a strange new movie about a kid and a giant bunny, when the song came on I rolled with goosebumps and the movie (and the song) got under my skin forever.
posted by Cosine at 9:09 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


And to bring it all back around and close the loop, on their third album, Nouvelle Vague covered Echo and the Bunnymen's All My Colours, featuring vocals from McCulloch.
posted by Naberius at 9:22 PM on April 7, 2015




“Five Good Covers: The Killing Moon,” Dave Cowan, Cover Me, 24 August 2011

(The Nouvelle Vague and Pavement covers linked above are on this list, but the other three are interesting.)
posted by ob1quixote at 11:01 PM on April 7, 2015


great song, one of the best of the 1980s ... but it's pretty much exactly where I lost interest in the Bunnymen. Like everything they'd done before had been one long build, mysterious and wild. And suddenly, there it was, Killing Moon, the single, and the long version at that.

Pretty much perfect.

Ocean Rain (the album) wasn't bad at all, but it was less than Killing Moon. And past that, I doubt if I could even name three songs.

beware of perfection
posted by philip-random at 12:14 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Loved it in 80-something, but sounds pretty knobheadish now.

(Bad at nostalgia)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:13 AM on April 8, 2015


Loved it in 80-something, but sounds pretty knobheadish now.

I see it another great example of song writing inspired by growing up in the port of Liverpool - not afraid to look anywhere for influences from anywhere in the world and equally unafraid of talking them up - even to the extent of being seen as being a nobhead. Will Sergeant talks about getting the idea for the Russian inspired guitar part from a visit to Kazan - and one should pause to consider how unlikely a place that was to visit in the early 80s.

The BBC4 program "Synth Britannia" has another good example in an interview with OMD's Andy McCluskey:
"We were quite intellectual you know. Pompous; stuck up our own arses I guess you could say. We were going on Top of the Pops with Bonnie Langford and Elton John and Cliff Richard and we were playing a song in waltz time which started with 45 seconds of distortion, had no chorus and had a mellotron which sounded like bagpipes"
posted by rongorongo at 2:52 AM on April 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


You can't have the 1980s without this song. But not even their best song.
posted by blucevalo at 4:47 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Way back when the song came out, it was heavily overplayed by my roommate, a big Echo fan. I liked it, but was never really touched by it. Then, when I saw Donnie Darko, I froze in my chair when I heard it after years. Suddenly, it all.. made sense. Now when I hear the sounds of Killing Moon coming from my daughter's bedroom, I get all nostalgic and go looking for my walkman.
posted by ouke at 5:46 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nouvelle Vague's oeuvre should be buried, only to be unearthed by the 23rd century's Dr. Demento.
posted by ouke at 5:53 AM on April 8, 2015


"I’ve always said that The Killing Moon is the greatest song ever written."

So, McCullough's never heard of Phil Spector.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:07 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seconding schoolgirl report. I went into their Ocean Rain show in 2008 expecting maybe a nice little nostalgia trip at best but came out deeply moved. I had not appreciated how much those songs had insinuated themselves back in the day, nor how wonderful they were.
posted by whuppy at 6:20 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I used to know McCulloch a little bit before he was famous -- to the extent that I've been to his mum's house in Norris Green with Pete Wylie.

I always thought it was arse about face that McCulloch became as famous as he did when Wylie was the real star out of the pair of them.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:21 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, McCullough's never heard of Phil Spector.

Or "The Night Chicago Died"
posted by thelonius at 6:29 AM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Imma let you finish but "Summer in the City" is one of the best songs of all time
posted by SharkParty at 6:58 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, McCullough's never heard of Phil Spector.

Grandiose claims are kinda McCulloch's thing. He and Morrissey used to take turns outraging the British music press.

I had some of the Wah albums back in the day. They were good records, but as I recall, not anywhere near as interesting musically as Echo. Pete Wylie may have had the charisma, but I don't think he ever found the synthesis of talents that make up a really great band.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:17 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Grandiose claims are kinda McCulloch's thing.

yeah, I'm guessing it's a Liverpool thing because the brothers Gallagher suffer their own version of it -- whatever you call the opposite of low self esteem. Except I've always heard it a bit muffled because there's a tongue jammed firmly into the cheek. McCulloch's blather annoyed the hell out of me back in the day as it was usually accompanied by an unprovoked attack on U2, who were my faves at the time. Though I did come to find it endearing as U2 became increasingly BIG and annoying.

And speaking of U2, one of the funnier moments in 80s serious-pop had to be when both U2 and Echo released albums in February 1983* whose covers featured the band members wandering in snowbound frozen wastes.

Frigid times.

* The Bunny Boys were first by a few weeks
posted by philip-random at 8:54 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


'The Killing Moon' remains as one of the Bunnymen's finest moments - and Ocean Rain as an album has this broad sweep that's rarely been bettered by any of their contemporaries.

It's a bit of a shame though that you cannot attend a Bunnymen concert without 'Ocean Rain' usually being interrupted by attendees who can't keep their swearholes shut for 3 minutes - and by Mac having to stop the gig to take them to task.

As for Wylie being the star - he had the swagger and the attitude, but he lacked the tunes and also lacked (I would say) the mystery and unearthly qualities that his post-Crucial Three chums McCulloch and Copey had.
posted by panboi at 9:02 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe he should have asked the director of Donnie Darko to spare them the cutter.
posted by Chuffy at 9:41 AM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


And speaking of U2, one of the funnier moments in 80s serious-pop had to be when both U2 and Echo released albums in February 1983* whose covers featured the band members wandering in snowbound frozen wastes.

Anton Corbijn and his influence shaped so much of the 80s post-punk visuals.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:44 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well sure, Nouvelle Vague's cover of everything is quite good, if radically different. My current favorite

How in the world is your current favorite not Too Drunk to Fuck?
posted by kenko at 9:54 AM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


I probably would have enjoyed hearing this live much more than I did if McCulloch had been sober enough to remember all the lyrics. The rest of the band looked like they were contemplating murder. I mean, this was entertaining in its own way, but not quite the transcendent experience I may have been hoping for.
posted by webmutant at 10:00 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


You Should See the Other Guy: “"I’ve always said that The Killing Moon is the greatest song ever written."

So, McCullough's never heard of Phil Spector.”
thelonius: “Or "The Night Chicago Died"”
SharkParty: “Imma let you finish but "Summer in the City" is one of the best songs of all time”
C'mon, y'all. “More Than A Feeling” is the ultimate song.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:41 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing it's a Liverpool thing because the brothers Gallagher suffer their own version of it -- whatever you call the opposite of low self esteem.

I don't know what you call that, but I do know that calling a Mancunian a Scouser is the opposite of the way to avoid an angry nasal berating.
posted by howfar at 11:13 AM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


oh well, at least I didn't say they were from the South
posted by philip-random at 11:18 AM on April 8, 2015


How in the world is your current favorite not Too Drunk to Fuck ?

Well, that one's okay, but I find it lacking the cabaret playfulness of I Just Can't Get Enough, the Cole Porter-esque lyrical sophistication of Dance With Me, or the political commitment of Guns of Brixton.

Fuck you, Ian McCulloch! This is now a Nouvelle Vague thread!
posted by Naberius at 11:40 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, he's kind of a knobhead because he made the director's cut. But that's bigger than this one song.

Yeah exactly he never understood that he accidentally made a much better movie than he had apparently planned to.
posted by atoxyl at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


and finished it with Gil Norton mixing.

Well, that's kind of the real secret, then, isn't it?
posted by The World Famous at 12:32 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah exactly he never understood that he accidentally made a much better movie than he had apparently planned to.

Oh, so -- like George Lucas, then.
posted by webmutant at 2:45 PM on April 8, 2015


So, who picked this song for the movie, then? And am I correct in assuming that the name of the band including the word "Bunnymen" was like 80% of the reason they picked the song?
posted by The World Famous at 4:35 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Three songs Ian McCulloch wrote that are better than "The Killing Moon":

"Rescue" and "Never Stop"
"Books"
posted by escabeche at 7:38 PM on April 8, 2015


'Books' is a bone of contention between Copey and Mac over who actually wrote it.
posted by panboi at 3:01 AM on April 9, 2015


The Killing Moon is a great song, but Richard Kelly didn't replace it in the director's cut of Donnie Darko because he's a knobhead. He did it because originally Never Tear Us Apart had always been meant for that scene'

yeah, everything about Darko seemed to be divinely influenced. Sometimes you just have to give it up that the decisions made in a creative process have nothing to do with your original vision and let them take on a life of their own, isn't that the goal? Maybe so many movies come out shitty because the director has the money and can't let fate replace their will.
posted by any major dude at 4:23 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


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