In addition to their advanced conversational and mauling skills, the assorted lowlifes and murderers of Quentin Tarantino’s filmography have excellent, passionate taste in music. I guess in a world where every rundown jukebox and small-town radio station was stocked with superb and forgotten records, even the sociopaths would have to be enlightened eventually.
Tarantino, more than any modern director, has a knack for excavating ’60s and ’70s tracks that will soon be lodged in the cultural zeitgeist, no matter how unbelievable their casual appearance in his narratives might be. The tunes chosen for his Grindhouse segment of the two-part Death Proof (the other, Planet Terror, is by Robert Rodriguez) are a testament to this gift. His best find this round is the pounding 1966 mod-rock single, “Hold Tight,” by the comprehensively named Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, which is so badass that its obscurity seems a product of unwieldy band name alone. Other delights swing from Smith’s definitive take on the Shirelles’ “Baby It’s You,” T-Rex’s classic “Jeepster,” and purloined film music by Ennio Morricone, Jack Nitzsche, and Pino Donaggio.
Although the expected clips of dialogue don’t have the replay value of a “Royale with Cheese,” and a few of the lesser soul numbers probably won’t become playlist staples on their own, the soundtrack’s persistent good-time tone makes it easy to leave on uninterrupted. By the time it closes with “Chick Habit,” April March’s dizzy English-language remake of France Gall’s “Laisse Tomber les Filles,” any slight spottiness is forgiven entirely. Though fans of the film might have a tough time divorcing the sonic cues from some particularly grizzly visual recall, a night with Quentin Tarantino’s record collection is once again tough to top.