From the Stereo to Your Screen: The Clash at Demonhead & Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

“Black Sheep,” by The Clash at Demonhead, from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Despite the fact that I’d rabidly followed the Bryan Lee O’Malley graphic novel series on which it was based, I didn’t get to see Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World film when it was in theaters. Firstly, I think it ran for maybe two weeks in my town, and it was dead-smack in the middle of back-to-school season.

 

Given that at the time, I was raising two kids, finances and time were at a premium, and they never became available simultaneously. So, I waited four months for it to come out on video, and then promptly watched it every day for a week. This coincided with me downloading the soundtrack and listening to it every day at work for a week, as well.

scott-pilgrim-soundtrack

It’s such a good soundtrack, right? The Sex Bob-omb songs are absolutely amazing, as well as sounding exactly like your friends’ band in college that played a lot of shows and had some good songs, but never really got past opening for other bands.

The songs Broken Social Scene did for Crash & The Boys are among my favorite things in a movie ever — “I’m So Sad, So Very, Very Sad” is supposed to be a joke, but it’s arguably the most perfect short song since S.O.D.’s “Ballad of Jimi Hendrix.” Plus, you’ve also got all the video game music, stuff by Beck, Frank Black, and Black Lips, as well as a couple of absolute classics in the form of T.Rex’s “Teenage Dream” and “Under My Thumb” by the Rolling Stones.

However, the song which is arguably the best comes from the band in the film who are the stars: The Clash at Demonhead. In both O’Malley’s books and Wright’s film, the Clash at Demonhead are the coolest band in the world (or at least Canada), and they have their fans in absolute thrall. Thus, what better to take from than another band which just drips with awesome?

scott-pilgrim-clash-at-demonhead-animated

Therefore, we get Brie Larson on stage singing Metric’s “Black Sheep” and strutting like she owns the entire theater. In the film, Larson actually sings the song — we get the declamatory intro, which is arguably the best part of the song, and a bit of the “oohs” — but the soundtrack features the original, as performed with singer Emily Haines. Haines’ stage attire is pretty much the same as that worn by Larson in the role of Envy Adams, and as stated previously, Larson walks that stage like she owns it.

scott-pilgrim-clash-at-demonhead-cap

The official music video for “Black Sheep” essentially takes the scene from the film and plays it out to the full length of the song, complete with Brie Larson vocals throughout — meaning this is an actual Clash at Demonhead video, not just a lip-synched performance to a Metric song. I mean, that’s the way it goes, right? There are all kinds of fake bands in movies, but rarely do you get a future Oscar-winning actress to record a cover of a song by a Canadian dance-rock band.

Plus, the video looks cool as hell: we get more of the cool back-and-forth cuts on the rhythm of the guitar riff — with the intense stares between Envy, Scott, Ramona, and Todd — from the scene in the movie, and it’s also intercut with clips from the film which do a lovely job of consolidating the storyline of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World into a three-and-a-half minute clip.

The “Black Sheep” video does an excellent job of selling the cool of the movie, as well as making those of us who love it want to go watch it again (seriously, I went to watch the Clash at Demonhead scenes for this piece, and ended up sitting in front of the TV for a solid half hour). Strangely, the video’s not available on either the DVD or the Blu-ray, but you can get it if you download the deluxe version of the soundtrack on iTunes.

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek writes about films scores in his monthly OST column for Starburst Magazine (http://www.starburstmagazine.com), and can be found talking about movie soundtracks via the From & Inspired By podcast (http:///www.fromandinspiredby.com). He was once a punk, but realized you can't be hardcore and use the word "adorable" as often as he does.
Nick Spacek

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