Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Rock Box" Track of the Day: The Skyflakes, "Talk About Today"

Harold Goes to the White Castle in the Sky is available wherever DVDs are sold via Paramount Home Entertainment.
Song: "Talk About Today" by the Bay Area-based Filipino American indie band The Skyflakes
Released: 2001
Why's it part of the "Rock Box" playlist?: It's featured in frequent Fast and the Furious sequel director Justin Lin's 2002 breakthrough film Better Luck Tomorrow, a landmark moment in Asian American indie cinema that I referenced in the following webcomic.

The Palace: So This Is Where the Asians Hang Out?, Chapter 5 by Jimmy J. Aquino
Which moment in Better Luck does "Talk About Today" appear?: It turns up during the sequence where Ben (Parry Shen), an overachieving teen athlete striving to get into both an Ivy League school and the pants of unattainable cheerleader Stephanie (Karin Anna Cheung), hangs out with Stephanie (the below photo is from this sequence) and teaches her how to shoot a basket, which she nails on her first try.

Ben gives Stephanie a few pointers about painting that he picked up from watching Bob Ross and lulls her to sleep.
The tune, which is about a snotty overachiever who can't let go of high school ("That's him/Still living in his glory days/Oh no that's him/Still talking about his SAT's"), was a perfect song choice for this film because "Talk About Today" foreshadows what Ben and the band of wannabe gangsters he's fallen in with will be like after college. I think they'll act as if high school never ended and continue to be the same amoral, power-hungry hustlers we saw on display in Better Luck, as hinted by laconic, Tim Riggins-ish Han's post-high school career choice of illegal street racing in Lin's Fast and the Furious installments (Sung Kang's Han character in those films--like the upcoming Fast Five--is the same character Kang played in Better Luck).

As someone who's seen The Skyflakes perform live and also carries around "Bad Thoughts" and "Things to Do" in the iPod, I was jazzed to hear one of their tracks turn up during Better Luck. I can't help liking a Fil-Am band that consists of "movie buffs with a sense of humor," according to an SFGate article that mentions the tracks they've written about movie characters (but the characters they chose aren't typical ones that are written about by most bands--"Cellar Door" is about Donnie Darko, while "Now What Do We Do?" references the Ellen Burstyn character in Requiem for a Dream). The band's Cardigans-esque penchant for dark lyrics underneath a deceptively sunny sound is enjoyable too.

Hear The Skyflakes choose to live in the now at my SwiftFM site.

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