01. Adam Levine - Lost Stars 4:27
02. Keira Knightley - Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home 3:39
03. Adam Levine - No One Else Like You 3:28
04. CeeLo Green - Horny 3:38
05. Keira Knightley - Lost Stars 4:00
06. Adam Levine - A Higher Place 3:12
07. Keira Knightley - Like A Fool 2:27
08. Cessyl Orchestra - Did It Ever Cross Your Mind 3:38
09. CeeLo Green - Women Of The World (Go On Strike!) 3:15
10. Keira Knightley - Coming Up Roses 3:14
11. Cessyl Orchestra - Into The Trance 4:05
12. Keira Knightley - A Step You Can't Take Back 3:25
13. Adam Levine - Lost Stars (Into The Night Mix) 3:38
14. Cessyl Orchestra - The Roof Is Broke (Demo Mix) 3:00
15. Keira Knightley & Hailee Steinfeld - Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home(Rooftop Mix) 3:27
16. Cessyl Orchestra - Intimidated By You 2:28
God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young
It's hunting season and the lambs are on the run
Searching for meaning, but are we all lost stars
Trying to light up the dark?
I thought I saw you out there crying, ooh
And I thought I heard you call my name,yeah
And I thought I heard you out there crying,oh
Just the same, oh, yeah
Yesterday I saw a lion kiss a deer
【No One Else Like You】
And looks like you
And feels like you
And smiles like you
I want someone just like you
Through and through
I'm forever blue
Because there's no one else like
Begin Again OST: A Discussion
One fateful evening in 2012, kismet pulledReina and Gauraa into a porch conversation about Bishop Allen. They realized,despite having grown up 8,657 miles apart, they had listened to the samerecords, subscribed to the same podcasts and shared the same pretensions.Separated by distance again, the two have decided to pull all the stopsnecessary to preserve their insular culture of staying in and overanalyzingmusic. You can read their first dinner discussion here. Tonight, Reina andGauraa cancel their plans to discuss one of the records that brought themtogether, the original soundtrack to the 2014 film Begin Again.
Reina: I was supposed to be babysittingtonight. But I lied and said I have things to do and people to see and placesto go, and they bought it because apparently I give off a pretty young and hipvibe. Chill, right? I mean I could have made some pocket change, but what’s afew bucks compared to a night in with some wine and my best friend? Be warned,I have lots of feelings and I may or may not have watched this movie twice lastweekend.
Gauraa: Similar situation over here, minusthe wine. Definitely no wine. But my wisdom tooth has erupted–“woe is me,” toborrow from “Lost Stars”–and I am on some pretty big boi painkillers right now,which, I assure you, will more than just compensate for my lack of winetonight. Hip and young indeed, I know. God. Look at us. We’re a shame to ourgeneration.
Well, I’m not sure if you’re in the moodfor a flashback right now but, you know, I’m like Miss Patty from Gilmore Girlswith my “it was the summer of ‘66 and I danced in a cage for Tito Puente”stories and, really, the painkillers aren’t helping, so, um: it was the summer of2014, and it had turned out that the only schedule I was capable of sticking towas my solo Sunday schedule. Every Sunday. Just me. And the movies. Small dietcoke, no popcorn. The whole nine. Admit one only. It was a tender day to beginwith, and I had a lot many things on my mind so I decided to walk to LincolnSquare…from Greenpoint. In my new H&M platform boots. Like I said, it was avery tender day (“tender,” obviously being a euphemism for feeling like WinonaRyder in Girl, Interrupted on her ride to Claymore, ricocheting into the darkpast as the ashes falling off her cigarette in a moment of stark sadness). Iwasn’t looking for much, except for an escape from real life for an hour or two(read: Mark Ruffalo). Hell, maybe a laugh at Adam Levine’s expense (Kiera makesfabulous jokes about how he holds the microphone like a penis, in case you’rewondering). Begin Again took me by surprise. It resonatedentirely–terrifyingly–with my New York psychosis–you know, when the city pushesyou to an edge and you begin to stare too long at subway tracks and look atbridges differently. It recognized the moment before you steady yourself justenough to Google “therapists New York blue cross” in a manic frenzy. It was amoment of utmost serendipity, to feel all that heaviness and find yourselfstaring at the screen, watching a film that begins with Keira Knightleysweetly, starkly singing, “So you find yourself at this subway/ With your worldin a bag by your side/ And all at once it seemed like a good way/You realizeit’s the end of the line.” And, fuck, it hit me: maybe it’s not just me. Maybeit’s New York. Maybe it’s Youth. Maybe it’s Life. “Are you ready for the lastact?/ To take a step/ You can’t take back?” That night I listened to “LostStars” and “A Step You Can’t Take Back” on my three hour long saunter backhome. I felt better.
Reina, you connected rather deeply withthis film and its soundtrack, too, didn’t you?
Reina: That I did. But my story’s a littledifferent I guess. Because I didn’t come across this movie and soundtrack bychance, like you did. Actually, I had never heard of this movie until you toldme about it. You told me about a really terrible week that you had. It was oneof those weeks, boys, work, the city, nothing seemed to be on your side, and totop it all off, I was busy wasting away my days as a waitress in a bougie UpperWest Side fine dining establishment. We were both busy and dealing with our owneveryday problems and both a little lonely, even when we were together in thecity that never sleeps. We hadn’t seen each other in a week or two, though wewere within the same 300 square miles or so. I think we met at our usualplace–off the Christopher St. stop in the West Village. We went wherever theywould let us in with our fake IDs and ended up in the park as it was gettingdark. You were telling me about how you went to see two movies by yourself inthe middle of the day. You told me about a scene in one of the movies where thetwo characters walked around New York City with headphone splitters. How theywent dancing to in a loud club, but they had “Luck Be A Lady” playing on theirheadphones. When I finally saw the movie, I immediately identified with thatscene, just like you did. I love what you said about how the movie reflected NewYork psychosis and I agree that the city can be relentless and unforgiving, butI also feel like this movie is about learning to come to terms with the factthat life isn’t always perfect, and learning to find happiness in the smallthings and the everyday things that you take for granted. Like how they see theworld a little differently when they’re walking the streets with theirheadphones in. I’m not really sure what exactly I’m trying to say, but I thinkthat’s what I’m reminded of every time I listen to these songs. Little memoriesof us meeting for drinks, or stopping for karaoke, or even just gettingmosquito bites sitting and talking until dark in Washington Square Park, that Ilearned not to take for granted. Life might not be perfect, but it’s filledwith perfect little moments like those that remind me why I want to keepliving. Maybe that didn’t make a lot of sense, but I promise it’s only going tomake even less sense as I try to dissect my feelings with each song.
Gauraa: Tears. I have literal tearsstreaming down my face, Reina. And we haven’t even gotten to the first songyet.
Profound Genius annotation: Adam uses veryclever wordplay in the second line. “On the lam” (like the animal lamb, or‘young sheep’) means to be “On the run.” The “hunters” are most likelyreferring to those who doubt his love. There may be even be an extra layer heresince Adam is talking to God, via the first line. A lamb is commonly thought ofas a sacrifice in this context.
Best lyric: “God, tell us the reason youthis wasted on the young/ It’s hunting season and the lambs are on the run/Searching for meaning, but are we all lost stars/ Trying to light up the dark?”
Gauraa: This is the most sincere song AdamLevine has possibly ever delivered. And I say this as someone who’s had a copyof Songs About Jane stashed in the glove compartment since 2005. Sure, onpaper, this song is the perfect cliche but it’s sung as if the hurt has beeninternalized. And that, I find, speaks personally to the listener. I don’t feelgreat about Levine’s persona but his falsetto here perfectly captures thequestioning vulnerability of the narrative. That bridge, that “I thought Iheard you out there crying/ I thought I heard you call my name” line? It killsme. It has nothing to do with the verses, almost, but it’s such a justifiablenarrative deviation. I was crying when I listened to this song on repeat onthat walk home in 2014 and, in the moment, it felt like he broke the fourthwall, talking to me.
Reina: And to think he wasn’t going to singit this way until Keira begged him to. But I agree, this song is so well suitedfor his voice. And somehow it’s also incredibly well suited for KeiraKnightley’s voice too. It’s the “Sisterhood of Traveling Pants” of songs. This might be a weird parallel, but doesn’t the scene inthe movie where he plays this stripped down version at his show remind you ofthat scene in “Music and Lyrics” when Hugh Grant and that spiritual blonde singthe stripped down version of “Way Back Into Love”instead of the the Buddha’ed up version?
Gauraa: Oh god, it most definitely is the“Sisterhood of Traveling Pants” of songs. And I don’t think that’s a weirdparallel at all. Wholeheartedly concur. (Sidebar: we must discuss Music andLyrics at some point, too.)
Reina: This scene kind of breaks my heartthough. He’s being so sincere, and she’s just standing in the shadows, proudthat he followed through with her request, but also refusing to join him onstage to sing the song. If I recall correctly, she leaves before he’s even donewith the song. It’s like he’s asking for forgiveness, and trying to redeemhimself by singing the song the way she intended it to be heard. And she isforgiving him by showing up and hearing the song, but instead of acknowledgingit, she just disappears from his life. It’s a little sad, isn’t it?
Gauraa: Sad, yes. But vindicating. She haddisappeared from his life long before his performance, I feel. This scene wasjust about closure. She wanted to see if her song had been given the treatmentit deserved, and it had. The scene that follows, the final scene, shows Keirariding into the night with a grin plastered to her face. She’s liberated.
“Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home”
Profound Genius annotation: The recurringtheme of “opposites” implies she had been causing him to do the opposite ofwhat he really felt, and now she’s telling him to be himself.
Best lyric: “If you’re taking me home/ Tellme if I’m back on my own/ Giving back a heart that’s on loan/ Just tell me ifyou wanna go home”
Gauraa: This one’s delivered so delicatelyby Keira Knightley: “So maybe/ I won’t let your memory haunt me/ I’ll be sleepwalking with the lonely.” Underneath the dainty, wispy texture of her voicelies great determination. Simple. Honest. No overselling here. And I think thatcorrelates very well with the character she plays in the film. You know she’llbe crushed by the end of the relationship but at the same time you just wanther to be crushed so she can grab a pint of Ben and Jerry’s on the way home andbe done with it.
Reina: I love the opening line to thissong. “Maybe/You don’t have to smile so sad/Laugh when you’re feeling bad/Ipromise I won’t.”
Gauraa: Such gusto. Love Kiera. Love hervoice. Love this song.
Reina: It’s a nice reminder that it’s ok tonot be put on all the time. And it’s better to be yourself and be honestinstead of trying to fake it until you make it, I guess.
Gauraa: Yes, this song is about dealingwith your emotions, as opposed to playing the stoic. As the old saw goes, “Getback into your pajamas, go to bed, watch Ishtar, wallow, and move on.”
case in point
“Lost Stars (Keira Knightley Version)”
Profound Genius annotation: N/A
Best lyric: N/A
Reina: Arguably the better version of thissong. I remember when I watched this movie with someone who wasn’t you, allthey could do was criticize Keira Knightley’s voice. But I actually think hervoice suits the mood of the songs she’s singing and fits in with the*aesthetic*. Don’t you think?
Gauraa: You know, I love Keira Knightley’svoice on this soundtrack. I know she’s not a singer singer but that lends anhonest lightness to the song, especially in contrast to Adam Levine’s signaturestudio-honed glossy falsetto. There’s definitely some autotune laid out on hervocals but I think that’s quite negligible. It’s a great song and I like bothversions. Keira’s rendition is raw and sweet and introverted but I think Adam’sdelivery has a certain depth to it, too–the kind that comes with a perfectstudio recording. That, I find, extrapolates the insularity of the narrativeand tailors it to suit a different mood altogether.
Reina: I love the scene where they’refilming this as her Christmas present to Adam. The sweet piano in thebackground of this one makes it much more mellow and soft than Adam’s version.
The fact that it was a present and hecontinues to sing the song at his shows and on his album… It all makes me alittle bit sad 🙁
Gauraa: Only Adam Levine would dump sweetBritish songstress Keira for major label Mimi.
“A Higher Place”
Profound Genius annotation: Adam is stillconfused and still he asks himself that if New York City is where your dreamsof success comes true then why nobody smiles as “be happy and enjoy life.”
Best lyric: “That’s the dream/ To sing theperfect girl the perfect song”
Reina: I’ve never understood how in themovie, she hears this song and by the time the chorus is over, she’s figure outthat her boyfriend is cheating on her? I just… feel like you have to connect alot of dots and jump to a lot of conclusions to make that logical jump. Right?
Gauraa: Right. But he was in L.A., which,obviously, is a city that does terrible things to people. Besides, he was therewithout her, and now he’s back with this super douchey song with super doucheylyrics (case in point: “You take me to another space in time/ You take me to ahigher place.”) Keira is a classy girls and she just knows she couldn’t be theinspiration behind this aspirant Top 40 over-produced trash pop. This is the imperfectsong for the imperfect girl. (read: NOT Keira Knightley.)
Reina: Obv, Keira Knightley in this film isthe epitome of perfection. Especially her wardrobe in this movie. And I agree,this song is douchey, but also incredibly catchy. It’s a feel-good song, whichis funny given that it did NOT make Keira feel very good. It’s really cliché,like “You take me to a higher place” is a very generic lyric, but then again,maybe that’s supposed to some kind of a comment on the state of music today?That the generic clichéd stuff is what sells?
Gauraa: I definitely think it comments onthe generic state of the music industry today, what with the abundance ofcopycat songs and stylistic arrangements that pander to the Hot 100. The filmspecifically comments upon that in one of the earlier scenes, when Mark Ruffalotosses generic sounding demos out his car window. In addition, I think AdamLevine compromising the integrity of Keira’s compositions and falling for majorlabel Mimi also reflects upon the state of the affairs today: the generic stuffsells, everyone’s an impostor. Everyone, except, of course, Randy Newman.
“Like A Fool”
Profound Genius annotation: She still loveshim now and possibly keep loving him in the future.
Best lyric: “And you have cursed me/ Whenthere’s no one left to blame/ And I have loved you just the same”
Gauraa: For all those of you who haven’tseen the film yet, this is the song Keira Knightley leaves Adam Levine on hisvoicemail, after he dumps her for a blonde girl called Mimi.
Reina: Jesus. This song. This scene. It’sall such #friendgoals. One day, this will be us.
Gauraa: Boyfriends, beware: you break ourhearts and you’ll be on the receiving end of a sweet little song that’ll sawyour heart into two halves.
Reina: “And you have broken every singlefucking rule/And I have loved you like a fool.” This line hits so hard. I knowthe feeling well. I love that it’s such a sweet and cute song that hides thesereally biting and spiteful lyrics. I’d truly feel like a fool if someone leftthis on my voicemail.
Gauraa: Me, too, Reina. Me. Too.
“Coming Up Roses”
Profound Genius annotation: The idiom“everything’s coming up roses” is used when a situation is really excellent andsuccessful and when life is prosperous. In the movie, Greta is referring to howgood her life is now that she’s not with Dave anymore and she’s out in theworld doing her own thing.
Best lyric: “Now we’re back on the street/Found a song that’s worth singing/ The bloody nose of defeat/ While yourvictory bell’s ringing”
Gauraa: God. This is one of the reasons Ilike Keira on this soundtrack so much. She has such a tender, soft voice butthen she spews fucking Shakespearean lyrics that are, like, daggers to yourheart.
Reina: Truly. Straight the heart, then shetwists the handle. “You were right all along/Something’s gotta change.” A sidenote though: when I watched this movie with a friend, she laughed out loud atthe part where they paid the kids to sing in the alleyway. She said, “there’sno way those children would sound like that.” But honestly, I think that anyonecan be a singer if they try? I mean, Keira’s trying, and songs like this fither voice perfectly. I mean, yes, would these children be able to harmonizeperfectly? Probably not, but I think they’d be able to at least sing whatthey’re told to sing. And at least in the context of the movie, it’s not meantto sound perfect. It’s more about embracing imperfections and reflecting thechaos and imperfection of New York City, isn’t it?
“A Step You Can’t Take Back”
Profound Genius annotation: While standingthere the thought comes over her that if she were to step in front of thesubway, it would be a good way to die.
Best lyric: “So you find yourself at thesubway/ With your world in a bag by your side/ And all at once it seemed like agood way/ You realize it’s the end of the line”
Gauraa: This is the song the film openswith. A song contemplating the end of your time. God. And this is where the two narratives conjoinand begin again from the end.
Reina: Whenever I hear this song, Iremember us blasting it from your bedroom when we lived together and singingalong at the top of our lungs while “cleaning” the house. I think what’s sogreat about this song is that it’s not what you would expect. When you think ofa song about taking a step that you can’t take back (maybe off of a subwayplatform), you don’t think of a sweet and major key melody like this. And ascliché as it is, I love that Mark Ruffalo finds himself and his purpose inlife, when he hears this song about contemplating purposely ending your life. And that whole scene where he imagines thearrangement is magical, even though it’s cheesy. I love it all. It’s the bestpossible way to open this movie.
Gauraa: Yes, yes, yes. I couldn’t have saidit any better myself.