This Essay is going to discuss the Soundtrack of the New Zealand film Two Little Boys (Carries, 2012) and how it relates to the popular culture theory of globalization and localization. The essay will focus on three key concepts and these are construction of reality, time, place and the world of the film. A brief history of each piece of music on the film’s soundtrack will be given, and examples used as to how the music reinforces ideas of time, place, reality and identity within the film.
The first piece of music to appear in Two Little Boys is a piece that was written by Alex Lathing in 1901 and was e-arranged in 1909 for the New Zealand National Brass Band contest which was held in Invariably. The brass band culture in Southland during this period was extremely prominent. For example: before the sass, there were about 45 separate bands in Southland. Throughout the years however the numbers dwindled, and in 2013 there are only two bands.
The use of this piece of music in Two Little Boys creates a sense of place right at the beginning of the film as it is named after the City of Invariably, and was written by an iconic local composer (Firth ; Glover, 1986, Para. 3). The camera angle used at the beginning of the film shows the Wackier place roundabout, and Inveigler’s main street coming into focus. This camera angle and the use of the “Invariably March” create a sense of place and a world for the film. The second piece of music to appear in the film is a piece written by an American named Theodore Morse in 1902 entitled “Two Little Boys”.
The film uses the version recorded by Australian singer Roll Harris in 1969. The song is used when Nigh and Eden are walking to find the person that Nigh had hit in his car. The film cuts to a flashback of the two characters as younger children growing up together ND always being there for each other. The lyrics in the song reflect this in its third verse: Did you think I would leave you crying When there’s room on my horse for two Climb up here, Jack and don’t be crying I can go Just as fast as two These lyrics reflect Nigh and Den’s friendship throughout the years, as they had always been there for each other since they met.
The use of “Two Little Boys” helps to create a sense of reality and world of the film by using the song for its lyrical content in relation to Nigh and Den’s friendship. Jihad’s song entitled “Home Again” (1998) is used throughout a collage scene hen Nigh and Eden have grown up and move in together and party all the time, and are seen to be getting involved in numerous intoxicated scuffles. The use of this song is interesting as it was released in 1998 which is after the date that the film is set in which is 1993.
This creates confusion over the time of the film, which according to Strain (2004) is an example of postmodernism. “Home Again” creates a sense of reality and place as not only is it written by a New Zealand band, but “Home Again” is also an unofficial drinking anthem, which is reflected in the film. The use of the song rates confusion also, as it is played in the background of Nigh and Den’s trip to Australia. The use to “Home Again” in this example could be an example to breaking the fourth wall of the film and reminding the viewer that Hams Blake who plays Eden in the film is an Australian actor. Pacemaker Ana” is a traditional Maori love song that was composed in 1914 and arranged by P. H. Ottoman in 1917. The origins of Pacemaker Ana are undefined, with no definite composer known. The lyrics are all in Maori with the lyrics translated into English. The lyrics are written in a letter style, ND are about a man who has written a letter to his lover for her hand in marriage. In relation to Two Little Boys the song plays when Gave first enters the film. The tone of the song reflects Nine’s fondness of Gave as a person and a friend, as well as signifying Gap’s own cultural heritage.
Because Pacemaker Ana is a traditional New Zealand love song, it creates a sense of place and identity for Two Little Boys. The song starts in the second verse of which the lyrics confess the persons love for the other and they would die for them (“Pacemaker Ana”, 2001 . , Para. 2). Oh Girl E Hint e Hook maim RA Aka Mate a ha I et arrow e Return to me I could die of love for you “Slice Of Heaven” (1986) is a song written by iconic New Zealand musician Dave Dobby in collaboration with New Zealand reggae band Herbs and is a very well known song. The song was originally written for the film Footnote Flats; a Dogs Tale (1986).
Slice of Heaven was voted number seven on the PARA list of best New Zealand songs of all time in 2001 and was released on the Natures Best (2001) album (“Slice of Heaven” ,2012, Para. 2). Slice of Heaven has featured on television advertisements and other compilation albums, for these reasons Slice of Heaven creates a sense of identity, time and place of the film. Slice of Heaven is played in the film when Eden, Gave and Nigh head off to the Catkins for the weekend to hang out in their old holiday home. The song references the Catkins as being a slice of heaven.
The next song to appear in Two Little Boys is “Just When I Needed you Most” (1979). The song was written by Dolly Pardon. Being an American song, it doesn’t create a sense of identity or place for the film, instead it reflects the mood that Eden is in when he is smashing up Nine’s car in frustration because they had a falling out. The lyrics are a melancholy love song, and they suit the scene of the film, he repetitive lyric “Just when I needed you most”, reflects this. These lyrics are relevant because at this point in the movie, Nigh has really become tired of Eden telling him what to do and ruining his life.
Nigh runs off leaving Eden alone with the car and Eden smashes it up out of frustration for losing his best friend. “Just When I Needed you Most” was used in Two Little Boys as mood music rather than music to identify time, place and identity of the film, therefore creating confusion over place. “Morning Mood” from Peer Gent (1867) was written as incidental music to a Norwegian play by the same name, by Edward Grief in 1867. Morning Mood” is a familiar piece to most people, however most will only know it out of the original context of the play that it was originally performed in.
Two Little Boys illustrates this rather aptly. The original setting of “Morning Mood” depicts a hazy sunrise in the Sahara Desert as opposed to a foggy morning by the beach with penguins all around as is depicted in Two Little (Peer Gent, n. D. Para. 3 ) The piece to music is very calming and has been used extensively in daybreak scenes in films. The music begins playing at dawn when Gave is sitting on a rock surrounded by penguins. The mood of the piece is calming and it resembles the beginning of a new day.
The piece reaches its climax when Eden walks out of the cave onto the beach into the morning sunlight where he figures out that he is going to kill Gave. The use of “Morning Mood” from Peer Gent creates the world of the film by telling the viewer that it is the beginning of a new day, and a fresh start is to be made and the problems from the night before should be forgotten. This music does not create a sense of identity in the film but it does reinforce the sense of place, by the beach surrounded by nature. The song “Counting the Beat” (1981) is a New Zealand song written by a New Zealand band called The Swingers.
The song is well known as a kiwi radiator song and this is reinforced in Two Little Boys, as it is played on cassette tape in Gave van when Eden is showing Gave around the Catkins on his last day ever. The first few seconds of this scene identify time and place within the world of the film by way of this song. “Not Given Lightly’ was a song that will have been on the radio during the time that the movie is set, and the use of a cassette tape as opposed to a Compact disc also reinforces the time of the film. Gave and Eden sing the lyrics and really enjoy the music.
The lyrics are somewhat ambiguous in their meaning however in the context of Two Little Boys, they could be referring to how Eden is feeling towards Gave at that time. The song creates a sense of identity as it is a New Zealand song, by a New Zealand artist. A sense of the world of the film is created by this song as the lyrics are appropriate to how Eden can only think about killing Gave at that time in the film. Shortly after Eden, Gave and Nigh arrive at Curio Bay to go for a swim and to see he dolphins, “Who Wants to Live Forever? ” (1986) written by Queen plays, the lyrics are simple with the main hook being “Who wants to live forever? . The song helps in creating a world of the film as prior to the song coming on, Eden is thinking about how to think about a person as being a robot or a beanbag if they are going to be killed. The song does not create a sense of identity or place as it is a British song and does not have anything to do with New Zealand culture. “Who Wants to live Forever” does create a sense of reality within the film however, as Eden sees that the reality is hat he has to kill Gave regardless of his growing friendship towards him and that nobody really wants to live forever anyway. Amazing Grace” is a traditional Christian Hymn composed by John Newton in 1779. Newton had been a slave trader prior to becoming a pastor and wrote the lyrics based on his own personal experience. The lyrics are Newton’s autobiography of sorts, reflecting on Newton’s experience of conversion from sin as an act of God’s grace (Amazing Grace! N. D. Para. L). There are 972 known recordings of Amazing Grace with recordings and arrangements by artists such as Willie Nelson (Amazing Grace, 2011), Victor Wooden (Beardless, 2006) and many more.
Two Little Boys uses a solo bagpipes arrangement recorded by the US Air Force Band in the lighthouse scene towards the end of the movie (Amazing Grace lyrics, 2011, Para. 8). The use of bagpipes reflects the Scottish heritage of Southland and reminds the viewer of the place of the film. “Amazing Grace” is played towards the end of the film in a scene where Eden and Nigh are realizing things and having an epiphany of sorts about life and the way that the world works This essay has discussed the New Zealand film Two Little Boys (2012) in relation to he popular culture concept of globalization and localization.