My childhood bedroom looks pretty much the same now as it did 10 years ago, when I graduated high school and left home for a fulfilling life of owing tens of thousands of dollars to Sallie Mae. The walls are plastered with obsessions both existing (Simpsons, Carolina Panthers, Nirvana) and ancient (Jennifer Garner, Alias, Jennifer Garner in Alias — I really loved Alias). But there’s one poster that stands out. It’s the famous still of John Cusack holding a boombox high above his head from Cameron Crowe’s 1989 smart rom-com, Say Anything… I don’t remember buying it, and I don’t know why I own it (I don’t even like the movie THAT much), but I do know that of the zero girls I made out with in my bed, none of them were impressed by emotional vulnerability. “Oh wow,” they probably wouldn’t have said, “I LOVE sad bastards in trench coats.”
There’s something about that scene, though. Especially to a teenage boy. “You mean the damaged guy can win the girl of his dreams if he shows up outside her house and blasts just the right song???” It took Crowe months to settle on what that “right song” was, though, before eventually ending up with Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” which originally appeared on the Album of the Year-nominated So (I would have gone with Megadeth’s “The Skull Beneath the Skin,” but what do I know about romance?). It first appeared on his radar when listening to a mixtape he made for his wedding with Heart’s Nancy Wilson while driving to work.
Acoustic stuff, “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love, & Understanding,” and “In Your Eyes.” I hear Peter Gabriel singing about driving in his car, thinking of this girl, and I’m like, “Wait a minute!” I ran into the editing room, we played the song to the scene, and it was perfect. (Via)
“In Your Eyes” is in the finished product, but while filming the scene, Crowe played a very different song: Fishbone’s “Bonin’ In the Graveyard” because Cusack was in a “deep Fishbone phase.”
Look, we all did things with ska-punk we later regretted, but this is not one of those times. Someone recut Say Anything… and replace Gabriel with Fishbone, please. Another option was Billy Idol’s “To Be a Lover,” about which Crowe has said, “There was one day I liked that song, and that was the day I wrote the scene. By the next day, I knew it was a hideously wrong choice.”
Good call. Billy Idol belongs to The Wedding Singer, and The Wedding Singer only. Anyway, this Valentine’s Day, when you’re plotting something romantic to do for your boo, take out your iPhone, buy a boombox on Amazon, have a drone ship it to you so it gets there on time, log onto iTunes, download a song, burn it to a CD-R, drive to your partner’s house, press play, and before long, you’ll be making love, assuming you don’t get arrested for breaking noise codes. And what downloaded song should you play? That’s right: “Alive with the Glory of Live” by Say Anything, and it’s all thanks to Crowe choosing “In Your Eyes” (Sort of).