Film & T.V. Music Supervisor Susan Jacobs, Opinions on Prince & Sam Phillips

This week, Jim and Greg talk with Emmy-winning music supervisor Susan Jacobs. Over her 30 year career, she's worked with directors like Spike Lee, David O. Russell and Robert Altman on placing music within movies. Most recently, she made the jump to television with HBO's Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies. Jim and Greg talk to Susan about the effects of great music on screen and how she convinced Led Zeppelin to let her expertly use the band's music in Sharp Objects. They'll also review new albums from Prince and singer-songwriter Sam Phillips.

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Prince Piano & a Microphone 1983

Prince's estate has released a new album, titled Piano & a Microphone 1983, which aptly describes the sparse quality to the recording. Greg notes that this is a demo, just Prince singing and playing the piano, recorded to a cassette tape in 1983. Greg says that the album is valuable because its a glimpse into Prince's artistic process, recorded on the cusp of his breakthrough album, Purple Rain. He adds that, for a Prince fan, this is“manna from heaven.”Both Jim and Greg agree that the album has a couple of revelatory songs, "Cold Coffee and Cocaine" and a cover of the classic spiritual "Mary Don't You Weep;" but ultimately, Jim wonders whether Prince would have wanted this recording released. Prince is no longer with us, but his extensive vault of unreleased material promises that we'll keep seeing new material from him for a long time.

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Sam Phillips World on Sticks

Sam Phillips's tenth album, World on Sticks, is her first in five years. It brings a more bombastic production style to her songwriting and what Jim calls her "Leonard Cohen-esque acid wit." Jim and Greg agree that the apocalyptic lyrics are strong on this album. Greg calls the album a“small gem”and a carefully considered addition to her artistic oeuvre. He praises the biting string parts of the Section Quartet and the orchestral drumming of Jay Bellerose. Jim, on the other hand, thinks the drums are over the top and says the cabaret-style arrangements are a turn-off to him. He enjoys the songs "How Much is Enough" and "Tears in the Ground" calling them pop gems, though.


Film & TV Music Supervisor Susan Jacobs


This week, our guest is Emmy-winning music supervisor Susan Jacobs. Her job as a music supervisor is to carefully choose tracks for films and television that elevate the visual art to a different level beyond what's written on the page or shown onscreen. Just a few of the movies she's worked on include: She's Gotta Have It, Kansas City, Basquiat, Capote, Little Miss Sunshine, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and I, Tonya. She's really been a go-to music guru for a wide range of directors including David O. Russell, Spike Lee, Robert Altman, M. Night Shyamalan and more. Jim and Greg talk to her about one of her most recent projects, doing the music for HBO's miniseries drama Sharp Objects and about how she got into the business.



“These Days (feat. Trine Dyrholm)”Gatto Ciliegia Contro Il Grande Freddo

The interview with Susan Jacobs has Jim thinking of songs that have been used memorably in films for his addition to the Desert Island Jukebox. He first remembers hearing "These Days," a song Jackson Browne wrote for Nico, in The Royal Tennenbaums. Since then it's been used in many films, but none as affecting as Nico, 1988, says Jim. This biopic follows the singer in her final years, haunted by her early legacy with The Velvet Underground and performing in punk dives to earn enough to support her drug habit. The version of "These Days (feat. Trine Dyrholm)" the film's star, performs with Gatto Ciliegia Contro Il Grande Freddo is a beautiful rendition that matches or even betters the original.

Featured Songs

  1. Joe Tex, A Woman's Hands, A Woman's Hands (single), Dial, 1967
  2. Prince, Purple Rain (Piano & a Microphone 1983 Version), Piano & a Microphone 1983, NPG / Warner Bros., 2018
  3. Prince, Mary Don't You Weep (Piano & a Microphone 1983 Version), Piano & a Microphone 1983, NPG / Warner Bros., 2018
  4. Prince, Cold Coffee & Cocaine (Piano & a Microphone 1983 Version), Piano & a Microphone 1983, NPG / Warner Bros., 2018
  5. Prince, International Lover (Piano & a Microphone 1983 Version), Piano & a Microphone 1983, NPG / Warner Bros., 2018
  6. Prince, A Case of You (Piano & a Microphone 1984 Version), Piano & a Microphone 1983, NPG / Warner Bros., 2018
  7. Sam Phillips, World on Sticks, World on Sticks, Littlebox, 2018
  8. Sam Phillips, How Much Is Enough, World on Sticks, Littlebox, 2018
  9. Sam Phillips, Candles and Stars, World on Sticks, Littlebox, 2018
  10. Sam Phillips, American Landfill Kings, World on Sticks, Littlebox, 2018
  11. Sam Phillips, Tears in the Ground, World on Sticks, Littlebox, 2018
  12. Bill Lee, Nola-Vocals, She's Gotta Have It - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Antilles, 1991
  13. Public Image Ltd, Public Image, Public Image: First Issue, Virgin, 1978
  14. Marvin Hamlisch, Theme From The Swimmer (Send for Me in Summer) / Big Splash, The Swimmer, CBS, 1968
  15. Leon Bridges, River, Coming Home, Columbia, 2015
  16. Led Zeppelin, Whole Lotta Love, Led Zeppelin II, Atlantic, 1969
  17. Led Zeppelin, What Is and What Should Never Be, Led Zeppelin II, Atlantic, 1969
  18. Led Zeppelin, Thank You, Led Zeppelin II, Atlantic, 1969
  19. Charles Bradley, Victim of Love (feat. Menahan Street Band), Victim of Love, Daptone, 2013
  20. Michael Kiwanuka, Cold Little Heart, Love & Hate, Interscope, 2016
  21. Sylvan Esso, Come Down, Sylvan Esso, Partisan, 2014
  22. Chicago, 25 or 6 to 4, Chicago, Columbia, 1970
  23. Norman Greenbaum, Spirit in the Sky, Spirit in the Sky, Reprise, 1969
  24. Dire Straits, Romeo and Juliet, Making Movies, Warner Bros., 1980
  25. Electric Light Orchestra, 10538 Overture, The Electric Light Orchestra, United Artists, 1971
  26. Simon & Garfunkel, Mrs. Robinson, The Graduate, Columbia Masterworks, 1968
  27. Harry Nilsson, Everybody's Talkin', Aerial Ballet, RCA Victor, 1968
  28. The Acid, Tumbling Lights, Liminal, Infectious Music, 2014
  29. Gatto Ciliegia Contro Il Grande Freddo, These Days (feat. Trine Dyrholm), Nico, 1988 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), 35mm, 2018
  30. St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Call Me, Half The City, Single Lock, 2014
  31. Sávila, Carnival, Sávila, self-released, 2018
  32. Greta Van Fleet, Lover, Leaver, Anthem of The Peaceful Army, Lava, 2018
  33. Fucked Up, Dose Your Dreams, Dose Your Dreams, Merge, 2018
  34. Chic, Good Times, Risqué, Atlantic, 1979