I recently re-watched Wes Anderson's wonderful The Darjeeling Limited (which, for my money, is his second best film after The Royal Tenenbaums), and I was reminded how well Anderson uses three different songs from the 1970 Kinks album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround in the film. The sequences using these Kinks songs each feature slow motion movement of the characters, no dialogue or diegetic sound, and showcase the three most important moments in the film. Anderson has used pop songs like this in several of his films, and occasionally takes criticism for being too hipster in the doing, but the sequences almost always work for me.
Powerman is the best of the three Kinks songs he uses here, and it soundtracks the film's iconic moment where the three Whitman brothers literally (and figuratively) shed their father's baggage (seen at the 3:23 moment of the included video). That this song wasn't a single, doesn't appear on Kinks' Best Of compilations, and isn't likely to be heard on the radio is apropos. Somehow, the Kinks just never quite made it in America, where they're almost regarded as a three-hit-wonder (with You Really Got Me, Lola, and Come Dancing being the three "hits"). But in England, they were probably the fourth biggest band of the 60's, and virtually everything they released from 1964-1971 is outstanding. The conventional wisdom suggests they were "too English" to make it in America, and that's a shame. They recorded dozens and dozens of songs this good during their peak, and they're all worth checking out. Powerman is nothing more than an effective example of what they did all the time.
This was originally written and posted on Facebook on May 19, 2014
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