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By Mariana Soria

Joker 1




Sorry about that.






What I meant to say is that the JOKER film soundtrack put a wide smile on my face. Just moments after smiling however, I felt my eyes almost shed a tear. Throughout the entirety of the two hour and two minute long film, I was taken on a musical journey; a journey in which I felt compelled to laugh, cry, and experience anger, all along with Joker. From the moment I heard Frank Sinatra’s track That’s Life play from the big screen, I felt a sense of disparity. In that moment I felt the frustration from Joker’s own life as an outcast, as someone who views life as one long tortuous cycle. The ending lyrics of the song, “I’m gonna roll myself up and die” reflect the film’s dark tone, as well as the Joker’s constant references to his desire for an end to all of his pain. Despite the song’s negative undertones, it does not fail to make you want to get up and dance. When I heard this song play, I could imagine myself in Joker’s situation, dancing slowly to this song as a way to ease any pain. That’s Life reminds us that we can always dance through the sadness, even if we do feel that life is hopeless. 


Despite the sadness felt through this film, we are reminded that we can also dance as a way of celebrating life’s happy little moments. The film features the tracks Rock and Roll Part II by Gary Glitter, Smile by Jimmy Durante, Sunshine Of Your Love by Cream, Let It All Burn by Love Ghost, White Room by Cream, It’s My Life by The Animals, and Summer in the City by The Lovin’ Spoonful, the perfect songs to throw your hands up in the air and make smooth side steps to, as you dance along. When I went back and listened to the soundtrack after having watched the film I gravitated towards these songs as I attempted to perform my best Joker dance impersonation. Who’s the real clown now? 


A true clown like the Joker, however, is not complete without outrageous madness fueled by extreme angst. The 2019 film’s original music outstandingly characterizes the angst that can eventually drive any individual mad. Hildur Guðnadóttir composed all of the film’s original tracks, namely, Bathroom Dance, Call Me Joker, Hoyt’s Office, and Following Sophie. This collection of music takes us away from the desire to dance due to either melancholic or jubilant emotions, and drives us towards the desire to express the anger that lies within all of us. Though these tracks can be considered slow paced, we can only imagine the Joker and maybe even ourselves experiencing anger as these tracks play in the background.


JOKER’s soundtrack is a reminder of the intense emotions felt by many, especially in a society that functions under strange and unfair power dynamics, exploitation of individuals, loneliness, and many other frustrating everyday occurrences felt in the real world. Maybe we’re all just clowns waiting to show our face to our own version of Gotham City.