Beck recorded an ornate cover of Colourbox’s “Tarantula,” a song later made famous by This Mortal Coil, for his contribution to a compilation of songs inspired by Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-nominated film Roma. The song is a slow build, as orchestral strings and piano provide a moody bed for Beck’s reverb-saturated vocals; eventually, percussion joins in for a big outro. Leslie Feist and Alex Lilly contributed backing vocals to the recording.
It’s starkly different from the synth-driven version Colourbox first released as the B side to their “Breakdown” single in 1982, owing much more of a debt to This Mortal Coil’s dream-pop rendition from 1986. Beck’s recording features an arrangement he made with his father, David Campbell, that he recorded with a 24-piece ensemble.
The track comes off the compilation, Music Inspired by the Film Roma, which also features songs by Patti Smith, DJ Shadow, El-P and many others. After he made the film, Cuarón and his music supervisor, Lynn Fanchtein, worked with their friend, Randall Poster, on contacting some of the filmmaker’s favorite artists to see if they felt like contributing to a Roma collection. They invited the artists to cover a song heard in the film or write a new song.
Billie Eilish previously released her moody track, “When I Was Older,” which features audio elements of Roma with Eilish’s dreamy lyrics about imagining herself as a sailor. Other contributors include Laura Marling, who covers Mary Hopkins’ “Those Were the Day,” Ibeyi, who wrote a song about the film’s protagonist Cleo and Cuarón’s daughter, Bu, who used a clip from Roma to fashion an electro-pop song. Patti Smith re-recorded her own song “Wing” for the compilation.
Earlier this week, Roma – Cuarón’s emotional meditation on a family living in a Mexico City suburb – was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film. Earlier this month, it won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language and Best Director.
Music Inspired by the Film Roma Track List
1. “Tepeji 21 (The Sounds of Roma)” – Ciudad de México
2. “Wing” – Patti Smith
3. “Tarantula” – Beck
4. ‘When I Was Older” – Billie Eilish
5. “Psycho” – Bu Cuarón
6. “On My Knees” – UNKLE featuring Michael Kiwanaku
7. “Con El Viento” – Jessie Reyez
8. “Marooned” – El-P & Wilder Zoby
9. “Cumbia del Borras” – Sonido Gallo Negro
10. “La Hora Exacta” – Quique Rangel
11. “Cleo Who Takes Care of You” – Ibeyi
12. “We Are Always Alone” – DJ Shadow
13. “Between These Hands” – Asaf Avidan
14. “Those Were the Days” – Laura Marling
15. “Roma” – T Bone Burnett