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The Music
Even as he was writing ADVENTURELAND, Mottola was hearing the soundtrack to James' life, soaked through with pop songs, 80s rock and classic power ballads, in his head. He populated the screenplay, the set and, ultimately, the movie itself, with wall-to-wall tunes from the era, tunes from Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie, as well as iconic cuts from a mix of indie bands, ranging from The Replacements and Crowded House to Nick Lowe and The Cure; to hard rockers, including The New York Dolls, White Snake and Judas Priest; all the way to Top 40 hitmakers Falco and Wang Chung.

The song titles themselves speak to a time of life full of lust, energy, defiance and yearning: "Bastards of the Young,” "Looking for a Kiss,” "Don't Dream It's Over” "Satellite of Love,” to name just a few.

"I wanted songs that meant something personal to me,” says Mottola, "the kind of songs that helped me get through difficult times and sadness. But there are also songs used with a bit of loving parody especially Falco's ‘Rock Me Amadeus,' definitely a song I love but that was played all too often in the mid '80s.”

Producer Ted Hope brought in music supervisor Tracy McKnight -- whose past films include Lasse Halstrom's "The Hoax,” John Polson's "Tenderness” and the hit documentary "Murderball” -- to tackle the massive task of compiling and licensing dozens upon dozens of high-profile, vintage songs on an indie budget.

McKnight says she welcomed the challenge. "I love a task that seems gargantuan and impossible,” she says. "It ups your game and it pushes you. As soon as I met with Greg, I understood that he had a very strong vision of the music, that it really meant something to him, and I didn't want to let him down.”

She continues: "The idea was to fill the movie end-to-end with music that really pulls you into the world of Adventureland and into James' personal world. Greg wanted the music to be very authentic – to represent what you might hear at an amusement park but also what you would hear on the radio and what cool kids were listening to in the 80s. That meant reaching out to some of the biggest icons of the era – the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Lou Reed – and chasing after massive hits like ‘Rock Me Amadeus.'”

When it came to dealing with artists known for keeping tight control over their songs, McKnight used the only tools she had: a passion for the film and sheer perseverance. "I approached it with a ‘never say die' attitude,” she explains. "We knew were going after real icons with Bowie, Lou Reed and the Rolling Stones. It took us 7 months to clear the Rolling Stones song but we had to have it, because it was one of the first things that Greg had written right into the script. Everyone said it couldn't be done so it was a real fist-pumping day when we closed the deal. It was just so nice to see a piece of music come through that was at the heart of this project.”

As she approached the artists, she also encountered a lot of enthusiasm. "Thanks to ‘Superbad,' a lot of people were already really excited about Greg so that helped a lot,” McKnight says. "For example, while we were negotiating the Rush song, they told us: ‘we're not going to say no to one of our favorite directors.'”

Ultimately, some 40 different songs were woven together with a rock-based score by the beloved Hoboken indie trio Yo La Tengo, who since 1984, have released more than 20 albums, garnering both critical accolades and a devoted following.

Meanwhile, McKnight also worked with Greg Mottola to forge the sounds of Adventureland itself – finding herself in the unexpected position of scouring the planet for carousel music. "Greg had a very specific idea in mind of what would sound right – that certain tone that you remember from old amusement parks and it just


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