Track of the Day: 'My Little Rooster' by Almeda Riddle

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Here’s a fun movie! And by “fun movie” I mean, “one of the most transformative cinematic experiences I’ve ever had.”

Gummo, the first film Harmony Korine directed (he had previously written Larry Clark’s Kids), is bleak and weird, so it only makes sense that its opening sequence would foreshadow that. The use of the folk singer Almeda Riddle’s “My Little Rooster” is as jarring as the visuals it accompanies: a starved-looking, shirtless boy wearing pink bunny ears smoking a cigarette on a dirty overpass.

There’s almost nothing sentimental about the film that follows, and yet and yet the homey strains of “My Little Rooster” hint that there’s a very real humanity underlying the twisted narrative to come. (Side note: I almost wrote about how a later Korine film, Spring Breakers, used Britney Spears’ “Everytime,” but I’ll let someone else take that up another time.)

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