Track of the Day: 'Sometimes' by My Bloody Valentine

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

I’ll admit to being one of those people who—despite a good tolerance for nonlinear stories, plotlessness, unlikable characters, and general melancholy—is very much not a fan of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. I enjoyed the performances of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, but the whole “alienated American in a foreign country” premise had absolutely no resonance for me.

That said, the soundtrack is undeniably wonderful. When the film deploys My Bloody Valentine’s “Sometimes” after Charlotte and Bob spend an exciting night out, the song both lifts and transforms the scene. The handheld camerawork, the mottled city lights, and the quick glimpses of nighttime crowds all take on an extra beauty, thanks to the track’s heavy distortion and wistful, otherworldly vocals.

I may not have loved Lost in Translation, but I’d rewatch this scene any day.

(Submit a song via hello@. Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)