Pretty in Pink: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Music review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Pretty in Pink: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Music Poster Image
Memorable but dated '80s rock.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

The John Hughes film Pretty in Pink depicts high school kids navigating social and romantic challenges, trying to fit in, and learning who deserves their love and trust. Likewise, the new wave soundtrack is designed to give voice to teenage feelings about love and being an outsider. The positive message for kids is that they are not alone. However, a number of the love songs take a less than healthy view of relationships, equating love with need ("If You Leave"), and even pain ("Shellshock").

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Pretty in Pink film includes characters who teenagers can identify with and learn from by observing their mistakes and challenges. However, the songs dig deep into the intense emotionality of teen life without the context of the movie; teens may connect with the feelings expressed, but the attitudes about love equaling need and causing pain don't set the best standard.

Violence

Feelings of love are sometimes expressed in violent terms. Jesse Johnson's "Get to Know Ya" says "burn me, babe," and New Order's "Shellshock" says love is "never enough till your heart stops beating  /the deeper you get, the sweeter the pain."

Sex

New Order's line "the deeper you get, the sweeter the pain" can be interpreted sexually. In Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's "If You Leave," the lyric says "I touch you once, I touch you twice." Jesse Johnson's "Get to Know Ya" says "turn me on." The title track by Psychedelic Furs talks about a woman's lovers, and refers to the woman as "easy"; also, a woman in the song buttons someone else's shirt.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the soundtrack to the 1986 John Hughes film Pretty in Pink is a compilation of new wave songs, many of which were already popular when this (now) period piece was released. Some of the songs, such as the title track by Psychedelic Furs, were reworked to sound more polished for the film. Like the movie, these songs give voice to teen feelings of alienation and romantic love. Most of the tracks lean toward emotional angst, often equating love with need and suffering, which may ring true to teens but can be a bit unhealthy. There are a few tame sexual references and nothing else objectionable in this music.

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What's the story?

The soundtrack to the 1986 John Hughes film Pretty in Pink made use of several established new wave hits, including Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark's "If You Leave," Suzanne Vega's "Left of Center," The Smiths' "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want," Echo and the Bunnymen's "Bring on the Dancing Horses," and the title track by Psychedelic Furs. The Furs' 1981 hit was somewhat reworked for the film music, with a horn section adding polish to the original tough-sounding track. As the film depicts social and romantic challenges experienced by high schoolers, the music also expresses romantic longing and feelings of alienation that teens feel.

Is it any good?

The new wave music on the PRETTY IN PINK: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK music has contributed to this film becoming something of a period piece, but for those who enjoy '80s rock, there are some great quality songs on the album. Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark's "If You Leave" is a strong opening with those tell-tale but enjoyable '80s drums and synths. Other standouts include Echo & the Bunnymen's deeply poetic "Bring on the Dancing Horses" and the title track, a brightened up version of the Psychedelic Furs' powerful 1981 hit. You couldn't call these tracks "timeless," because they're definitely dated, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the songs on the soundtrack reflect the emotions of the characters in the film. Do the songs help you understand how the characters are feeling?

  • New Order's "Shellshock" includes the lines "It's never enough until your heart stops beating / The deeper you get, the sweeter the pain." What do you believe this means in the song?

  • The Psychedelic Furs' song "Pretty in Pink" was a hit in the early '80s, before this film came out. What's this song about? How does the song relate to the film?

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