Steve McQueen’s ‘Lovers Rock’ features an amazing classic reggae soundtrack (listen)
Steve McQueen's Small Axe, a series of five films about the West Indian experience in the UK in the '60s, '70s and '80s, is currently airing on Amazon/BBC. The second Small Axe film, Lovers Rock, just premiered over the weekend and is a wonderful slice of life story, set around 1980 at a "Blues Party" -- the DIY clubs set up in people's homes featuring a reggae sound systems with DJs and "toasting" overtop of the tracks. Martha (Amarah-Jae St Auby) and Franklin (Michael Ward) meet at the party and we get to see them fall for each other over the course of the night.
Named for the smooth, sweet reggae subgenre, Lovers Rock makes the music the real star, as the sound system DJs (only one turntable) keep things moving, playing tracks by Barry Biggs, Dennis Brown, Junior English, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Nicky Thomas, Augustus Pablo, The Revolutionaires, and more. (Reggae legend and producer Dennis Bovell has a cool cameo in the film as a partygoer.) A scene where the entire party sings along to Janet Kay's "Silly Games" as the DJ's drop out the music entirely, is pure magic of cinema.
Lovers Rock, which opened this year's New York Film Festival, features so many great tracks, and while there hasn't been an official soundtrack, there are Spotify playlists. You can listen to the soundtrack and watch a trailer for Lovers Rock below.