Here’s Why There’s Just One Rock Song in ‘A Quiet Place’
Sound design is a huge part of what makes any movie work, but it's the type of thing that a lot of filmgoers tend not to notice most of the time — unless they're watching a movie like A Quiet Place, in which a single family fights to survive in the midst of an alien horde that has conquered Earth through hunting by sound.
It is, understandably, a singularly hushed horror film — but one rock classic still manages to make an appearance during a key scene.
That song is — spoiler alert! — Neil Young's "Harvest Moon." Fittingly, it's the title track from an album Young recorded to take a respite from the high-volume skronk and feedback noise he'd indulged throughout an early '90s run that included Ragged Glory and his Arc/Weld live set.
"I made Harvest Moon because I didn't want to hear any loud sounds. I still have a little bit of tinnitus, but fortunately now I'm not as sensitive to loud sounds as I was for a year after the mixing of Weld," Young told Mojo. "My hearing's not perfect but it's okay. I'm not sure what's going on, but the point is I can still hear well enough to get off on what I'm doing. There's still a lot of detail I can pick up. I'm a fanatic for hearing detail and that's not been lost, though I've got these other sounds I have to deal with too."
Whether that's information that A Quiet Place star, director and co-writer John Krasinksi was privy to is unclear. But as producer Andrew Form recently told Den of Geek, the scene in which "Harvest Moon" is heard — during a dance shared by Krasinski's character and his wife (Emily Blunt) as they listen to the song on earbuds — was filmed pretty much the way it was written, despite what licensing the song meant for such a low-budget outing.
“The amazing thing about that is ‘Harvest Moon’ is a very expensive Neil Young song, and this is a lower budget movie, which did not have a music budget for a song like that. But that song meant so much to John, and the first time I read the script it was in there. ... He would not stop until we got that song," Form told Den of Geek. "He's like, 'Who do I need to talk to?' And sure enough, it's in the movie."
As those who've seen the horror hit can attest, that scene serves an important emotional purpose in A Quiet Place — and aside from perhaps unintentionally tying in with Young's attempt to escape loud noise for awhile, it also underscores the album's deeper themes in general. As Young told Rolling Stone after Harvest Moon's release, although aliens were not involved, it's definitely a song cycle about survival.
"What this album is about is this feeling, this ability to survive and continue and grow and get higher than you were before," Young noted. "Not just maintain, not just feel well. Not just 'I'm still alive at 45.' You can be more alive."
On the other hand, maybe it really isn't that deep — as Mashable points out, Krasinski's characters do seem to have a thing for sharing earbuds.