I’ve been on an accidental movie chanteuse binge lately. Within the span of a little more than a month, I’ve posted about Karen O’s Oscar-nominated (and unfortunately Oscar-denied) “The Moon Song,” dusted off my dad’s copy of Doris Day’s Listen to Day while working from home, listened twice in a row to Leslie Uggams’ What’s an Uggams? (damn good record, right there), and last but certainly not least, fallen head over heels for a familiar recording I’d never given much thought to — Audrey Hepburn’s version of “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
The song is featured in a commercial right now — I can’t remember for what, but I saw this commercial the other night and decided (I have to think “The Moon Song,” its titular and musical similarities with “Moon River” and/or the fact that I’d just seen Karen O perform her tune with Ezra Koenig at the Oscars had something to do with this decision) to pull up Spotify, plug in my nice set of headphones and really listen. Man. It felt like I’d jumped head-first into something bottomless. It was painful how beautiful Hepburn’s voice was in that moment. My eyes were closed, and I wasn’t near a mirror, but I’m pretty sure I winced the same way I do when I’m so overwhelmed by a guitarist’s dexterity that, in some strange way, it hurts to watch.
Sublime is what it was. Literally, I think. In science, sublimation occurs when matter skips a state, like when ice turns directly into water vapor. Music really can do this. How else could you explain wincing at something that’s gorgeous? Recoiling when watching a rare and exceptional performance? This particular act of sublimation manifested itself in a tangible way — I immediately dragged Hepburn’s version of “Moon River” over into my Spotify playlist of all-time favorites. There are just 11 songs on that list. There are hundreds on the playlist I use for songs I like, but “Moon River” sidestepped that lesser designation and went straight into the most exclusive area of my Spotify account. I didn’t even think twice about it at the time. It just kind of happened.
Listen below and watch the Breakfast at Tiffany’s scene in which it appears above.