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SoundTRAX: "Love Actually"

The cast of "Love Actually" is wrapped up and divided by red ribbon.
Island Records
Universal Pictures

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

Love it or hate it, Love Actually turns 20 today!

Look, I know there are a lot of aspects of the movie that inspire debate— not the least of which, the so-called best friend in love with said friend's wife.

But at least we can all agree that Mia is garbage.

But I digress.

It's still funny and Christmas-y and British, and I am all about all of those things.

Plus, the cast is absurdly top-notch: Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Keira Knightley, and everyone's favorite: Bill Nighy as fading rock star, Billy Mack.

All sorts of love stories are intertwined, some involving loss, others touching on first love and infidelity, and some for pure comedy.

The music is a huge part of everyone's story.

I know Billy Mack's version of "Christmas Is All Around" is burned into your brain— and yes it is on the soundtrack. Will you ever hear The Pointer Sisters' "Jump" without seeing Hugh Grant's, um, interesting choreography? Nope. Me neither.

There are also memorable moments involving classics from Otis Redding and The Beach Boys, with other more contemporary tunes from Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, Eva Cassidy, Norah Jones, and Dido as well.

But the song that I think is used most effectively in the film is a heartbreaker, one that plays when Emma Thompson's character realizes her husband (Alan Rickman) is having an affair with the aforementioned Garbage Mia. It's beautiful and brutal at the same time.

So for today's SoundTRAX selection I'm going with that particular tune, one that was first recorded in 1969 and then updated 31 years later in a particularly moving way.

For the 20th anniversary of Love Actually, it's the 2000 recording of "Both Sides Now", by the great Joni Mitchell.

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.

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