Each day this month (assuming I don’t get busy or bored!), I’ll reflect on a tiny sliver of pop culture that I enjoyed or appreciated this year — scenes, shots, gestures, verses, sights, sounds, moments. Today: a showstopper from Sing Street that doesn’t stop the show, but deepens it.
Enjoyed on its own, “Drive It Like You Stole It” is a rollicking slice of 80s rock-tinged power pop, complete with an opening blast of synthesizers, a mid-song guitar breakdown and passionate vocals. It’s as catchy as actual songs from that time period, thanks in part to its credited writer Gary Clark, the frontman of 80s band Danny Wilson and a veteran producer.
Paired with visuals in writer-director John Carney’s exuberant musical Sing Street, the song takes on an even grander sweep. The scene pays loving homage to the finale of Back to the Future, in which Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) straps on a guitar and introduces a crowd of unsuspecting 50s kids to the raw power of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” In this movie, lead singer and recent public school convert Cosmo (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) has a simpler goal in mind than reversing the decline of the time-space continuum: He wants to impress a girl, Raphina (Lucy Boynton). The spectacle of Cosmo and his band of diminutive but prodigal teens seems like a no-brainer route to romance.