One of my favorite ’80s soundtracks is Pretty In Pink. The movie, too, has always meant a lot to me. Molly Ringwald in this, as Andie, was the most relatable teenage character to me, at the time. Growing up without a lot of money, going to a school with a lot of rich and privileged kids, working at a record store – it all played very close to home for me. My Duckie was gay though, and not in love with me, and I didn’t meet a Blane type until college. I have unpopular views on the film that have evolved since 1986, but the one thing that has never changed is my love (and obsession) with the soundtrack.
One of my favorite tracks off of it is Suzanne Vega’s “Left Of Center”. It isn’t one of the hits from the movie, nor one that immediately brings the movie to mind, but it has always been a stand out favorite of mine. It is also how I discovered Suzanne Vega’s music. I love looking back and remembering how I discovered favorite artists and bands of mine. I love tracing the connections and recalling the memories.
“Left Of Center” by Suzanne Vega
from the Movie Soundtrack Pretty In Pink (1986)
Song of the Day
“Left Of Center” always seemed to fit Andie so well, her character, as well as her circumstances. One could say that it also fits Iona, Duckie, and in some ways, even Blane.
Suzanne Vega went on to be a favorite singer-songwriter of mine as I went on from high school to community college. During my first semester of college, I had to take a math lab in correlation with my maths class. The lab was basically a room full of cubicles with tape players which you were meant to use to play the tutorial tapes they handed out. Tapes that went along with the class’ workbook. I would switch them out though, sneaking my own cassettes into the lab. A Suzzane Vega album was one of three I played the most. I vividly remember carrying the three around in my purse. The Pretty In Pink soundtrack was one of the three, as well.
For me, the song reminds me not only of the movie but of how I felt as an adolescent and a young adult. In high school, I felt like a weirdo and outcast most of the time. I was lucky to have great friends, but I never felt like I fit in. Some of that had to do with my home life and the traumas I’d experienced at a young age. Some of it had to do with how I looked, how I dressed, and what I was into (doing well in school, drama, music, books, movies). After leaving high school though, and getting further away from my childhood home and more out into the world I embraced the “Left Of Center” in me. I met other weirdos and started to create my own “chosen family”.
“Left Of Center” (live, 1986) by Suzanne Vega