Nick Hornby was so taken with Badly Drawn Boy’s debut album, The Hour of the Bewilderbeast, that he asked the artist to provide the soundtrack to the film adaptation of his novel, About A Boy. What resulted is arguably an even better, more iconic album than Bewilderbeast, a work that strikingly stands on its own while also enhancing the film immeasurably. Something to Talk About is the most recognizable work from the soundtrack (playing over opening credits of the film while namechecking it), but A Minor Incident is the defining track from the film. While Badly Drawn Boy’s work is never exactly showy, this piece is as stripped down as he gets: just an acoustic guitar, a harmonica and a delivery so deliberately flat it’s like songwriter Damon Gough is singing to himself. There’s no flourish to be had here. The full focus is on the rueful promises that come after a relationship:
There’s nothing I could say to make you try to feel okay/ And nothing you could do to stop me feeling the way I do/ And if the chance should happen that I’ll ever see you again/ Just remember that I’ll always love you
Gough is resigned to the way things have ended, taking the good that’s come before with an honest optimism that’s quite rare. Favoring hope and growth over petulance and bitterness, it’s a gentle, loving response that perfectly captures the soul of the film.