Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Ship without a rudder’s like a ship without a rudder’s like a ship...

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, inspired by the new film Take Me To The River, we’re picking songs that share a title with a movie.

I have no evidence whatsoever that William H. Macy’s directorial debut Rudderless—a Sundance hit that will see a theatrical release next month—has anything to do with The Lemonheads’ song “Rudderless,” from the band’s classic 1992 album It’s A Shame About Ray. But the movie is about music: A dad (Billy Crudup) whose college-age son dies finds a cache of the kid’s songs and turns them into a music career of his own, with help from son-replacement Anton Yelchin. (Singer-songwriter Ben Kweller is in the movie, too, and he was sorta discovered by The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando, so… evidence!) Anyway, the song comes from that peak period when Dando could do no wrong. It’s a downcast song about regret and aimlessness, whose key phrases include “hope in my past,” “tired of getting high,” and “how much more could I take?” Even the ridiculous moment when Dando and backup singer Juliana Hatfield trade the lines “all the way down to the lake” and “found the lake was wet” can’t derail its simple, heartfelt efficacy. Even if Macy (or his co-screenwriters) weren’t thinking of the song, they seem to have found a spiritual match.

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