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Welcome to soundtracks! Our look at the latest offerings in the soundtrack world.

Garden State: Music From the Motion Picture
Label: Epic

Review By: S. Zekovitch
1. Don't Panic- Coldplay
2. Caring Is Creepy- The Shins
3. In The Waiting Line- Zero 7
4. New Slang- The Shins
5. I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You- Colin Hay
6. Blue Eyes- Cary Brothers
7. Fair- Remy Zero
8. One Of These Things First- Nick Drake
9. Lebanese Blonde- Thievery Corporation
10. The Only Living Boy In New York- Simon & Garfunkel
11. Such Great Heights- Iron and Wine
12. Let Go- Frou Frou
13. Winding Road- Bonnie Somerville
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

It isn’t very often that I find myself enjoying a soundtrack that much, especially when I have to scour through an album just to find a few decent tracks when there are more than a dozen songs on the whole darn thing. However, with a  few exceptions being made, the Garden State soundtrack demonstrates that even music scores that weren’t specifically written for the film can contingently create intensively emotive moments and delivers very pivotal elements to the film itself.  Zach Braff is an actor, first-time director, and screenwriter who possesses a rare talent, but it’s not just his film making abilities that strikes a good chord, it’s his keen sense in compiling heartfelt songs to match the tone of the movie, complimenting every scene and illustrating  his thoughts with sound. 

With a dazzling multitude of styles, ranging from classic pop, rock, to folk artists and ethereal ambience, there is no going wrong. The only minor thing that bothered me was my prejudice towards Coldplay. Ever since my dreadful purchase of their second album I  could no longer tolerate them. Simply because the thought of Coldplay as  the bastard son of Travis that mimicked Radiohead's dissonance and added the low-key approach of piano playing had forever chiseled itself in my head. Although, that’s besides the point because the song itself successfully gets the point across to its listeners in which the Chris Martin’s wispy voice produces a bittersweet euphonious sense of romanticism backed up with steadfast rhythms and occasionally upbeat tempos. 

After Coldplay’s song softly ended, indie rockers The Shins were up to bat. The Shins delivered some spectacular  tracks with “Caring is Creepy” and “New Slang”. Both tracks greatly differed  from one another, simply because on the second track James Mercer’s, (singer of The Shins) searing voice sounded induced with a massive quantity of helium. On another note, I had a hard time making out the words he sung towards to end of the song. The entire time I thought he was singing “au de soir” which translates to “at evening” in French turned out to be “All these squawking birds”. So much for my trained ear at work. Then, there was “New Slang”, a more gentle and campfire-friendly approach of their music . 

Shifting gears, Zero 7 and Thievery Corporation both low-keyed ambientronics adds to the collective, with very vibrant , sexy, and salacious sound sure to please anyone in the mood for love.  Just when you least expected it, in comes Colin Hay (former frontman of Men At Work) with “Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You,” to set a jazzy tone to the album. Often recognized as the “chic epitome of sultry southern sass,” his music is rather sweeter and more laid back than the rest of the featured tracks. However, he’s not the only one to represent the classic rock  genre on this one, other artists include the very compelling singer/songwriter Nick Drake and the legendary duo, Simon and Garfunkel. My personal take on these  tracks is that it’s great music for rainy days on the porch. In other words, songs that often lead you to pondering what you wouldn’t naturally think on a daily basis.

There were two songs in particular that were quite interesting: Iron & Wine’s haunting acoustic interpretation of the Postal Services’ originally synth-pop version of  “Such Great Height” and the Cary Brothers’ mellow, “Blue Eyes”. I personally preferred The Postal Service’s original version of the song, but Iron & Wine did take up the challenge in giving it a different twist and almost making it feel as if it were theirs to begin with. As for “Blue Eyes” the Cary Brothers did a magnificent job in setting an idyllic scenery,  as you were in candle lit room sitting by a window staring at the moon. Cliched as it seems, yet powerful in meaning.

Like any album it possesses both weak and strong points. In doing so, the two weak moments that I recognized were Remy Zero’s “Fair” and Bonnie Somerville’s “Winding Road”. Remy Zero comes across too generic. They in no way set themselves apart from every other rock band that we’ve heard over the past decade; nothing ground breaking or unique, just plain mediocre. Bonnie Somerville suffers a similar fate, her vocals sound like every other female contemporary artist out there. Nothing impressing made on her behalf and the lyrics were too bland for my taste. Again another ordinary track.

Last but not least, my favorite track of them all had to be the two Frous’ “Let Go”. Forever their song will be synonymous to the initial trailer. However, it was because of this song that drew my attention to the movie and soundtrack in the first place. Sometimes first impressions are everything and one of those times happens to be right now. Frou Frou is a musical collaboration between singer/ songwriter Imogen Heap and producer Guy Sigsworth. This powerful duo’s music is a guarantee to get your veins pulsating like crazy. What really captivated me most was Imogen’s atmospheric and strangely caressing voice, implemented with unworldly music.

The first thoughts that crossed my mind as I listened to Imogen’s every word was as if I were intentionally drowning myself in a sea of obscurity, with my eyes  fixated upon the azurish stratosphere and  cotton candy clouds were streaming peacefully. Moments after the connection between the sea and sky were being made, only  flickers of color flashed before my eyes. Then I realized my corpse softly settled to the bottom of the sea, with my scattered spirit witnessing the entire thing. It was like a beautiful dream, yet morbid in a sense. By no means was this a contemplation of suicide, just a personal interpretation of the music and its effect on my conscience, meditation-like I suppose.

Overall the music selection for this disc are on the mellower side but are still worth listening to. For the most part I was very impressed by the selection of featured tracks. Even with the two weak tracks  I still believe they played a huge role in the developing of the film. On a very rare occasion  the strong points of the album seems to have outweighed the weaker points. Without further ado this soundtrack was very astounding and demonstrated the cohesive connection between film and music, channeling emotional threads. If you are in search of something soothing to the ears and the senses this album is a must. Braff did a fabulous job on putting together the album and introducing some underrated artists out there that definitely deserved the exposure. 

More on the Soundtrack

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