In a summer where mega-blockbusters have dominated the box office (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, G.I. Joe) many independent films have attempted to enter the market but almost all of them have fallen by the wayside as viewers flock to these bigger films. But of all the indies out there, only the sweetly unique rom-com (500) Days of Summer, starring the enjoyable Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, has managed to pull in a relatively large audience, mostly due to continued positive word of mouth. And there’s no doubt that this positive word of mouth is at least partly due to the superb soundtrack.
Amid subtly haunting piano notes, the opening track of the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack begins with the film’s narrator intoning the basic plot of the film: “This is a story of boy meets girl…” It may be an unusual way to begin a soundtrack, but for those who enjoyed the film it’s a perfect reminder of the film’s touching storyline. And though the album may be aimed at a similar hipster audience to 2007′s Juno soundtrack, the mixture of songs here is more reminiscent of the Margot at the Wedding or Stranger Than Fiction soundtracks, offering melancholy yet upbeat tunes that easily flow between rock and indie music. While the majority of the album (12 of the 16 tracks) are from this century (of the remaining four, three are from the 1980s and the timeless Simon & Garfunkel tune “Bookends” is from 1968), the soundtrack as a whole feels like a nostalgic rock compilation. With current indie favorites like Regina Spektor (who has two tracks on the album), Feist, and Meaghan Smith mixed in with a few tracks from The Smiths (including a cover of “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” from Deschanel’s band She & Him) listening to the album gives off the kind of vibe familiar to smaller music festivals.
There aren’t a lot of new tracks on this album – most have been included on previous albums (and who knows how many soundtracks Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams” has been included on a soundtrack – but for soundtrack lovers, this is definitely one for the collection. The songs tie together beautifully and are easily reminiscent of moments in the film.Â As the summer comes to a close, the music included on the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack serves as a perfect musical embodiment of the summer/fall transition. And of all the soundtracks of 2009, it’s likely to be the most respected.
Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Creating a hipper-than-though atmosphere in any space
Stay Away if: You can’t wait for Britney’s next album
To purchase the soundtrack for (500) Days of Summer, visit Amazon