Pineapple ExpressPineapple Express is the pot-laden action/comedy event of the summer starring Seth Rogen and James Franco and directed by David Gordon Green, a director typically associated with smaller, dramatically intense films like Snow Angels and All the Real Girls. Luckily the script (penned by Rogen and writing buddy Evan Goldberg) works with Green’s style and the film mixes comedy, action and even a tiny bit of drama to create a near-perfect mixture of hilarity and enjoyably absurd action. And to back up the film, executive producers Rogen, Goldberg, Green, Shauna Robertson and the pervasive Judd Apatow have selected these 15 tracks.

While the music on the Pineapple Express soundtrack doesn’t seem to have a real throughline, it could be argued that neither does the film itself, so perhaps it’s a perfect fit. Interestingly, the album opens with the film’s theme song “Pineapple Express” by Huey Lewis and the News (a song that actually runs over the credits). And while the song might sound like one of the band’s hits from the ’80s, it’s actually an original written specifically for the film. Says director Green, “Our only input was, we told him we wanted it to sound like his ’80s work that we loved so much. And we wanted to have the plot in it. And we wanted him to say the title as many times as he could.” And Lewis has accomplished exactly that. The song is filled with alto sax and gives a rather vague (unless you’ve seen the film) recounting of the basic plot. It’s a great way to open the album, but it makes you wonder why the song is stuck over the credits instead of opening the film.

The rest of the album is an eclectic mix of old-school rap and R&B, including Cypress Hill’s “Dr. Greenthumb”, Public Enemy’s “Lost At Birth”, Bel Biv Devoe’s “Poison”, and most memorably, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s “Tha Crossroads.” It seems like the album might have benefited from a bit more of this type of music, at least by creating a general sense of musical style. But some of the unexpectedness would have been lost. And Brother Noland’s Hawaiian track “Coconut Girl” might have been nudged out. It’s the most surprising track on the album, at least to me. As someone who lived in Hawaii for several years and has a few Brother Noland albums, I still never thought I’d hear his voice on a soundtrack for a major Hollywood film. And it’s a very welcome addition.

Spiritualized’s floating near-epic track “I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You” is another enjoyably diverse addition as are the two score tracks by Graeme Revell. Revell is known for his action scores, including Sin City, The Chronicles of Riddick and Street Kings. His high-energy work here fits in nicely with the rest of the music and leaves you wondering whether a separate score album will be released.

Probably the biggest drawback to the soundtrack is that M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” the song that made the Pineapple Express trailer an instant hit, isn’t included in either the film or the soundtrack. It’s understandable that a trailer song might not make the film itself, but it’s definitely missed from the soundtrack.

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: A road trip mix
Stay Away if: You’re looking for M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes”
Buy this on Itunes: “Pineapple Express” by Huey Lewis and the News

To purchase the soundtrack for Pineapple Express, visit Amazon

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