As lead David Duchovny – along with the rest of the cast – settles into a fourth season of the popular Showtime series Californication, Lakeshore Records and Showtime have teamed up to release a selection of soundtrack pieces from the highly viewed third season. And why not? The show has featured music from well-knowns like Rob Zombie and Widespread Panic, cult favorites like G.G. Allin and Jimmy LaFave, and up-and-comers like Black Joe Lewis. This collection of 13 tracks is every bit the soundtrack album that listeners would expect from a show with such eclectic tastes.

And these album producers aren’t messing around, opening strongly and assuredly with Rob Zombie’s expressive (I guess that’s a good word here) track “Pussy Liquor.” Followed immediately by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears on the jazzy track “Bitch, I Love You,” fans of the show will already be feeling the vibe of the show pouring out of their speakers. It’s unfortunate that the half-assed cover of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves Of London” by the otherwise stalwart Widespread Panic is such a disappointment, especially when compared with Danielle Duval’s eerily sensual “You’re The One That I Want” and Jimmy LaFave’s tender rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Not Dark Yet,” not to mention rocker G.G. Allin’s delicate and surprisingly touching version of Zevon’s “Carmelita.” Even the unsigned (and relatively unknown) Spider Problem steps it up with the catchy “Cha Cha (Be My New BF),” exuding a sense of sexy indifference reminiscent of the best tracks from the electroclash band Le Tigre. Both Lord and Blond Pilot contribute excellently gentle tracks shoring up the emotional aspects of the album, while Stuffy Shmitt manages more rough emotion in the intentionally haphazard “Can’t Find My Way Home.” Nicely wrapping the album up is Damhnait Doyle’s deceptively simple cover of the over-covered “I Want You To Want Me.” Somehow, the Canadian pop singer manages to trot this old horse out in a way that feels both fresh and invigorating.

Overall, this collection of songs has enough familiarity (almost half of it is covers) and freshness (see Spider Problem, Joe Lewis, and Damhnait Doyle) to reel in any music fan who takes a listen. Somehow managing to be both eclectic and cohesive at the same time, this is a soundtrack for those who feel that the soundtrack genre has lost its footing in a world of single-track downloads.

Zach’s Rating: A-
Perfect For: Fans of eclectic soundtrack collections
Stay Away if: The idea of a soundtrack is sooooo early 2000s

To purchase the soundtrack for the 3rd season of Californication, visit Amazon

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