I think I may be the only person in the indie blogosphere who has not only not seen Juno, but who has no interest in doing so. I’m sure it’s cute/quirky/funny. I’m also sure it’s well acted—the cast includes about a half-dozen of my favorite comedic actors, and stars Ellen Page whose turn in the film Hard Candy may be one of the greatest teen angst performances of all time. But for some reason, the concept of a teenager opting to be a surrogate for some out-of-touch upper-middle-class white folks just doesn’t interest me.
The soundtrack, however, has some great stuff on it: the great Buddy Holly, The Kinks (best pop band of the late ‘70s-early ‘80s), Belle and Sebastian, Mott The Hoople, Velvet Underground . . . The biggest problem with the soundtrack is the glue holding all these retro gems together: Kimya Dawson/The Moldy Peaches/Antsy Pants. This is essentially the same artist, but with three names and barely enough talent to support one name. Twee is not my favorite style to begin with, but Dawson’s work sounds like music for children with lyrics by Sylvia Plath. The results are
jarring. For example, Loose Lips is too cute for its own good–it’s letter to a suicidal friend, combined with an anti-Bush, anti-war chant, but it’s sung so sweetly and bright that the music undercuts the lyrics. It’s intended to be ironic, I suppose, but I’m not sure that it works right. The good thing is
that her songs are interesting in a morbid kind of way, and they’re separated on the soundtrack to give the listener a break. Not that The Velvet Underground is either upbeat or linear, but it’s cool to hear a “new” (unreleased for many years) VU tune (“I’m Sticking With You”), and it’s always great to The Kinks’ “Well Respected Man” and Mott The Hoople’s “All The Young Dudes.” These songs are timeless classics, and they overwhelm Dawson’s simpler, quieter, and, let’s face it, less ambitious work. Current artists are also represented: Belle & Sebastian make an appearance, as do Sonic Youth (covering The Carpenters’ “Superstar”) and Cat Power (with a remastered Sea Of Love).
Best thing about the album: A Buddy Holly song I’d never heard before! “Dearest,” like everything Buddy did, is short and deceptively similar. Holly had a depth most artists never reach, and any album that pays tribute to him is good in my book. Get it for the oldies and listen to the Kimya Dawson songs once.
Anyone Else But You-Michael Cera & Ellen Page
Not from the soundtrack:
All the Young Dudes-Alejandro Escovedo
All the Young Dudes-Smashing Pumpkins