Whilst the quality of the material in this collection is consistently high, Jon Brion's intimate, melancholic score fights to compete for mind-space with the contributions from other artists rather than merging seamlessly as they did they on screen. This is undeniably effective in creating an evocative, emotionally chaotic listen - deliberately trying to recall the films cut and paste style - but one feels that if the two disparate elements had been given separate CDs to strut their stuff they would have been easier to listen to. That said, it's a fault that can be overlooked and it doesn't change the fact that what music does exist on the CD beautifully captures the various themes of the film.
After opening the album with Brion's "Theme", a warm, multifluous track, we have ELO's little-known gem "Mr. Blue Sky", from their mediocre 1977 album 'Out of the Blue'. Used on the trailers, it's a brilliant Beatle-esque summation of the films quirky charms, and Gondry's direction. The Polyphonic Spree make two entries on the album, though "Light & Day" is the more fitting song, the latter "It's the Sun" lacking the emotional complexity of the film's narrative.
The songs that work best are those that Brion had a hand in: Beck's cover of the Korgis' 1980 hit "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime" reworked especially for the film, and his own "Strings that Tie to You" a plaintive track that flirts with the idea of romance, nostalgia and memories.
Fans of Brion's work (an eclectic back catalogue including being member of one-album band The Grays and a brilliant solo career) will be disappointed that the score segments run to just over ten minutes of music, and though the smaller vignettes like "Sidewalk Flight" and "Showtime" are as imaginative and complex in construction as one would expect, the amount on offer is a rather poor showing for an official OST.
This OST will work best as a companion to the film once it's released on DVD - whilst watching Eternal Sunshine you are hardly aware of the various sonic accompaniments thanks to the engrossing visuals, but a re-listen is a soothing, romanitc, nostalgic experience, and one definitely recommended.