It's a gift enough to encounter a really, really good movie. But a good soundtrack makes it even better. And few soundtracks are as enjoyable as new indie wunderkind Zach Braff's "Garden State." A mix of golden oldies and fresh indie-pop, this is a mellowly sweet collection -- even without the movie.
Braff uses some truly wonderful songs like Frou Frou's fragile "Let Go," Coldplay's quietly downbeat "Don't Panic," and Thievery Corporation's elegantly exotic "Lebanese Blonde." There is also singer/actress Bonnie Somerville's bittersweet "Winding Road," and country-rock newcomer Cary Brothers' dreamy "Blue Eyes."
The best of the soundtrack are the Shins, who get double exposure with the eerily sweet "New Slang" and resonating "Caring is Creepy," and Iron & Wine's lovely cover of "Such Great Heights" (originally by the Postal Service). But Braff also includes older stuff, like Simon & Garfunkel's aching "Only Living Boy in New York" and Nick Drake's surprisingly joyous, upbeat "One of These Things First."
Where Wes Anderson uses beloved oldies, Zach Braff seems to prefer some of the more unusual, eclectic rock and pop. Though it was hard to get some of the music rights on an indie-film budget, Braff won over several artists by showing them where their songs would go -- situated in scenes where they have plenty of impact. Braff doesn't just include a list of his favorite songs, but chooses appropriate music.
But even without the movie, the soundtrack is a good listen. Alt-country, gentle indie-pop, and mellow-ish rock share a quirky, poignant note. Iron & Wine's cover of "Such Great Heights" is the one questionable choice; while it's a good cover, it can't measure up to the Postal Service original (the original was used in the trailer). But taken by itself, it's still a lovely song.
The beautiful music of "Garden State's" soundtrack can serve as a poignant reminder of the movie, or can stand on its own as a good collection of rich music including Zero 7, the Shins, and Frou Frou. Solid collection accompanying a solid movie.