Every day people come to me wanting to know what CDs they should buy. Ordinarily I would tell them to leave me alone and would hurry on my way, but recently I have been giving them a better, more helpful answer – they should buy the Garden State soundtrack. Unfortunately, these people then demand that I give them reasons, so to kill several birds with one stone I thought that I would list a few here.

Each track was hand-picked by Zach Braff for the movie. As the writer, director and star of Garden State, he was the most suited for this task, and he pulled it off brilliantly.

The songs fit the mood of the film perfectly, and once you have seen it, hearing the soundtrack is like replaying the movie over and over again in your head.

Another good reason to get this album is The Shins. The Albuquerque-based group is disproportionately represented with two tracks instead of one, but we can’t really hold that against them. “Caring is Creepy” and “New Slang” both feature bittersweet lyrics and catchy melodies, making them standout tracks.

Sandwiched between The Shins songs is “In the Waiting Line” by Zero 7. This song creates an almost surreal atmosphere, not to mention that it is pleasing to listen to.

Nick Drake also makes it onto the album with his excellent “One of These Things First.” Also in the Good Songs With Long Names category we have “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” by Colin Hay, whose soothing voice and gentle guitar make writing out the title well worth it.

One of the best tracks on the album is the Iron and Wine cover of “Such Great Heights,” originally by The Postal Service. This version is beautiful in its simplicity, consisting solely of vocals and guitar, but it manages to be more poignant than the original.

Braff did not limit himself to current artists in compiling this soundtrack – “The Only Living Boy in New York” by Simon and Garfunkel is a classic song that doesn’t seem at all out of place in the company of newer, more alternative bands.

Frou Frou’s “Let Go” plays during the closing scene of the film, and it is the second to last song on the soundtrack. Imogen Heap’s voice lends a sense of earnestness and intensity that sticks in your head long after the song is over.

The soundtrack also includes great songs by Coldplay, Thievery Corporation, the Cary Brothers, Remy Zero and Bonnie Somerville.

The soundtrack is wonderful by itself, but you should see the movie to understand just how Braff used these songs to such tremendous effect.

Cohen can be reached at dcohen@campustimes.org.



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