Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The bands that populate Brian Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim books, like all great fictional bands, are so well realized that you can hear them through their lyrics, through the way the sound is drawn coming out of their instruments, through the way the other characters react to the music. Sex Bob-Omb is a noisy garage rock band, Crash and the Boys are an even noisier, surlier band (their songs are only seconds long). Every band has its own personality, and the music is essential to the story.
For a film adaptation, translating the experience of "reading the band" into hearing it can be a tough trick to pull off. The worst reaction, I would imagine, would be for the fans to say "that doesn't sound like Sex Bob-Omb." Luckily, Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World sounds exactly like Scott Pilgrim, with the help of Beck and Broken Social Scene. The soundtrack is pretty exuberant (much like the movie--full review coming Friday), and the songs written specifically for the movie are the strongest parts. I particularly love Sex Bob-Omb's Garbage Truck.
If there's one criticism I have, it's that the soundtrack is missing some songs, like a few Legend of Zelda themes that are only in the movie (at one point, when Scott sees Ramona in the subspace highway inside his head, the Zelda "Great Fairy" music plays. There, that's the geekiest sentence you will ever see on this blog. At least until Friday). But the songs that are on here more than make up for what's not. This is one of those soundtracks that is much, much more than a collection of songs featured in the movie: it's a stand-alone album, like Karen O's soundtrack for Where the Wild Things Are, or one of Wes Anderson's.
The one song I really wish they had included (and this is true for both the movie and the soundtrack) is one of my favorite jokes in the first comic book, when Crash and the Boys introduce a song: "This song is called 'Last Song Kills Audience,' and it'll be our last song tonight." But as a whole, this album is so carefully put-together, and so much fun to listen to, that it's hard to dwell on any complaints.