Based on the 1999 novel of the same name, the story about an introvert, shy freshman found its way onto the big screen last year with the author, Stephen Chbosky, himself taking the helm of director. Comprising entirely of songs prior to 1993 (as the story is set in the early 90’s), it compiles songs mainly of the art rock and new wave genres to form a seamless set of songs perfectly defining the desired era of music. With music itself playing a major role in the movie, and for the development of the lead character ‘Charlie’, a majority of the movie has a musical background rather than a score, which does suit the youthful film perfectly (although the score is impressive itself).
First of all, this may not be the Trainspotting OST, but it is a very fine collection of songs befitting the movie, and the scenes to which they correspond to. From the important initial impression of Charlie via his listening to the sombre but stunning “Asleep” by The Smiths (which contains the somewhat foreshadowing lyrics, “There is another world, there is a better world, well, there must be”), to the playful but provocative “Come on Eileen” during that all-important dance (with you in that dress, my thoughts I confess, verge on dirty). And as for ‘the tunnel song’, the iconic “Heroes” by David Bowie is perfectly suited for its role of the ‘perfect’ song. Little needs to be said about this track, it really is one of the greatest of all time.
The lyrically perfect “Tugboat” by the influential Galaxie 500 employs its simple main hook (It’s a place I’d like to be, it’s a place I’d be happy) and verse to resonate as one of the most memorable tracks off the album. Following that is the brilliant “Temptation” by the legendary New Order, continuing the isolation theme, “Tonight I think I’ll walk alone, I’ll find my soul as I go home”. The new wave, atmospheric vibe of “Evensong” by the innocence mission and “Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops” by the Cocteau Twins allow for the (suitably) ethereal quality of the film to take hold, grabbing your attention with its musicianship.
To close, the transition from the monologue on “Charlie’s Last Letter” to “Heroes” is extraordinary, and is the ideal ending to the soundtrack for one of the most impressive indie films in recent years. It was rather poorly marketed as ‘another teen movie’ when it really is so much more. One of the most personal films you’ll likely see, the songs play a major role in expressing the movies themes. The symbolism is strong throughout, evident especially with Charlie’s gift of “Something” to Sam, which is well regarded as one of, if not the, greatest love song ever written. If you have yet to view this film, give it an attempt, I can’t imagine people leaving the experience disappointed. People who enjoy the film, will likely enjoy the music, so this could well be worth a listen if you enjoyed the film.
Verdict – 9.2