I don’t know anything about this movie. I think I recall the title from somewhere, but no details about Garden State sparks the recollection synapses. Who the stars were, the director was, the plot, not even the year it was released. Just based on the tracklist, I assume it came out early 2000s, what with names like Coldplay, Zero 7, and Thievery Corporation included. The cover has me thinking it’s about a group of young adults doing something quirky in the hopes of giving their meaningless lives meaning. Or maybe they’re trying to take a stand against the man in a
I could pop over to Deity IMDB for a little knowledge-drop regarding Garden State, but where’s the fun in that? It’d only lead to another bog-standard soundtrack review: giving a plot synopsis, what I think of it, and hastily going over the actual music before self-imposed word count runs out. Nah, how about I instead give the CD a once-over, make an assumed guess of what Garden State’s about, then see if Deity IMDB proves how accurate I was. Yeah, let’s do that.
Coldplay’s Don’t Panic opens things up. I wouldn’t say this is Coldplay at their Coldplayiest, because that’s just a lazy, cliché way of describing a Coldplay song, no matter how apt. Two tracks from The Shins crop up early, who I do remember being rather big on the indie scene; wouldn’t surprise me if this movie helped. A whole lot of ultra-soft rock and Americana folk make their way in, including Nick Drake’s One Of These Things First, which I remember most for a commercial (I think?). Whoa, Colin Hay, the lead singer Men At Work, had a solo career too? I’ll be darned. Simon & Garfunkel are also here, absolutely, always a solid option for a ‘coming of age’ movie. All these sensitive acoustic musicians make Thievery Corporation’s Lebanese Blonde stand out like an ethnic-flavored thumb, and I’ve no idea how it fits within this movie’s context. Most of these songs have me picturing the cast laying about cuddling on couches, looking out rainy windows, strolling through saturated neighborhoods, and involving themselves in deep, philosophical questions about what it means to be a young adult in the new millennium. Works for Zero 7 and Frou Frou (re: Imogen Heap), but the Thievery Corps.?
Anyhow, let’s see what Garden State’s really about. *clickity-clickity-clack* Ah, hmm, it’s a Zach Braff vehicle (aka: that guy from Scrubs). Wow, passion project, more like. I wasn’t too far off in my plot assumptions either; also is a movie where the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope got its legs. No wonder the music felt chipper, yet also a tad mopey and insufferable. Natalie Portman’s in this, as is Ian Holm and… Method Man?? Wait, you got yourself a Wu-Tang member, and didn’t have any Wu joints in your score? Poor form, Zach.
Zero 7 - In The Waiting Line
Simon & Garfunkel - The Only Living Boy In New York
The Shins - Caring Is Creepy (but it didn't change my life)