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Various Artist

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

[ABKCO; 2010]

By ; August 18, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Although credited to ‘various artists’, the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World soundtrack largely seems to be in Beck’s professional hands. Beck (at times under the alter-ego SEX BOB-OMB; a video-game reference to the Mario explosives?) contributes to more tracks than anyone else here, giving a cohesive listening experience that many film soundtracks lack. His skills as a versatile vocalist come into their element on tracks such as “We are SEX BOB-OMB,” where Beck’s shouts are drowned out in a fuzz of garage guitars. Alternatively, near the climax of the soundtrack Beck delivers a fairly stripped-down acoustic performance under his own name in “Ramona (Acoustic),” for the female lead of the movie, uttering nothing but the girl’s name repeatedly over softly plucked strings. Luckily, the following track, “Ramona” is a beautiful little gem of a song that allows Beck to channel his energy into a Flaming Lips-esque ballad. Throughout, Beck is able to capture moments of tension and joy under his two differing personae.

With Beck weighting much of the soundtrack, it seems possible to suggest that others would get lost in the mix. After one spin of the soundtrack, however, any worry that Beck will dominate can be discarded: Broken Social Scene show up for some little ditties such as “I’m So Sad, So Very, Very Sad,” which provide an introduction to heavier indie-punk beasts like “We Hate You Please Die.” The song titles may appear childish; the execution is anything but. Complimenting each other very well are, bizarrely, T-Rex and The Bluetones; the former offering bombastic romantic gesture verging on over-the-top excessiveness and the latter throwing a mellow curveball in our direction that’s hard not to lap up. The ability that the soundtrack has to illustrate both the joyous momentum of a relationship as well as the relative lull that follows is testament to the musical producers on board.

Fortunately, delving into the past is only one facet of the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World soundtrack. Relative newcomers Blood Red Shoes get a chance to rock out and demand repeatedly that we “keep quiet,” whilst Metric enter the cyber-electronic world with “Black Sheep,” a digital anthem that blends perfectly with the video game tropes that the film demonstrates. What is most impressive about the soundtrack is how well it all blends together; seamlessly integrating made-for-film songs from the fictional band SEX BOB-OMB from the narrative (Pilgrim’s high school band) with supporting tracks by heavyweights such as T-Rex and The Rolling Stones. The somewhat diffuse nature of the music, spanning decades without concern, should not undermine the quality of the soundtrack: as a predominantly garage-rock album the soundtrack is a success in capturing the atmosphere of being in a teen-band, falling in love and doing whatever it takes to ultimately win the girl.


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