Life As We Know It Soundtrack9.10.10 # Soundtrack # 69 Comments
The Life As We Know It soundtrack. The Black Keys seem to pop up on one out of three contemporary American comedy soundtracks (legal disclaimer: this figure was plucked haphazardly from the reviewer’s head and actual comparisons with reality may be tenuous). This could be for several reasons. First of all, The Black Keys are currently one of the best lo-fi rock and roll outfits in the world, and have been for several years. Guitarist/singer Dan Auerbach is Jack White without the column inches, and his solo album is incredible. Second of all, getting their tunes on OSTs is probably a nice little earner for Dan and Patrick, and I don’t begrudge them it one bit. They toil for our sins, making genuinely great music that is never going to make them rich. Third of all, they’re a very easy choice for manicured and moisturised California schmoozebags who spend a large portion of their life making vast amounts of money by churning out formulaic pap who want to show the world that they can rock. In the case of the Life As We Know It soundtrack, neatly cross out reasons one and two and draw a nice big line under number three.
Love love love doo dee ba doo bah, love is endless, schnooky woo wah, love blove glove, schnove love wuv, whoop dee doo woo, here’s an acoustic cover of Sweet Child O Mine. This is my compact one-sentence representation of the Life As We Know It soundtrack, and if anything mine is blessed with greater nuance and subtlety.
Now, you might say this is quite a disingenuous representation, leaving out as it does the better tracks from The Black Keys and Hotrats and Amy Winehouse and Ray LaMontagne and focusing on the more clichéd and semi-crappy content (Taken By Trees, Free Energy, Mozella, Josh Kelley), but since Amy Winehouse is the easiest choice the known galaxy for a mainstream rom com aimed at modern 30-somethings (modern 30-somethings, that is, who demand absolutely nothing challenging or innovative from their cinematic entertainment, being as they are perfectly satisfied with some pretty people and a few jokes) and Hotrats are pretty safe and Ray LaMontagne can slip into blandness sometimes and since putting someone who actually rocks like The Black Keys into a mainstream rom com soundtrack filled with cliched chaps and chapettes crooning about love is even more disingenuous than almost anything in the world (barring, oh I don’t know, Scientology) I’m okay with that.
Let us then put this into perspective. If your sister-in-law bought the Life As We Know It soundtrack album and starting talking to you about how much she loved it, you would nod politely, smile and agree. You would not feel obliged to rant at her about its clichés and it’s glaring disposability. Cultural items though, like albums and books and movies, are totemistic items. We use them to tell the world who we are. We put certain books in more prominent positions on our shelves. We might place certain CDs on face out, sharing their cover art with the room, so that the room takes on a part of its character, using it like a poster. Me, I’ve got Johnny Cash Live At San Quentin sitting on top of my vertical CD rack facing out, Johnny silhouetted by a blue stage light. On top of the other rack is the Ramones first album, with the four guys in their waist-slicing denims leaning against a brick wall in grainy black and white. On top of my bookshelf James Joyce and Chuck Palahniuk and Roddy Doyle are sharing their covers with the room. You wonder then just who it is who thinks: ‘yes, the Life As We Know It With Katherine Heigl And Josh Duhamel soundtrack – that’s the one for me’.
And there are some people. You know who you are. May I suggest buying Thickfreakness by The Black Keys, perhaps reading something that you can’t buy in a supermarket, and generally reconsidering how you interact with the popular arts. The Life As We Know It soundtrack: product differentiation at it’s most product differentiated.
Life As We Know It Soundtrack (Songs) – Track List
1. You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse
2. You And Me – Beggars
3. Your Touch – The Black Keys
4. Tidal Wave – Josh Kelley
5. Love Is Endless – Mozella
6. Something In Common – Free Energy
7. Pump It Up – Hotrats
8. Three More Days – Ray LaMontagne
9. For You Now – Bruno Merz
10. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye – Roberta Flack
11. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Taken By Trees
12. Suite from “Life As We Know It” – Blake Neely
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