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(500) Days of Summer, if you missed it, was the sleeper hit of 2009. Made for a modest budget of $7.5 million, it made over $60 million profit and won a hatful of indie and mainstream awards. I own the film on blu-ray and heartily recommend you pick it up if you have yet to see it. The plot essentially revolves around the 500 day relationship between Tom ( Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel), but is told in a non-linear style, so we jump between different periods in time as the film progresses, so happy day 20 can be followed by sad day 310, and so on. It is a clever way to look at the ups and downs of a relationship. A fine, quirky film.
Apart from the story and performances (all excellent), what also stood out for me was the soundtrack. For a (relatively) mainstream film it was a very eclectic mix of artists and styles, and after I saw the film a couple of times I took the plunge and bought it. The (500) Days of Summer Soundtrack was also released in 2009, with the CD cover made up of many (500?) images of Summer herself.
"A Story of Boy Meets Girl" - Mychael Danna and Rob Simonsen
"Us" - Regina Spektor
"There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" - The Smiths
"Bad Kids" - Black Lips
"Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" - The Smiths
"There Goes the Fear" - Doves
"You Make My Dreams" - Hall & Oates
"Sweet Disposition" - The Temper Trap
"Quelqu'un m'a dit" - Carla Bruni
"Mushaboom" - Feist
"Hero" - Regina Spektor
"Bookends" - Simon & Garfunkel
"Vagabond" - Wolfmother
"She's Got You High" - Mumm-Ra
"Here Comes Your Man" - Meaghan Smith
"Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" - She & Him
Plus, purchase via Itunes, and you get three bonus tracks:-
"Here Comes Your Man" - Joseph Gordon-Levitt
"Sugar Town" - Zooey Deschanel
"At Last" - Kevin Michael
What I love about this soundtrack is that it is the antithesis of the normal 'cash-in' movie soundtrack; you know, sling a few tracks together, pop the album out, make a quick buck. Not here. The album is actually a near essential accompaniment to the film, as every song charts a high or low in their relationship,or evokes the memory of a specific scene. A relationship mix-tape, if you will...Music is a hugely important element of this film, and such a good soundtrack is the result.
Genre-wise, the soundtrack has something for everyone, with a nice mix of famous artists and not so well known artists, leading to thematically a soundtrack of two halves
The first group of songs and artists are all ones you are probably familiar with. Simon & Garfunkel's 'Bookends' is a great track, 'You Make My Dreams' a perfect slice of 80's pop from Hall & Oates (and perfect for the scene it features in), and two great Smiths tracks, "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" and "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" , summing up the films indie credentials (The Smiths are actually a recurring theme in the film) and perfectly matching its tone. Even the harder rock of Wolfmother, with 'Vagabond', is probably known to quite a few. I draw the line at Carla Bruni....!
The second batch of songs are by lesser known artists, yet just as interesting, perhaps even more so as they are fresh to our ears. The Temper Trap, Black Lips, Doves, Mumm-Ra, and She & Him all chip in nice songs, and again not just background noise in the film but the songs are actually organic parts of the scenes they feature in. This is especially true of 'Sweet Disposition' by The Temper Trap, and 'There Goes the Fear' by Doves. 'Shes Got You High', by Mumm-Ra is suitably upbeat and brings a smile to your face, and Meaghan Smith's cover of the Pixies 'Here Comes Your Man' is nice enough. For me, the break out artist on here was Regina Spektor, who sings two songs ('Us', and 'Hero') that are beautifully sung in a very distinctive, folky way. I bought her albums on the basis of these songs.
This is a soundtrack that needs to be listened to as a whole,as it is not just the tracks content, but their placement that makes it a great soundtrack album. The songs 'flow', up-beat when the relationship is happy, slower and quieter when the relationship is faltering. Listening to them in isolation is fine, but you lose the 'vibe' of the relationship mix tape. I find myself revisiting this album quite often, it is especially a great 'late night and a glass of wine' listen.
"Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 A Story Of Boy Meets Girl
3 There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
4 Bad Kids
5 ""Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want""
6 There Goes The Fear
7 You Make My Dreams
8 Sweet Disposition
9 Quelqu'un M'a Dit
14 She's Got You High
15 Here Comes Your Man
16 ""Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want"""