Juno | Original Soundtrack Recording (Rhino)

cd_juno.jpgReally, the Juno soundtrack might as well be a best-of Kimya Dawson record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first thing I heard about the movie Juno was that Jason Bateman and Michael Cera were both going to be in it (big news to a devoted Arrested Development fan). The second thing I heard was that on the soundtrack there were both a bunch of Kimya Dawson songs and her various bands’ songs, and that Cera and Ellen Page (whom I also love) did a cover of The Moldy Peaches’ "Anyone Else But You." "Anyone Else But You" is maybe the quintessential Pete mixtape song; I first heard it on ex-PLAYBACK:stl writer Rob Levy’s show on 88.1, Juxtaposition, back in 2001, and bought the Peaches’ self-titled debut immediately after and started plunking it on pretty much every mixtape I’ve made since (I have one I made myself from August 2002 that it is on, and I know I was using it before that; the most recent time I remember using it was early 2007). It’s one of the best hidden gems of the past decade.

Of course, Juno and its corresponding soundtrack are going to let the general public know what a great song "Anyone Else But You" is, and despite how elitist and grabby I am about stuff like this, I’m glad that it is finally getting its due. It helps that the rest of the soundtrack is as good. If I’m not mistaken, up until now the only way that you could get Sonic Youth’s brilliant, creepy cover of The Carpenter’s "Superstar" on a legitimate CD is on the old "If I Were a Carpenter" disc, which I don’t really want. Anytime I’ve wanted to hear that song in the past few years I’ve had to put in the Corporate Ghost disc and just play the music video, so it’s nice to have it on a proper album after all this time. There are some other great, sort-of obvious choices here, like a couple of Belle & Sebastian tracks (I forgot how much I liked "Piazza, New York Catcher"), Mott the Hoople’s "All the Young Dudes," Cat Power’s cover of "Sea of Love," and The Velvet Underground’s "I’m Sticking With You," which was used to greater effect on the Morvern Callar soundtrack.

But really, the Juno soundtrack might as well be a best-of Kimya Dawson record. There’s only the one Moldy Peaches song, but there’s also Cera and Page’s cover of said song, and then there’s two Antsy Pants songs (another band in which Dawson is a member) and five solo Kimya songs. "Anyone Else But You" notwithstanding, far and away the best among these is Antsy Pants’ "Vampire," which is the funnest little-kid sing-along to come around in ages. My only real complaint about the soundtrack is that as far as soundtracks go, it sounds a little too samey, which is part of what makes it good—usually when I listen to soundtracks I’m in the mood to listen to something that plays like a mixtape, and as I said before, Juno sounds more like a Kimya record than a mixtape. Even the non-Kimya songs sound more or less the same as the rest of the stuff on the album. But when the standard of quality is as high as it is here, that isn’t really much of a complaint. | Pete Timmermann

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