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Juno Soundtrack

Released on Rhino Records 1/8/2008

The Juno soundtrack plays like a sonic stepsister in recreating the motion picture experience. As enjoyable as the film was, I love this soundtrack as much as I love getting paper cuts on my skin, like nineteen paper cuts in all, the sum of tunes on this album.

The music was an integral part of building the characters and while it came off well in the context of Juno the movie, it’s not something that is entirely listenable on its own. In the liner notes, director Jason Reitman asked the fresh-faced Oscar-nominated star Ellen Page what kind of music she thought her character, Juno, would listen to. She quickly suggested The Moldy Peaches. There is a charm -- sweet naïve honesty -- in the music that can neither be dismissed nor its irony deflected. Yet the repetitive kindergarten ring-around-the-rosy type of off-key little ditties grate ferociously like someone else’s mad screaming child teething or a cat in heat.

Juno’s soundtrack cranks like a box of cracker jacks. You don’t know what surprise you are going to get with the next track. There are lighthearted ironic tales sung sweetly through misguided melodies and disaccorded harmonies that sound as though the guitar was in a bad need of tuning or better yet, if the strings would just break.

Easing the oddly whimsical monotony are The Kinks’ "A Well Respected Man", Buddy Holly’s "Dearest", Belle & Sebastian’s "Piazza, New York Catcher", The Velvet Underground’s "I’m Sticking With You", and Cat Power’s redo of "Sea Of Love". These songs add a sense of credibility to the amount of what may be perceived as gibberish on the record. Then there’s the cult clutching, Sonic Youth covering The Carpenters’ "Superstar". I wasn’t sure if this version would find me reaching for a Kleenex or a dull blade.

Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches contributes five tunes plus one with The Moldy Peaches and two with Antsy Pants. She makes us suffer her quirky and odd instrumentations like Kermit the Frog whistling "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" on a bad acid trip. I marveled at the beauty though. Dawson has made her passion work for her. Who would have thought that her style of music could boot Alicia Keys off the number one spot in Billboards Top Ten?

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 Stars