Album Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

09/15/2010

ScottPilgrim_AlbumCover
The comic book turned movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, features a soundtrack which notably might suffer from the same ailments of most comic books turned movies: seeming kitsch. The story revolves around Michael Cera as bassist in a rock band “Sex Bob-ombs” struggling with angst, love and jealously for a girl. Cera fits the role like beans and rice—clearly, targeting the same young adult crowd who loved Juno (which also had a good movie soundtrack). Before I digress, as this is not a movie review–the soundtrack is equally poignant about its music audience featuring Beck, Broken Social Scene and produced by Nigel Goodrich (known for his work with Radiohead, Beck, Pavement and many other “indie” groups). This understanding of its audience is the strength of the soundtrack.

Sex Bo-ombs in reality is Beck scrapping music together in what he claims took a matter of days. As the playfully short “We Are SEX BOB-OMB” indicates, Beck’s alias group is nothing to be taken too seriously and both “Garbage Truck,” and “Threshold” are fun, but nothing more than that. Broken Social Scene’s (BSS) “Anthem’s for a Seventeen-Year-Old-Girl” aptly fits the mood of the soundtrack and the title alone seems perfect as a synopsis of the movie. But BSS’s songs under the alias “Crash and the Boys,” are like Beck’s alter ego–forgettable. The classic “Under My Thumb” by the Rolling Stones is great, but obviously nothing new. I agree with most critics that Metric’s “Black Sheep” is the best new musical addition sounding like a cross between “Monster Hospital,” and
“Help, I’m Alive.”

Metric: “Black Sheep

Nigel Goodrich’s arrangement of songs pulls the album together. Without seeing the movie, the progression tells the plot. Beginning with “We Are SEX BOB-OMS” the album introduces the punk protagonist. Later “I’m So Sad, So Very, Very, Sad” and “Teenage Dream” build emotional tension that leads into Rolling Stone’s “Under My Thumb” at which point conceivably Cera can’t escape his feelings. Concluding in Beck’s acoustic “Ramona” where Cera woos his love.

There aren’t many surprises with the soundtrack for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, but likely that statement is true for the movie as well. If you liked the movie, enjoy Michael Cera, considering playing Beck and Broken Social Scene during your wedding, well then—this album is for you.