Typically, soundtracks suck.
In the history of the world, there have been a maximum of maybe five decent ones, ever. Additionally, there is a little-known law of physics that states that no more than 10 quality soundtracks will ever exist in our space and time.
When I read the sticker on the front of the Vanilla Sky soundtrack jewel case that said “Forget everything you know about a soundtrack,” I was a little skeptical. The fact that this forewarning is juxtaposed against the album cover, an airbrushed shot of a pensive Tom Cruise looking deeply out into space, took me beyond skepticism and practically rolling around on the floor, convulsing with uncontrollable laughter.
How could this soundtrack undo all the wrong that had been done by the likes of every teenybopper movie ever? How could it erase all of the associations with bad scores and the latest crappy radio hit conjured by the evil “soundtrack” genre?
OK. So I was wrong.
The Vanilla Sky soundtrack may not completely avoid all the awful clichs that come along with the genre (hello folks there is a Monkees” song on it) but it comes pretty damn close.
If there is one single reason to buy this thing it”s the first song, “All The Right Friends,” a new effort from our dear old Athens friends R.E.M. If only every song on Reveal could have sounded like this, Beatlesque Rickenbacker riffs and an edgy sound reminiscent of the Life”s Rich Pageant days, the world would be a better place.
As if that one song wasn”t enough to make me want the album, the soundtrack follows with a sequence of songs which are all, surprisingly enough, really solid. Artists include Radiohead, Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel, Red House Painters, Sigur Ros, Jeff Buckley and Bob Dylan. Other highlights include the ridiculously fun Looper song called “Mondo “77” and Josh Rouse”s poppy “Directions.”
Basically, this soundtrack makes an ass of all other things known as soundtracks. It”s true that they already seemed stupid, repetitive and awful, but Vanilla Sky serves as a reminder that we should think lower of them than we already do because it is entirely possible to make an amazing one. There is actually not one bad song on this thing except for maybe the aforementioned Monkees.