A great soundtrack can elevate an otherwise forgettable movie into an iconic, cultural phenomenon.
Can you imagine Say Anything without John Cusack holding up the boom-box playing “In Your Eyes”? “The Sound of Silence” is essentially another character in The Graduate for the amount of weight the song carries throughout the film.
Rarely does a full soundtrack encapsulate the essence of a movie to the point where it is as equally important as the movie itself. But Zach Braff, whose last major film Garden State won him a Grammy for Best Soundtrack, believes that a movie without the perfect music simply isn’t worth making.
His latest film, Wish I Was Here, released its soundtrack yesterday. Some would argue that the soundtrack has been more anticipated than the actual movie.
For Wish I Was Here, Braff aimed to compile as many new, original songs as possible from his favorite bands by asking them to create something after watching the new film. The result is an indie-music lover’s dream.
The title track is a dreamy collaboration between Coldplay and Cat Power, and other notable original songs come from Bon Iver (who had previously been on hiatus since 2012) and of course, Braff’s favorite band, The Shins.
The rest of the album is filled with acoustic, singer-songwriter tracks tailor-made for a story about the unanswerable question of life’s purpose—Braff’s favorite theme. If you’re not familiar with folk-rock or the indie music scene, the soundtrack is an exceptional introduction to some of the genre’s greatest acts including The Weepies, Gary Jules, Hozier and more.
There is not a single bad song on the album, and better yet, they all fit together so well. This movie and its soundtrack were Braff’s pet project and the passion and inspiration that motivated him is abundantly evident.
You can purchase the full soundtrack on iTunes, or stream the album with Braff’s commentary here.