Even more iconic is perhaps the album’s closing track, a cover of The Moldy Peaches’ “Anyone Else But You” by stars Ellen Page and Michael Cera. After traveling the rough road through love and childbirth, this live take between the two actors is packed with emotion and eloquence. The way they sing lines like “We sure are cute for two ugly people/I don’t see what anyone can see in anyone else/But you” hits me hard.
It’s in between these two tracks, however, that I start to take issue. But we’ll get to that later; let’s focus on the positive. Juno the album is a well-crafted collection of indie pop, a soundtrack for the twee kids like The Crow was for goths and Singles, Empire Records and Reality Bites were for gen-X-ers. It’s another Garden State soundtrack.
Anti-folkster Kimya Dawson is the heart of this disc, with nine cuts, in one form or another, to her credit. Some, like “My Rollercoaster” and “Sleep,” are reduced to quick interludes. Full-length tunes like “Loose Lips” and “So Nice So Smart” are packed with lyrical twists and comedic asides. They’re verbose and crass, yet instantly memorable and heartfelt. And again, her Moldy Peaches song “Anyone Else But You” is such an incredible tune that it was included twice here.
Other songs that figure into the film include Mott the Hoople’s “All the Young Dudes,” from the super-creepy dance scene between Page and Jason Bateman, and Sonic Youth’s “Superstar,” a track representative of Bateman’s aging ’90s hipster.
But then there’s a whole lot of indie pop thrown in that doesn’t really represent any characters or scenes. Page’s title character spends a lot of time arguing that ’77 was the best year for music, and her three favorite artists are Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Patti Smith and The Runaways. It is frustrating then, to have the central character of the whole freaking movie so ignored on the soundtrack. “I Wanna Be Your Dog” or “Because the Night” would have fit in. “Gloria,” hell even Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly” would work. Instead, the album offers Belle & Sebastian and Cat Power and older artists like Buddy Holly and The Kinks. While these acts are great in their own right, they don’t stylistically represent the girl on film who loves Raw Power and knows the words and chords to Hole’s “Doll Parts.”
It is in this regard that the Juno soundtrack feels like a cash-in from Fox Searchlight Pictures and Rhino Records. If you like the soundtracks to Wes Anderson films or Little Miss Sunshine, you’ll probably dig Juno. It’s a solid collection of indie pop gems, one which flows without a hitch from start to finish. It’s just a shame it doesn’t represent the story or its characters very well.