Skyscraper Magazine » Bored to Death
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Various Artists
Water Tower Music
Format: CD / MP3
Release Date: September 21, 2010
By Jared M. Thiele June 20, 2011

On the heels of Skyscraper’s relaunch, we’ve been reviewing a number of records from mid-to-late 2010 that we missed out on covering during our semi-hiatus. Sort of a “what we missed” series of reviews. This is one of those.

The soundtrack for the first season of the HBO comedy series Bored to Death, which stars Jason Schwartzman as a disillusioned, pot smoking writer turned unlicensed private detective, offers up a great selection of previously recorded songs by (mostly) well known indie rock artists. The overall milquetoast mellow pop mood of the collection is set by standout names like M. Ward, Andrew Bird, Lykke Li, and Tobias Fröberg, making this soundtrack a nice musical accompaniment for a coffee shop, small dinner party, salon, or something of the like.

It is probably safe to assume that if you’re a fan of the above named artists, you already already own the songs found on this soundtrack. However, if you’re the kind of person in need of exposure to a great sampler of modern indie pop and rock, then this is a good one to pick up. For instance, fans of The Beach Boys will enjoy The Explorers Club song “Forever,” which sounds like a spot on Pet Sounds outtake.

There are a handful of things in this collection that are a distraction to the overall feel of this soundtrack. First is the song “Bored to Death,” by Coconut Records, aka Jason Schwartzman’s band. It’s a sort of swinging jazz number sung in a silly lounge style by the Bored to Death star. I know it’s the show’s theme song, but in typical HBO series fashion, it’s God-awful and would be embarrassing to be caught listening to on it’s own, and even worth skipping over. Second are songs by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, TV On The Radio, and Arling & Cameron. As good as these tracks are on their own, they’re just too rocking to fit this mix, which make a splash in otherwise glassy waters. Third and final are the one-liners from the show which are squeezed in between the majority of songs. It’s a trick that works it’s way into a lot of TV and movie soundtracks. On one hand, the clips are interesting, funny, and do a decent job of promoting character personalities found in the actual show. On the other hand, the clips aren’t granted their own tracks, instead getting tacked on to the end of songs, which means unless you do some editing of your own, when these songs are added to your iPod and run on shuffle, the one-liners will be there. They just won’t make a lot of sense.

Visit: Bored to Death | Water Tower Music
Purchase: Insound | eMusic