Stuck In Love/The Writer’s Playlist – Varese Sarabande vinyl

by | Nov 23, 2013 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

Stuck In Love/The Writer’s Playlist – Varese Sarabande 302 067 197 stereo vinyl, 40:48 [6/11/13] ****:

(Featuring score composed and performed by Mike Mogis and Nathaniel Walcott; with additional performances by Big Harp; Conor Oberst; Like Pioneers; Wallpaper Airplanes; Elliott Smith; Bright Eyes; Bill Ricchini; Friends Of Gemini; Stefanie Drootin-Senseney – vocals; Chris Senseney – vocals; Mike Mogis – guitar, bass, drum machine programming, toy piano; Nathaniel Walcott – piano, organ, electric piano, keyboards; Clark Baechle – drums; Tracy Dunn – violin; Paul Ledwon – cello; Corina Figueroa Escamilla – vocals; Nik Freitas – vocals)

The Stuck In Love soundtrack is comprised of seven instrumental pieces and eight songs from an impressive cadre of Indie artists. Composed and performed by Mike Mogis and Nathaniel Walcott, the score is a divergence from the typical millennial film soundtracks. Relying on subtle instrumentation (guitar, piano and keyboard), there is an established, contemplative mood that reflects the narrative of relationship complications that are the cornerstone of the movie. The guitar playing is melodic and understated with deft echoes and fades. This is captured on the opening track, “Nosebleed”. All of the pieces have texture. “Goodbye” has a nice duet of piano and guitar that is augmented by cello and violin. While there is a low-keyed approach to the musical score, there are bursts of up-tempo whimsy (“Bill Gets Dressed”) and delicate transitions (“Peeping Tom”).

Full songs are a vital part of the soundtrack. A highlight is “You Are Your Mother’s Child” by Bright Eyes front man, Conor Oberst. In a surprisingly nostalgic storyline, Oberst (with guitar accompaniment) recounts the life cycle of a child from birth to graduation (including Halloween…”better watch your Snickers bar”). Mogis and Walcott collaborate with Big Harp on the catchy “At Your Door”. The voices of Stefanie Drootin-Senseney and Chris Senseney are very complementary. Utilizing a heavy drum mix, Like Pioneers inject a dose of up-tempo, hard-edged rock on “Polkadot”. Elliott Smith’s “Between The Bars” showcases his upper-tenor register with acoustic guitar in waltz time.

The sound quality of the vinyl recording was very good. The layers of guitars and vocals were clear and the overall mix had distinct separation. The soundtrack was released digitally on May 21st and the CD was concurrent with the vinyl. Liner notes by director Josh Boone detail how music impacted the heart and soul of his film. Stuck In Love/The Writer’s Playlist is a refreshing update of a movie soundtrack.

Side A: Nosebleed ; At Your Door; Peeping Tom; You Are Your Mother’s Child; Polkadot; Rusty Tucks Kate In; Will You Be By Me; Goodbye
Side B: Between The Bars; Bill Gets Dressed; The Calendar Hung Itself; Bill Tells Sam The Truth; A Mountain, A Peak; Erica At The Door; Somersaults In Spring

—Robbie Gerson

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