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Disc review: Various artists, ‘Boyhood’ soundtrack

Something odd here. If you haven’t been following pop music all that assiduously during the 12 years in which Richard Linklater’s film “Boyhood” is set, you’re likely to be startled at how very many of the artists and performers on the movie’s soundtrack seem to be doing impressions of the Beatles.

Obviously, a lot of that has do with the taste of the exceptional filmmaker Linklater. But you can’t get around the simple fact of the Beatles’ formative influence on everything the best popular music of subsequent decades has striven to be since they were around.

The names of the performers on this disc include some of the most praised and/or popular for our new century – Wilco, Coldplay, The Hives, Cobra Starship, The Black Keys, Gotye, Yo La Tengo, Family of the Year and Arcade Fire. Formative ringers from earlier generations are McCartney and Wings’ “Band on the Run” and Bob Dylan’s “Beyond the Horizon.” And there, you might say, are two landmark influences between which you’ll find everyone else here.

The whole middle section of Wilco’s “Hate It Here,” is introduced by a riff from the Beatles ca. “Magical Mystery Tour.”

Obviously, it’s all supposed to denote what a sensitive, growing white adolescent with pretty good taste would listen to and take to heart but, nevertheless, the degree of homage to all the things brought to pop music by the Liverpudlians is a bit astounding in such bulk.

We’re not talking, of course, about Cobra Starship’s “Good Girls Gone Bad,” which is featureless, specimen pop music of our era – overproduction in place of lyrical and melodic distinction.

It’s directly followed on the disc by its opposite, Dylan’s “Beyond the Horizon” with zephyrous, parody pseudo-tropical sounds blowing through the music from a consummate musical joker whose lyrics aren’t kidding at and are at total variance with the ersatz-Hawaiian sounds.

A movie soundtrack disc that winds up to be even more interesting than it thinks it is.



Various Artists

“Boyhood” [Nonesuch]

3.5 stars

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