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Album review: "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" soundtrack

scott pilgrimMichael Cera gets to pretend to play songs written by Beck in his new movie.

By Allison Stewart

The recent spate of hipster-studded "Twilight" soundtracks were like the indie-rock equivalent of Happy Meals - tasty but overly commercialized product-placement opportunities that everyone involved will feel vaguely guilty about later. Maybe it's because its titular character is a bassist in a rock-and-roll band, but the soundtrack to the graphic-novel-turned-possible-summer-blockbuster, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," feels less strained, more like a naturally occurring, straightforward thing than something bought and paid for.

Set in Toronto, "Scott Pilgrim" is dominated by Canucks. The late all-girl pop band Plumtree (the Donnas of their day) contributes the cheery circa-'98 track "Scott Pilgrim" (which birthed the hero, or at least his name); Metric delivers a fuzzy, spunky "Black Sheep."

Beachwood Sparks do a slight, lovely cover of Sade's "By Your Side"; Black Lips turn in a spirited "O Katrina!" (appealingly under-composed garage rock being an ongoing theme); the Rolling Stones ("Under My Thumb") also show up, for some reason.

Songs for Crash and the Boys were composed, with atypical elan, by Broken Social Scene. Their 13-second "I'm So Sad, So Very, Very, Sad" may be the most concise BSS song in existence. Beck composed (but does not sing, though he shows up alone on other tracks) songs for Pilgrim's band, Sex Bob-Omb, which are uniformly clattery and brief and un-Beck-like. The highlight: "Garbage Truck." Unless Bob Dylan is planning something similar, it's the only song about a lovesick sanitation vehicle you'll ever need.

Recommended tracks: "Black Sheep" (Metric), "Threshold" (Sex Bob-Omb)

By Allison Stewart  |  August 10, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags: Beck, Broken Social Scene, Scott Pilgrim  
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