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304 of 321 people found the following review helpful
With the exception of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," perhaps no soundtrack this year is as enjoyable as new indie wunderkind Zach Braff's "Garden State." A mix of golden oldies and fresh indie-pop, this is a mellowly sweet collection -- even without the movie.

Braff uses some truly wonderful songs like Frou Frou's fragile "Let Go," Coldplay's quietly downbeat "Don't Panic," and Thievery Corporation's elegantly exotic "Lebanese Blonde." There is also singer/actress Bonnie Somerville's bittersweet "Winding Road," and country-rock newcomer Cary Brothers' dreamy "Blue Eyes."

The best of the soundtrack are the Shins, who get double exposure with the eerily sweet "New Slang" and resonating "Caring is Creepy," and Iron & Wine's lovely cover of "Such Great Heights" (originally by the Postal Service). But Braff also includes older stuff, like Simon & Garfunkel's aching "Only Living Boy in New York" and Nick Drake's surprisingly joyous, upbeat "One of These Things First."

Where Wes Anderson uses beloved oldies, Zach Braff seems to prefer some of the more unusual, eclectic rock and pop. Though it was hard to get some of the music rights on an indie-film budget, Braff won over several artists by showing them where their songs would go -- situated in scenes where they have plenty of impact. Braff doesn't just include a list of his favorite songs, but chooses appropriate music.

But even without the movie, the soundtrack is a good listen. Alt-country, gentle indie-pop, and mellow-ish rock share a quirky, poignant note. Iron & Wine's cover of "Such Great Heights" is the one questionable choice; while it's a good cover, it can't measure up to the Postal Service original (the original was used in the trailer). But taken by itself, it's still a lovely song.

The beautiful music of "Garden State's" soundtrack can serve as a poignant reminder of the movie, or can stand on its own as a good collection of rich music including Zero 7, the Shins, and Frou Frou. Solid collection accompanying a solid movie.
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315 of 334 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2004
In this movie, Natalie Portman offers Zach Braf her headphones and tells him that the song he is about to listen to will "change his life". This turns out to be no corny movie line and no joke. This is one of the most breathtaking music compilations I have ever heard, and is a touching accompaniment to one of 2004's most important films.

I have little to say, other than this soundtrack earns the highest 5-star review from me. Frou Frou's "Let Go" (featuring Imogen Heap) is stunning, as are songs performed by Coldplay, Zero 7 and The Shins (whose "New Slang" is the life-altering track Portman insists Braf listen to over her headphones).

Complex musical and emotional influences of U2, Coldplay, Catherine Wheel, David Gray, and Simon and Garfunkel drift eerily across the landscapes of both soundtrack and film; those artists' introspective sensibilities playing out in Braf's character's struggle with his own painful self-awareness and search for trust and happiness.

You are guaranteed to appreciate this soundtrack and film to the core of your soul, if you possess the humility and self-consciousness to have ever felt lost, alone, or that certain inexplicable and sometimes uncomfortable vibe that "you still haven't found what you're looking for...."

The highest and most sincere recommendations possible for both the soundtrack and movie.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2004
In conjunction with the fact this soundtrack beautifully complements the Garden State movie, this soundtrack, when listened to on a quiet afternoon alone in a comfortable chair, can whisk you away into a dream land. A real melodic compilation; relaxing and soothing. A must buy.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2004
First of all I would like to say- as is the case with most soundtracks- you should see Gardern State before listening to the soundtrack. Now, on to the actual review. The picks are top notch for the most part, great but often overlooked oldies in Drake and Simon and Garfunkel mixed with great but often overlooked current bands like zero 7. I would highly recommend both this soundtrack and the movie.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2004
This soundtrack is one of those rare gems. It really captures the vibe of the film, but it also stands alone as a GREAT compilation of tunes. Of particular note is a standout track by Cary Brothers called "Blue Eyes." Cary is a new unsigned artist from Los Angeles who is starting to make waves in the LA music scene. I can understand why. Another stand out track is from Colin Hay. The former Men At Work front-man has a voice that makes you want to cry. This is a GREAT buy!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2004
If you're thinking of purchasing this and haven't yet seen the movie but are thinking of seeing it, I'd advise you wait until you view 'Garden State'. Much like Tarantino and Scorcese, Zach Braff carefully selected and arranged these songs to create an effortless background to his film. Their flow really only makes sense once the movie has been seen. But if you have no interest in seeing the movie and just like the featured artists, then by all means buy it. It's a great CD that just falls short of perfect. The Coldplay track serves as a great opener. The light techno beats of Zero 7 and Thievery Corporation fit in nicely beside acoustic rock by Colin Hay, Cary Brothers, and Remy Zero. There's also some great classics by Nick Drake and Simon and Garfunkel. Standouts include Frou Frou's operatic 'Let Go' which was featured in the preview and the two tracks by The Shins. If you like them, definately purchase either 'Oh Inverted World' or 'Chutes Too Narrow'. This band deserves to be HUGE. James Mercer is a genius. Now the two tracks I find problematic. Iron and Wine's cover of The Postal Service's 'Such Great Heights' is great in the context of the movie. But on CD, it's yawn inducing. I love both bands, but Iron and Wine took a great, upbeat love song and turned it into a depressing snail-paced lullabye. It's not right I tell you! The Postal Service original should have been used instead. And the final song 'Winding Road' by Bonnie Somerville is frankly vomit-inducing chick lite rock. Instead, Braff should have included Alexi Murdoch's far superior 'Orange Sky', which was featured in the film but was inexplicably left off the soundtrack. Had it been included, this would be five-star worthy. But as is, it's an enjoyable disc that never fails to take me back to a great movie.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2005
Occasionally a movie comes along with a superb set of songs that are absolutely inseparable from the cinematic experience. In 1984, that might have been Beverly Hills Cop; in 1993, perhaps The Crow; and in 2004, it was Garden State. From start to finish, this soundtrack boasts some of the best mellow music in recent memory. There is nothing loud and fast here, but rather an eclectic miasma of downtempo moodiness.

First, the newer music: The Shins provide two nice indie rock slices of life in "New Slang" and "Caring is Creepy." If you like Modest Mouse or The Pixies, these two songs should immediately become favorites, especially "New Slang." Coldplay are also included, represented by the lead-off track ("Don't Panic") from their debut album. This song's push-and-pull refrains fit perfectly in a movie about emotional emptiness: a flat statement like "all of us are done for" is countered by the hopeful response "we live in a beautiful world." Neither the singer nor the listener is really all that certain.

Some elder statesmen are included in the Garden State soundtrack as well. Colin Hay (formerly of Men At Work) throws a complete curveball by sending up "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You," a quiet confession of lost love and present misery, using only his husky voice and an acoustic guitar. Simon and Garfunkel also provide a great song in "The Only Living Boy in New York," confirming Garden State's debt to The Graduate.

My own personal favorites, however, are probably the electronica tracks. Zero 7 create a dreamy trip-hop world entitled "In The Waiting Line," which the viewer will recall from the slow-mo party sequence. This song is shamelessly seductive, slowing everything down to a near halt while Sophie Barker soothes the ears with her blissed-out voice. Definitely worth repeated listens. Washington DC duo Thievery Corporation lay some funky beats underneath an Asiatic surface, and the end result is "Lebanese Blonde." Stylish and addictive, and yet it also fits in with the mellow, druggy tone of the soundtrack in general.

To be honest I was not perfectly happy with Garden State as a movie. But the music which accompanies the movie is some of the best stuff you'll ever find on one disc. A must-have if you enjoyed the movie, or even if you haven't seen the movie but still like downtempo, modern music.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2004
When I first saw this movie I instantly realized how great the soundtrack accompanied the film. I couldn't get the cover of Such Great Heights out of my head. I originally purchased this CD for that one song, but soon realized the entire sountrack is a perfect compilation to compliment the movie. This CD has been making me itch to buy a new guitar and start playing.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2004
Movies in recent years such as "Rushmore", "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "Eternal Sunshine" have demonstrated how important a good soundtrack is to a movie.

Good music is obviously important to Zach Braff, who was the writer, director, and the executive soundtrack producer for "Garden State." He skillfully selected the perfect songs to punctuate pivotal scenes - such as his use of "The Only Living Boy in New York" (Simon & Garfunkel) during the "primal scream" scene. Or Zero 7's "The Waiting Line" during his drugged observations at a slacker friend's party. I read that he went to great lengths to get rights to these songs so that he could have them not only in the movie, but also on the soundtrack. The end result is this excellent soundtrack.

Even without the movie, the soundtrack is a worthy investment as a compilation of great mellow-but-hip music. Some have complained that Iron and Wine's version of "Such Great Heights" should have been replaced with the Postal Service original, but I think that the melancholy remake better serves the scene in the movie.

Excellent investment - buy this CD.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2004
I'm a music lover and one of the things I look for in a movie is the soundtrack. The music is very important because it could make a scene worth remembering. This was an awesome movie and the music really fit well into it. I give this movie 5 stars and the same rating for it's music counterpart.
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