Listen Up: Wednesday, January 19, 2005
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

By Brian Abrams

Writer/director Wes Anderson certainly has a specific brand of filmmaking. The bright-eyed cinematography, the characters exhausted with and by life, the music — all of which make for wonderful eye and ear candy. Altogether, though, his audio-visual conceits can sometimes add up to a pretty pretentious mess.
Of course, he’s not seen as “cinema’s hippest DJ” for nothing. His 20-track (on average) soundtracks are as cool as anything you’d hear from artists whose names aren’t Funkstar de Luxe or DJ Sammy, always an interesting mix of the intolerably snotty and tolerably groovy. From The Who and other Brit Invaders’ backdropping Rushmore’s velvety reds and browns to Nico’s good vibrations behind The Royal Tenenbaums’ pastels, Anderson’s alt-anthology is consistently in step with hipness — both in sound and sight.
As with these previous soundtracks, the one to Anderson’s latest film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, conjures the movie, particularly its aqua-seafoam-ish hue. And as with the other two discs, The Life Aquatic also begins softly and ends with uh, a splash. The 20-song excursion is a nice balance of tenderfoot folk (David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?” as performed by Brazilian folkie/co-star Seu Jorge) and punk (Iggy Pop and the Stooges’ “Search and Destroy”). Mark Mothersbaugh (formerly of Devo), practically a fixture in Anderson’s musical universe, appears to be the perfect producer for the project. As a filmmaker inserts buffers between hard and soft scenes, Mothersbaugh interjects daydreamy acoustic-plucking in between divergent types of songs, creating air between, say, tunes from the punks and numbers from less-aggressive (musically) contributors like Joan Baez and Paco de Lucía.
Since the movie is really nothing but a mélange of music videos, you may wanna take that $8 you’ve been saving for a ticket and invest in this disc.


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