‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’ Soundtrack Review

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Based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind Of a Funny Story very much uses the medium of an adult psychiatric wing to explore the nuances and intricacies involved within human relationships. The story follows newly admitted16 year old Craig Gilner through the inner workings of an adult psychiatric floor as he is introduced to numerous people, chief among them Bobby, played by Zach Galifianakis. As Bobby and Craig bond strengthens, the story reveals itself as one of courage and respect; truth is not always told in how one believes they should act but governed from the sincerity and realism they see within themselves.

Adopting the classic tale of parental push meets adolescent pull and stylized to meet that classic story, the score of this film, done by the numerous members of Canadian export Broken Social Scene, reflects the complex emotions present in the film. As always, Broken Social Scene’s music is atmospheric and lush joining together the feelings of dreariness with those of hopefulness. Broken Social Scene has cultivated quite the impressive reputation, both nationally and internationally, so it is quite upsetting that their beautiful movie score was not actually included on the soundtrack listing or released separately. Personally, most of the movie buzz was stemmed from the fact that a great band like Broken Social Scene was crafting a score to a talented line up of cast and directors, so it is a major upset that that is not the main highlight of the film’s soundtrack. That being said, the listing to the official soundtrack is not bad. Not bad at all.

The first obvious note of the listing is that Ida Maria’s ‘Oh My God’ that is so prominently featured in the trailer is absent from the official listing. Not sure the rationale behind this move as ‘Oh My God’ is seemingly the perfect addition to really any soundtrack, but especially one reflecting the struggles of frustration with normalized culture and the perceptions of mental health. Specifically noted in lines like ‘oh my god, you think I’m in control, on my god, you think it’s all for fun’ and ‘find a cure, find a cure for my life, put a prize, put a prize on my life’ she wails passionately, embodying the disconnectedness one can feel from the alienation of mainstream culture.

The rest of the soundtrack seems to be making up for it’s aforementioned loses; White Hinterland’s Icarus is a dreamlike escapade of drowsy vocals and ambient sounds whereas, the Wowz’s ‘Happy Today’ seems to be a tongue and cheek inclusion perhaps mocking the overdependence of medication by both patients and psychiatrists. And of course a healthy dose of Broken Social Scene with ‘Major Label Debut’, ‘Sweet Number One’ and ‘Not at my Best’ is beauty added to any soundtrack.

One of the biggest standouts is the Pink Mountaintops ‘Tourist in Your Town’. Another Canadian addition, the Pink Mountaintops continue the ambient style of the soundtrack set by the Broken Social Scene songs and score. ‘Tourist in Your Town’ is haunting and heart-wrenching ballad most likely sung for a lost love or friend; however, the emotional depth and lyrical content can easily be carried over to the film and it’s idea of belonging. The Pink Mountaintops are by far masters of the inspired shoegaze sound; the ever increasing lineup of musicians provide the characteristic thick and heavy instrumental sound, while also adding unique touches like singer Amber Webber’s delicate yet strong soprano vocals. The track adds and fullness to the listing and it is a shame that the Pink Mountaintops overlapping collective of Black Mountain was not added to the list. Both bands have a remarkable amount of similarities—including members, instrumentation and inspriration—but it is Black Mountain that brings the psychedelic sound into a darker arena.

What is great about this soundtrack is it is ultimately uplifting like the film even though the content in which it describes is not only depressing and serious but also familiarly serious and depressing. Battling the complexities of mental health, normalized cultures reactions and perceptions and adolescent drama are never easy, and sadly, this film is far from perfect in its depiction, but it is a great attempt at a positive and quirky soundtrack The exploration of sound and music through the soundtrack is refreshing because it samples from not only a wide variety of musical genres but within the indie spectrum of each genre. Sacrificing popularity and obviousness for nuances feeling and connectedness, this soundtrack has chosen to shine a little spotlight on Canadian music, which has sorely been misunderstood by the vast majority of international markets, or more specifically Hollywood exploits.

– Kaitlin McNabb

1. Not at my Best- Broken Social Scene

2. Smash It Up- The Damned

3. Happy Today- The Wowz

4. Icarus- White Hinterland

5. Where You Go- Elden Calder

6. The Ills- Mayer Hawthorne

7. Da Rockwilder- Method Man and Redman

8. Tourist in Your Town- Pink Mountaintops

9. Where is My Mind- Maxence Cyrin

10. Blood- The Middle East

11. Check Me Out- Little Denis

12. Habina- Rachid Taha

13. Major Label Debut (fast)- Broken Social Scene

14. Sweet Number One- Broken Social Scene

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