Jack Goes Boating in a Sea of Indie Rock—the Jack Goes Boating Soundtrack

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Inspiration can be drawn from many a place and it seems the creators of Jack Goes Boating have taken that ideal in producing this soundtrack. Following the path of main character Jack trapped in an aimless New York City life, the soundtrack serves as the introduction and musical explanation of his character.

Jack Goes Boating is a romantic comedy (note: I refuse to use the term dramedy) centering on Jack’s aspirations to work for the Metropolitan Transit Authority and his neurotic persona as a man half-heatedly attempting to grow dreadlocks with a burgeoning obsession to a particular reggae song I imagine to be either The Melodians ‘Rivers of Babylon’ or Darondo’s ‘Didn’t I’. Set in the dead of an east coast winter, Jack’s life revolves around his job as a limo driver and his relationship with fellow driver and friend Clyde and wife Lucy, epitomized by the instrumental arrangement ‘Snow’ by Evan Lurie. Jack begins a solitary man as addressed so beautifully by the Fleet Foxes’ ‘Oliver James’.  Echoing in its starkness, haunting in its stoicism, this song highlights the singularity of a life lived passively and without passion. However, with the repeating lines of ‘Oliver James/Lost in the rain/No longer’, the song teeters on the idea of hope and change for Jack, perhaps alluding to his future transformations. As life continues, Jack is set up with Connie, a woman who will eventually inspire Jack to learn to cook, pursue a new career and learn to swim, thus giving him the ability to take her on the romantic boat ride she wants. With this new found enthusiasm for romantic gestures, emotions and question obviously circle about not only Jack and Connie’s relationship, but of his friends Clyde and Lucy. No romance is guaranteed, and I suppose it can be the little efforts, the subtle surprises, that equate to a larger picture of a relationship being’ worth it’; therefore,  potentially the idea of going boating symbolizes the extent to which Jack will go for his relationship.  Either way, Bill Evans’ calming ‘Peace Piece’ definitely serves as a glistening nautical track of drama and pursuit to the inevitable thoughts and questions posed in each relationship—or potentially it is the illustrious finish of one man in a boat, as dictated by the cover of the soundtrack.

As much as I believe the soundtrack to echo the character in this movie, separately, it is a solid musical composition. It is sombre in its tone—which is probably akin to the tone of the movie—and the addition of such great bands as Cat Power, Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear is always welcomed; if there are three bands that know how to portray the musical idea of sombreness, these are some of the front runners. Also, the addition of DeVotchKa ‘Dearly Departed’ adds a humanistic touch of love lost and aching heartbreak that stagnant deep within the broken hearts of many a soul. The song is tearfully enjoyable and with lyrics ‘I know that you had no choice/I know it’s part of your therapy/I only wish I could be as strong as you’ , they absolutely rip one’s heart into two to be left to bleed and suffer on the cold, lonesome ground. I think this song is the best addition to the soundtrack as it is light and airy in its instrumentation, but critically serious and dramatic with its meaning, much the same as the movie’s surface compared to its underbelly.

The excitement for this movie is ever increasing due to its critical praise, star-studded line up and the directorial debut of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Added to that list is the compilation of one of the year’s best soundtracks and its subsequent touches of fragility, humanity and loss to this idea of love.

– Kaitlin McNabb

01. Oliver James – Fleet Foxes
02. All We Ask – Grizzly Bear
03. Rivers Of Babylon – The Melodians
04. Snow – Evan Lurie
05. Where Is My Love – Cat Power
06. Eat Yourself – Goldfrapp
07. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
08. Didn’t I – Darondo
09. Dearly Departed – DeVotchKa
10. Hello, Young Lovers – Mel Torme
11. Overcome Me – Evan Lurie
12. Blue Moon – Dave’s True Story
13. Peace Piece – Bill Evans

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