Album Review: Stuck In Love, The Writers Playlist

The 2012 theatrical release Stuck in Love somehow completely escaped my notice. In fact I still haven’t seen it, and know virtually nothing about it other than what I’ve read on IMDB. (Update: Turns out it was initially release in 2012 but got limited theatrical release in the USA in July 2013.) It stars Greg Kinnear (Mystery Men) and Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind).

Varese Sarabande is a boutique-type record label that deals mostly in soundtrack releases; in my somewhat vast album collection I have but one of their releases, a now long-out-of-print best-of Hudson Brothers collection. But now the label has released a new vinyl album called Stuck in Love: The Writers Playlist. One supposes that this indicates that the record isn’t exactly a soundtrack, but rather a collection of songs (some from the score, some sympathetic to the story line or vibe) selected by the writer/director Josh Boone.

Boone’s liner notes explain his motivations for selecting the songs; he observes that “[m]usic is one of the most powerful tools a filmmaker can use to evoke emotion.”

He’s right, of course. Selections include a selection of mellow/acoustic-leaning indie artists of a pretty high caliber: Conor Oberst (“You Are Your Mother’s Child”), Bright Eyes (“The Calendar Hung Itself…”) and a 1997 Elliott Smith track (“Between the Bars”). Things do rock up a bit with Like Pioneers‘ “Polkadot,” but in general a gentle feel is the order of the day. The songs evoke a contemplative, emotion-laden atmosphere, one that conjures images of a younger (say, mid 20s) mindset and perspective. Perhaps the strongest track on the entire set is “Will You Be By Me” by Wallpaper Airplanes.

The Mike Moggis/Nathaniel Walcott (the latter of Bright Eyes) songs and score pieces fill out a large chunk of the record; those shortish pieces range from Eno-esque “Nosebleed” to the impressionistic “Rusty Tucks Kate In,” which sounds like The Cure at their most wordlessly tuneful. Not to sell these pieces short; they’re finely textured and quite lovely.

The album sails by quickly, which is impressive seeing that it’s a good 40 minutes or so in length. Oberst’s song was written and recorded specifically for the film, and the other songs feel as though they were, too. The film is billed as a comedy-drama, but if the tone of the music is any indication – and all signs suggest that it is very much the case – then Stuck in Love will almost certainly lean more in the dramatic direction. If it’s as consistently good as the music on its “writers playlist,” the film might be well worth seeing.

Follow “the_musoscribe” on Twitter and get notified
when new features, reviews and essays are published.