Soundtracks and traffic lights are things that, if I just blow through, I feel a whole lot better. I've recently logged a note to self regarding former and latter: When the BW A&E editor says, "Wait, this one's different," I listen. And when my passenger says, "Wait, that's red," it's usually too late. I'll miss ol' Suzy the Subaru, but I can at least take comfort in the fine work Sondre Lerche's made of this Dan In Real Life Soundtrack.
Lerche's pristine voice and lyrical inclinations seem to be a perfect fit for a film like this. There's love in his voice, even if it is a little forlorn, as exposed on "My Hands Are Shaking." Elsewhere, it's easy to picture Lerche and Regina Spektor gazing sickeningly at each other in a black-and-white song-and-dance routine while trading the lines of "Hell No." Even the under-a-minute-long "Dan and Marie Picking Hum" is a little gem in its own rite.
"Airport Taxi Reception" is a rocking little number, just as cute as any of the others, but this time, Lerche is backed by a crack band, and it suits him nicely. Not to discredit Lerche's songwriting, but I've got to point out the exceptional job he does covering Pete Townshend's "Let My Love Open the Door." Lerche's acoustic guitar is adorned by an amazing string arrangement and performance. Maybe it's all a little too perfect, but if the production is all very shiny and Hollywood, it's fittingly so.
The inclusion of A Fine Frenzy's take on "Fever" is a bit of a sore thumb here, and easily skipped. But how many soundtracks can boast a quality ratio that high? More of a showcase for the Norwegian Lerche than a commercial for a film, this collection could almost stand on its own, without the Dan In Real Life brand. And maybe it will. As hinted at by the executive producer, Peter Hedges, Lerche's songs may be the film's only redeeming quality: " ... if someone didn't like the film, at least they'd thank us for the music."