Garden State: Music from the Motion Picture

Music review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Garden State: Music from the Motion Picture Music Poster Image
Popular alt-folk score speaks to angst-ridden teens.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

The general tone of this soundtrack to Zach Braff's film Garden State is searching, solitary, occasionally morbid - -the sounds of someone who's not sure how he fits into this big world. Whereas the film deals with more grown-up problems, the music, on its own, can be encouraging to alienated teens who find solace in songs that give voice to their own lonely questions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There's a lot for angst-ridden teens to identify with in the newer Garden State songs, but not necessarily much to show them the way.

Violence

There are a couple of mildly violent images in the Garden State songs. The Shins' song "New Slang" mentions jumping from a tree, and something about how someone would "cut all their thumbs."

Sex

There's some kissing in a couple of songs (Iron and Wine's "Such Great Heights," Thievery Corp.'s "Lebanese Blonde"). In the Shins' "Caring Is Creepy," the singer says, "I never got cold wearing nothing in the snow."

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

"Caring Is Creepy" says, "Hold your glass up." In "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You," Colin Hay singer that he is "no longer moved to drink strong whisky." The Frou Frou song "Let Go" says to "drink up."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the soundtrack to Zach Braff's film Garden State features mostly indie folk/rock songs with a quietly earnest, searching tone. With songs from popular rock groups like the Shins and Coldplay, as well as alt-folk from Iron and Wine, electropop from Frou Frou and more, the soundtrack went to No. 1 on Billboard's Soundtracks chart in 2004. This album may lead younger listeners -- Shins fans, for example -- to discover older artists who are represented as well: Simon and Garfunkel or Nick Drake. This music contains a couple of mentions of kissing, a few references to drinking (including one "whiskey"), but in general the lyrical subject matter is much more poetically vague and much tamer than the behavior exhibited by adults in the film.

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What's the story?

The soundtrack to Zach Braff's popular film Garden State features mostly indie folk/rock songs with a quietly earnest, searching tone. The soundtrack includes alt-rock groups such as The Shins and Coldplay, as well as alt-folkies Iron and Wine, electropop duo Frou Frou and more. GARDEN STATE: MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE went to No. 1 on Billboard's Soundtracks chart in 2004 and won the Grammy for Best Soundtrack Album in 2005. In a way, the album highlights the similarity between the newer bands and more established artists; this album may help younger listeners appreciate Simon and Garfunkel or Nick Drake, who are also represented.

Is it any good?

For fans of indie folk-rock, the Garden State soundtrack is delightful, and it stands on its own, apart from the film. This beloved collection has a consistently lush sound and an introspective tone, and makes good use of popular music to further the popularity and mood of Zach Braff's movie. The inclusion of a bit of electropop from Frou Frou ("Let Go") and Colin Hay's more raw guitar-and-voice track ("I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You") adds just enough edge to shake things up a bit.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the Garden State soundtrack music reflects the mood of characters in the film. Also, how do these songs affect or reflect your mood?

  • Do you like it when films use popular music in the soundtrack? Do you like it better when a film includes music from your favorite bands?

  • Coldplay's "Don't Panic" has a somewhat morbid tone with the lines about "bones sinking like stones." What do you think this song means?

Music details

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