Movies have long boasted exceptional soundtracks. From the trailblazing classic Pretty In Pink to the innovative Garden State to the fresh Booksmart – coming of age stories have been bolstered by music’s mood-setting gems. The new movie The Never List, is no exception. 17 solid tracks move the listener along and just like the real-life emotions of being a teenager, songs can be electric, unique, frazzled and even a bit messy.
Unlike high school, there really isn’t a bad apple in this bunch. The first half of the soundtrack doesn’t play it safe and keeps the listener on their toes. “Bad Girls” is the first song from Louisiana’s rockers LVVRS. If you’re a fan of Walk The Moon, you will be all about this crushingly awesome pop-rock offering. “Knives” is the next one up, and while it’s a different sound, the vibe is still high and youthful. Oh, nothing ever lasts forever, sings Hunting Owls. Sounding more electronica than LVVRS, Hunting Owls is the moniker of Toronto’s Daniel Joseph Cohen. The bass lines in “Knives” are especially expressive. Who else remembers those years and having such longing in their thoughts, such disarray with their uncertain feelings? I like how “Knives” is murky-like, giving the listener an idea that life can be so confusing.
The synth-pop, New Wave-like tones continue with “I’m Okay” from Texas trio Honest Men. It’s very modern, with just the slightest fanfare of nostalgia. Things even out a bit with “Eva’s Journey” (Themes from The Never List) and then smoothly transitions to the pop song “Crazy” from Caroline Roman featuring TReighn. Moving along, by the time I got to “Do It All Louder” from Houston’s UCHé, I had found the track that I wanted to hit replay. UCHé’s festive approach and irresistible music bed is tight. I loved the splash this song made and the caffeinated scope. It’s a party, it’s an anthem to fight for the fun in your life.
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Of the remaining tracks, I also really enjoyed “Superfine” from Undecided Future. It continued that spontaneity. I’m not ignoring the middle section of songs (“Break Me”, “I Was Looking At You”, “Say That You Love Me” and more) because they aren’t prime time, but I was somehow more enamored with “Do It All Louder”.
Overall, these songs tell a story of their own. I loved the way they are in the same arena, but uniquely playing their own part moving the story forward. Isn’t that the point of any story – moving forward and not staying stagnant? I think we fondly remember soundtracks like Sixteen Candles or even Purple Rain because we have such a strong visualization to accompany the song. The Never List is one of those great albums, regardless of if you’ve seen the movie or not, that draws from some of music’s most exciting indie bands. These artists make up bands and solo artists from across the globe and at the end of the day, it’s yet another way music brings us all together.
by Chadwick Easton