July 20, 2005

Various Artists "Six Feet Under: Everything Ends"

Another day, another television show with a uber-hip soundtrack. Since when did these things all of a sudden become the buffet for cool credibility? Okay, okay, so maybe that's not necessarily a bad thing, but still, it's a bit annoying, as it seems soundtracks are used for no reason than to cash in on a show's popularity. As far as soundtracks go, the producers tapped the well of some of today's bigger indie-rock and alternative bands, and the resulting Six Feet Under: Everything Ends isn't that bad. As many of these songs are previously released, there's not a commonality running through their material, but the overall bleakness of their music really fits the show's undertaker theme. What makes the soundtrack problematic is that the offerings from Radiohead, Coldplay, Nina Simone, Phoenix and Death Cab For Cutie are from records that the listeners probably own.

Ah, but there are a few goodies on this soundtrack collection, and for those of you who are fans of these bands, they're quite wonderful. Jem's breathy, sexy trip-hop "Amazing Life" is really, really nice, and makes me want to hear more. Interpol offer up a new track, and it's as miserable and morbid as you'd expect from a Joy Division-aping band. It's a morose song, with a bit of a funereal beat and vocals so muffled and faint, you'll initially think the song's instrumental. The Arcade Fire (who fit with the whole death thing because songs about death is their gimmick) offer up "Cold Wind," which is a new track, and their first new song since their debut album's release, and it's not bad. But the best one here is a killer cover of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by The Caesears, whose greatness has yet to be fully appreciated. Their cover is crunchy and raw in their garage-rock way, and though it's not as ominous as the original, it's still a fun and fitting song.

All in all, Six Feet Under is a pretty dark and darkly pretty soundtrack. It's enjoyable, it's hip, it's cool and it's a bit depressing--which, of course, also describes the television show. Six Feet Under: Everything Ends is a good soundtrack and a good sampler for those rare souls who might not be familiar with some of today's better alternative bands.

--Joseph Kyle

Label Website: http://www.astralwerks.com

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