Words by Brittany Norvell

The soundtrack to Wish I Was Here, a Zach Braff film, is another peek behind the curtain of selective indie brilliance, and the beautiful dance of music in motion pictures. Braff, who raised the bar and won over hearts and eardrums with the soundtrack to Garden State (a compilation that has now reached platinum status) considers himself an indie music aficionado; I agree and so should you.

Not only did he (along with the help of some trusted friends & film/music producers) pick some real gems for the Wish I Was Here soundtrack, he also sent the new film to the likes of James Mercer (The Shins, Broken Bells) and Chris Martin (Coldplay), asking that they view it and create new, original songs based off the their thoughts and feelings from the experience. Talk about art at its finest!

The soundtrack opens with an original score by one of Braff’s (and my) favorite bands. The Shins became much more mainstream after the release of Garden State and Natalie Portman’s now infamous movie line, “You gotta hear this one song, it’ll change your life; I swear.” Their new song, ‘So Now What’ holds true to the airy, mystic sound quality and soft-flying undulating vocals that, if you are familiar with The Shins, is already known.

And just how Garden State put The Shins and their music on the ‘mainstream’ map, Braff hopes to broaden Bon Iver’s fan base on this new compilation. He added two tracks by “already famous in the indie circle” artist, ‘Holocene’, and ‘Heavenly Father’.

Other highlights from the compilation include contributions from Gary Jules (‘Broke Window’), Radical Face (‘The Mute’), and Hozier’s ‘Cherry Wine’, which was recorded ‘live’ in the middle of a field, making this soft, melodic track a fun addition.

Paul Simon lends a song to the album with ‘The Obvious Child’, a bombastic tune with rhythmic drum beats that make for one of the few uptempo choices in this collection. Simon & Garfunkel were featured on Garden State, making Simon a “repeat- offender” and old school staple for Braff.

To spare you from me picking apart the album song by song, I’ll leave you with the title track ‘Wish I Was Here’, a collaboration of Cat Powers and Coldplay written specifically for the new film. With moments that are light, and dark, and haunting, the tune showcases everything Coldplay is, only enhanced with female vocals.

Taking all this into account, there are several other hard hitters on the soundtrack. Braff and company’s keen ear for music and personal connections to talent shine through this collection with the force of a dying sun. I’d advise anyone and everyone to go straight to their iTunes or Spotify accounts and give the soundtrack a listen from start to finish. After all, you never know – it could change your life.

‘Wish I Was Here’ Soundtrack
Various Artists
Columbia Records
© July 15th, 2014



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