One of the most pleasant surprises in popular music is Juno’s extended run on the Billboard charts. Picking up with the “little movie that could” tag that was bestowed on the $100-million plus indie hit, the soundtrack’s success is equally compelling. Think of it – in the March 5 list of the Billboard Top 10 Albums, a soundtrack featuring Belle & Sebastian, The Moldy Peaches, Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground and Cat Power [Ed.'s Note: And let's not forget Mott The Hoople...] is snug up against the Hannah Montana soundtrack and Janet Jackson’s latest album. And judging by the lackluster sales of Janet Jackson’s album, it looks like Juno will probably still be in the Top 10 when
The last successful soundtrack by artists who generally didn’t see the light of day on the Billboard charts was O Brother, Where Art Thou? But unlike O Brother, which introduced millions of new listeners to a new type of music (heavily steeped in tradition), Juno is mostly warm and familiar. The Kinks’ well-known hit “A Well Respected Man” is featured, not to mention “
Most great soundtracks by various artists have an anchor. Think Simon & Garfunkel with The Graduate or Aimee Mann for Magnolia. For Juno, it’s The Moldy Peaches and co-founder Kimya Dawson.
In the rapid-fire “Loose Lips,” Dawson lets loose a blinding array of scattered thoughts, like “I’ll drop kick Russell Stover, move into the starting over house/And know Matt Rouse and jest we are watching me achieve my dream /and we’ll pray, all damn day, every day/That the shit our president has got us in will go away.”
That song is bookended at the end by Michael Cera and Ellen Page’s cover of it. Their cover sums up the movie as well as soundtrack: scrappy, imperfect and executed with a carelessness that may bring some people to mistakenly assume “I could have written that.” Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth.