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David Byrne

Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Music from the film YoungAdam
Thrill Jockey

In the relatively short history of music marketing, film soundtracks have played a fairly minor role. There's a good reason for that: Most of them are boring. The mini-saga of soundtracks, as it might be called, starts one day when a clever assistant at a big studio recognizes that the music commissioned for films can easily be repackaged and sold as souvenirs. According to some, the first important plot twist was the release of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack in 1994, which was one of the first to be considered required listening, regardless of whether you'd actually seen the movie.

Film soundtracks are now big business, and it's interesting to see that many characters from the underground -- such as ex-Shudder To Think's Craig Wedren -- are now scoring films full-time. Keep in mind, though, that David Byrne's soundtrack for Young Adam is really nothing more than atmospheric background music. It's evocative of sadness, loss and coming of age, and without even reviewing a synopsis, I would bet money that those are also the central themes of the film.

However, there are no radio-ready pop hits here, or for that matter any pop at all. The album seems to have been released almost as an afterthought, and although musicians from Mogwai and Belle & Sebastian play backup, Byrne's voice is heard on only two tracks. For Byrne completists, this soundtrack will certainly be a nice novelty. For the rest of us, well, let's just say the historical footnote ends there.

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