It’s a Christmas miracle! Well, not exactly, but for our final Album Preview feature for 2013 we figured we’d celebrate with the soundtrack to one of the most anticipated films of the holiday season, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Ben Stiller offers a personal take on the classic James Thurber story as he both stars and directs the film. The soundtrack gets an equally personal approach as Stiller himself was actively involved in the selections, which range from popular favorites as Of Monsters & Men and Jack Johnson to less familiar names (although certainly familiar to KCRW fans) as José González, Rogue Wave & Bahamas.
González seems specifically to fit Stiller’s aesthetic, as he appears multiple times, both with new tracks under his name (including a John Lennon cover), as well as with his band Junip. Bahamas reduces the Human League’s electro-pop perennial “Don’t You Want Me” to a hushed acoustic plea. Newcomer Grace Mitchell takes on soon-to-be Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Hall & Oates’ “Maneater.” Rogue Wave are represented with their indie fave of a few years back, “Lake Michigan,” while Jack Johnson puts on his yachting cap for his cover of Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).” (The Kristen Wiig-augmented version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” appears on the released album, but unfortunately is not available to stream.) The overall effect is that of quiet otherworldliness, which likely will suit the flights of imagination depicted in the film. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens December 25.
-ERIC J. LAWRENCE
1. Step Out // José González
2. Dirty Paws // Of Monsters And Men
3. Stay Alive // José González
4. Far Away // Junip
5. Don't Let It Pass // Junip
6. Lake Michigan // Rogue Wave
7. Escape (The Pina Colada Song) // Jack Johnson
8. Don't You Want Me [feat. The Weather Station] // Bahamas
9. The Wolves & The Ravens // Rogue Valley
10. #9 Dream // José González
11. Maneater // Grace Mitchell