Soundtrack Review: LIFE AS WE KNOW IT
On the surface, LIFE AS WE KNOW IT seems like your standard issue romantic-comedy, but the basis of the story is rooted in something much more tragic than simply not ending up with the right guy. The idea of unexpectedly losing one’s best friend is heartbreaking, but to then be left with a little part of them, and then for that little part to be a living and breathing baby is even more formidable. How does one put music to this world? The soundtrack leans more towards the upbeat end of things and helped in keeping the story moving along.
A mix of pop, rock, blues and singer/songwriters, the soundtrack covers a wide range of styles. Amy Winehouse kicks things off with “You Know I’m No Good” – an ominous song title seeing as the film opens on a first date and Beggars keep up the pace with “You and Me.” Mozella’s “Love Is Endless” and the HotRats’ aptly titled “Pump It Up” all continue this lively feeling. But we also get a heartfelt track from Ray LaMontagne with “Three More Days” and Katherine Heigl’s real-life husband, Josh Kelley, slows things down a bit with “Tidal Wave.”
My favorite track had to be Bruno Merz’s “For You Now” which was reminiscent of Joshua Radin in its simplistic and stripped down melody. I also liked Taken By Trees’ folksy take on Guns N’ Roses’ rock ballad “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” I found it to be a perfect song choice considering our third main character, scene stealer Sophie (Alexis, Brynn, and Brooke Clagett), is the perfect combination of innocence and difficulty that only a one year can be and the normally rock-driven tune is given a softer side here.
And I don’t know if there was an unspoken rule issued at the beginning of the year that all soundtracks must now include a song from The Black Keys, but I for one am not complaining. They have shot to the top of my favorites list and I admittedly get excited each time I see their name on the line-up, this time with “Your Touch.”
Overall I enjoyed the film, but all throughout I felt like something was missing and I could not quite put my finger on why. Stylistically, LIFE AS WE KNOW IT may look like a Nancy Meyers film (IT’S COMPLICATED, THE HOLIDAY), but it certainly didn’t sound like one. And by that I mean it was lacking an overall score. The scores in Ms. Meyers’ films may not be groundbreaking, but they succeed in helping round out the story and adding emotional resonance. My heart clutched when I watched two of our main characters realize they had lost two of their closest friends, but I felt a specific theme for either character or even the moment itself would have really tied things together.
Composer Blake Neely did provided original music to the film and one of his pieces, “Suite From Life As We Know It,” is included on the soundtrack. Although the track is pretty as it waltzes around, it is also too easily forgettable.
There are a handful of songs I enjoyed included here, but some of the choices to seem to be randomly thrown together. When a mix of songs works, it does so without reason or explanation. It simply just sounds right. And when it doesn’t or one or two tracks stick out, it ends up being the only thing you think about. Everything worked well within the film itself, nothing stood out to me either good or bad, but standing alone on the soundtrack, the selections felt a little haphazard to me.
This soundtrack is available through WaterTower Music.
1. “You Know I’m No Good” – Amy Winehouse
2. “You And Me” – Beggars
3. “Your Touch” – The Black Keys
4. “Tidal Wave” – Josh Kelley
5. “Love Is Endless” – Mozella
6. “Something In Common” – Free Energy
7. “Pump It Up” – The Hotrats
8. “Three More Days” – Ray LaMontagne
9. “For You Now” – Bruno Merz
10. “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” – Roberta
11. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Taken By Trees
12. “Suite From Life As We Know It” – Blake Neely