Music Review: “Music From the Motion Picture ‘American Teen’”
Director Nanette Burstein’s “American Teen” cuts closer to the adolescent experience than almost any recent film, and the documentary’s sound track benefits from a similarly on-the-mark sensibility. “American Teen” favors the underground aesthetic to ultra-slick pop, and while a few familiar names crop up (The New Pornographers, MGMT), the best tracks come from left field. There isn’t a unifying sound theory here, mainly because the songs are as wide-ranging as the teenagers Burstein followed.
“American Teen” bows with Black Kids’ “I’m Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You,” an exuberant blast of joy from the Jacksonville, Fla. band that could pass for one of The Cure’s less-gloomy pop hits. That reverie leads into choice cuts by The Ting Tings, Sunny Day Sets Fire and Jason Bentley’s remix of Frou Frou’s “Breathe In.” Sadly, side trips into classic rock (Cat Stevens’ “Trouble”) and cheese-pop (John Paul Young’s “Love is in the Air”) work in the film, but on the sound track, they play like iPod shuffling disasters.
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