Rushmore: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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The Rushmore soundtrack manages to pleasantly skirt the line between sentiment and sentimentality with a nuanced eminently listenable combo of score and song. The songs mostly blend raw adolescent urges and insecurity with an awkward grace. Though composed primarily of popular music from the 1960s none of the selections is a hit of the expected Big Chill variety. In fact compiler Randall Poster proves himself a '60s pop connoisseur including little-known gems such as Cat Stevens's buoyant hummable "Here Comes My Baby" (covered by Yo La Tengo on Fakebook) and the Who 's revved-up intentionally silly proto-opera "A Quick One While He's Away." The bossa nova folk-pop of Unit 4+2's "Concrete & Clay" is lovingly contrasted by the Creation's blistering feedback-enhanced hit-that-never-was "Making Time." Devo founder Mark Mothersbaugh's incidental music is nothing short of delightful but the Rugrats composer clearly comes by whimsy easily. The intriguing thing about Mothersbaugh's score--seven snippets from which are sprinkled throughout the disc--is that it complements the archival tunes while combining Beethoven-lite flourishes and jazzy instrumentation with percolating mod keyboards. Like the film itself this soundtrack is an inspired left-field effort and it's difficult to plot out its many charms. --Mike McGonigal