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California not a quick fix for lack of quality music

Chris McGrady | Saturday, February 18, 2006

Music from The O.C.: Mix 5 may be characterized by the show’s theme song.

Everyone knows it from the hit Fox show The O.C. – by Phantom Planet, the piano-driven ballad proclaiming, “California here we come.” Although this song was catchy and maintained popularity through the first 2.7 million times it played, the tune has lost a bit of its nostalgia in recent months.

This song, along with nearly half a CD of musical equals, will collectively scream to you, “trash can here it comes.”

It’s not that the CD itself is entirely useless, but for the money, it doesn’t seem worth it. Along the lines of the plot of the show, the most recent installment of music from the show is mostly watered-down, bottom of the barrel slop. There are several bright spots on the CD, but for the most part, the substance of the music is thinner than Marissa Cooper.

The first track, “Rock and Roll Queen” by The Subways, is the type of indie-rock that has become a staple on The O.C. This is one of the better songs on the CD, giving a feeling of retro-rock that has become popular with the elevation of groups such as Jet and The Darkness.

But it seems that those in charge of the soundtrack for the show are running into the same problem as the writers – there is just not enough material.

This is evident in the second song from the CD, “Reason is Treason” by Kasabian.

Largely hollow and inconclusive, the song gives the listener no reason to stay until the end of the track. The first minute or so of the song is just some sort of moaning sound that is yet to be determined and is not entirely helpful to any sort of musical cause.

“Wish I Was Dead Pt. 2” by the Shout Out Louds is one of the best songs on the CD. It has the type of sad, morose vibe that makes you want to listen to the song on a rainy day. That is where the song’s power lies.

Track six is a remake of the classic song “Forever Young” done by Youth Group. While some things are better left alone, the remake is well done and definitely worth a listen.

The eighth song is “Kids with Guns” by the Gorillaz and is one of the only tracks by a well-known band. However, perhaps the band did not want to lend one of its better songs to a soundtrack, since the song is one of the group’s lesser efforts.

“Na Na Na Na Naah” by the Kaiser Chefs is probably the most over-done song in recent pop music history. Somewhere hidden between rock, retro, sci-fi techno and piano-ballads lays the genre of this song. Whoever rescued it from its awful starting place should kindly send it right back. The song will remind you of the third track, not for it’s musical similarity but for it’s title (Remember, track 3 was “Wish I Was Dead Pt. 2”).

The best two songs of the CD are in the last three tracks, the first of which is “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” by the Stars. The opening line to this song is “When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.” Assuming the listener has neither a) burned the CD in a fiery blaze of self-release or b) set themselves on fire by this point, the song is the best of the mix. Strong string harmonies and generous guitar riffs power this song to greatness.

The last song is “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap and has a very unusual sound. There are no instruments, but rather just voices that are layered heavily with effects. There is something about this song that is extraordinarily catchy.

Overall, the CD suffers from a lack of quality music. The good songs are really good, and the bad songs are really bad. But if O.C. fans can stand the bad half, this CD may just be worth some attention.