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Final ‘OC Mix’ heads for cover with hit songs

Erin McGinn | Thursday, March 1, 2007

One of the numerous highlights of “The OC” was the strength and quality of its soundtrack. Each episode used a variety of current hits, as well as songs from less well-known bands that become popular due to their exposure on the show. On top of using these songs as background music, “The OC” frequently incorporated performances by bands such as Rooney and The Killers into episodes.

“The OC Mix 6: Covering Our Tracks” is the final soundtrack collection from the television show. This mix is unique because it is a collection of covers from songs that previously played a role on the television show.

In each episode of “The OC,” the songs are often as integral to the storyline as the dialogue, frequently adding a new dimension or highlighting an element of the plot. Because these individual songs play such an intertwining role with a specific plot element, the covers of these songs playing in an episode not only create their own unique moment but also evoke the memories and emotions of when the original song played. Typically whatever is going on in the storyline when the cover is played reflects back on what happened in the series when the song was previously used. The cover songs were mostly used in episodes from the fourth season.

Josh Schwartz, the creator of “The OC,” claims that “these are the happiest versions of some of the angstiest songs ever written.” This is true, in most of the cases.

The album opens with Goldspot’s cover of “Float On,” originally recorded by Modest Mouse. While Modest Mouse’s version would typically be considered a happy song, the cover by Goldspot is infinitely happier and catchier than the original version. After hearing the Goldspot version it’s difficult to even remember the tune to the original song. This version of “Float On” was prominently featured in “The Sleeping Beauty,” when Taylor tries to be Ryan’s sleep therapist.

Not all of the covers take on a happier spin. Mates of State covered Phantom Planet’s smash hit “California” in one of the more depressing songs on the album. Fans of the show will remember this version as the replacement theme song in “The Chrismukk-huh?” episode from this last season. Although this song is much less upbeat from the original version, it is still a quality song on its own.

Similar to the cover of “California” is Tally Hall’s cover of The Killers’ “Smile Like You Mean It.” Tally Hall’s version is slower and more drawn-out than the original version, while still being greatly enjoyable to listen to. Their cover was featured in last season’s New Year’s episode, “The Earth Girls Are Easy.”

Not all the covers appear as shiny and new as the aforementioned ones. “Come Into Our Room” by The M’s and John Paul White’s cover of “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head” are hardly arranged any differently from the original versions, and are even slightly weaker than their source material.

While not everything on “The OC Mix 6: Covering Our Tracks” stands out, there are definitely enough strong songs to make this album a worthwhile purchase. It is also a great way to end the solid collection of CDs that make up the soundtracks for “The OC.”

It’s absolutely necessary for fans of the show and those that enjoy the music that defined – and was defined by – “The OC.”