Various Artists - Hearts Beat Loud Soundtrack - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Various Artists - Hearts Beat Loud Soundtrack

by Brian Thompson Rating:7 Release Date:2018-06-08
Various Artists - Hearts Beat Loud Soundtrack
Various Artists - Hearts Beat Loud Soundtrack

One of the surprise hits out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Brett Haley’s (The Hero, I’ll See You in My Dreams) kind-hearted ode to the transformative power of music, Hearts Beat Loud. In order to frame the impassioned journey of a father and daughter forming an unlikely band, Haley enlisted the aid of frequent collaborator Keegan DeWitt to construct the lived-in soundtrack. The result was a memorable collection of energized, pulsating dance tunes.

Music is such an integral part of the film, particularly the songs that Frank (Nick Offerman) and Sam (Kiersey Clemons) write and perform together. Keegan DeWitt has quite a talent for crafting infectious pop earworms, and their context within this delicate familial portrait really cements their emotional significance. The music DeWitt wrote for the film had to be believable hits and he truly pulled through, with tracks like “Hearts Beat Loud” and “Blink (One Million Miles)” that listeners will find themselves humming long after leaving the theater. These songs get straight to the addictive beat and seem destined for a backyard get together, with cuts like “Everything Must Go” tossing in a breezy, island vibe.

Both of the film’s star performers shine on these tracks, playing under the ironic moniker We’re Not a Band, which sums up their approach to songwriting. Kiersey Clemons has tremendous pipes, as she showcases on the soundtrack’s first three tunes. On “Shut Your Eyes,” Nick Offerman is given a tender singer-songwriter moment. The leads’ onscreen chemistry translates into their musical collaboration, with each bringing their unique strengths to the project. Their vocal delivery is as personal and vulnerable as if they had written the lyrics themselves.

Even the instrumental tracks (from “Red Hook” to “Help Wanted”), although an affecting film score, would feel at home on a pop radio station or on the summer festival circuit. The soundtrack continues to blossom along with the tonal shift of the narrative, guiding the characters throughout their trials and triumphs, rather than the other way around. DeWitt works through his musical notions from various angles, as in the stripped-down reworking of “Hearts Beat Loud” or the ambient, voiceless rendition of “Everything Must Go.” The soundtrack is rounded off with an indie favorite, Mitski’s “Your Best American Girl.”

DeWitt was tasked with crafting songs that would make these characters Internet stars overnight, as well as scoring a film that was already preaching the gospel of music. He succeeded on both counts, making universal tales of love and loss feel endearingly personal. Much of the success of the film’s crowd-pleasing tale is a direct result of this bouncy, reflective soundtrack. Whatever Haley and DeWitt cook up next is sure to be a real treat.

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