Girls – Volume 1: Music From The HBO Original Series
Fuelled By Ramen
Lena Dunham’s cult-TV hit, Girls, has become a new favourite show for me – I’m just catching up. It’s funny, sometimes brutal, frank, quirky – the acting is more than decent but the writing is brilliant. And occasionally music serves a scene well too; some thought appears to go into the music choices.
But TV soundtracks don’t work all that well – they are, more than film soundtracks, just an obvious cash-in, and you can imagine people buying this first volume of the soundtrack to Girls simply because they want to imagine themselves living a similar life/identifying further with the characters/sympathising – and that’s a sad thought really.
I was optimistic about this – giving the soundtrack a go before I’d even seen the show. And then returning to it while knee-deep in season one of the action.
There are some great tracks on this album – I dig Robyn’s Dancing On My Own – and liked how it was used to score a scene as both source music and a external piece of commentary-score simultaneously; it’s a great way to open a compilation too.
The music works in that it represents the characters, scenes, show – and references the hipster 20-somethings and early 30-somethings that appear in the show and are sent up by the show and, I presume, watch the show.
So it’s the usual TV soundtrack compilation mixed bag. Harper Simon is here, Paul Simon’s son – his boring debut album meant nothing but I can tolerate one song from him. Santigold is generally interesting, as she is here. And there are decent tracks from bands I don’t care about (Fleet Foxes, The Vaccines). There’s a nice reminder for me to reconnect with Belle & Sebastian and it’s always great to hear from Michael Penn, his inclusion here gives me some hope too – I like to imagine that he’s not the favourite/obvious for a lot of people buying this for Grouplove, The Echo-Friendly, Oh Land, Icona Pop and Fun. So maybe they’ll dig on a bit of Michael Penn and explore his catalogue further. I like thinking about that.
I like thinking about that more than I like listening to this whole album.
It works. And yet it doesn’t.
I’ll stick with the show. And a few key cuts and nice reminders from here. But this is not essential to my life. This is not representative of my life. And this is not something I need to continue enjoying the TV series.