The Secret Life of Walter Mitty OST (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
TWO dodgy cover versions aside, the soundtrack to Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty offers up a collection of songs that are as inspirational as the movie itself.
Indeed, the soundtrack is one of the movie’s most striking elements, with the selected tracks often accompanying breathtaking scenes of natural beauty involving its central character’s adventures. But it can also be enjoyed on its own merits, as a great compilation of songs.
Highlights include Jose Gonzalez’s sweeping Step Out, which has one of the most expansive choruses you’re likely to hear, whilst underlining that particular artist’s move away from the more traditionally acoustic backed to the epic. True, the verse remains intimate and stripped back but once the background harmonies kick in, the track is elevated to something quite sweeping and celebratory.
If anything, the influence of Gonzalez is felt throughout, with Of Monsters and Men’s Dirty Paw’s also providing a similar mix of folk-pop elements (slow build to extravagant chorus), while Junip – of which Gonzalez is a part of – providing two more great moments in Don’t Let It Pass and Far Away.
And Gonzalez has two more moments of his own with the intimate Stay Alive (another beautiful composition about love) and #9 Dream, which almost has a Lennon-esque quality about it. Gonzalez is undoubtedly the star of the soundtrack.
But worthy of mention, too, are Rogue Wave’s still brilliant and inspiring Lake Michigan (previously used on other soundtracks), which drops one of the best choruses ever, and Jack Johnson’s take on Rupert Holmes’ Escape (The Pina Colada Song), delivered in his own inimitable warm, campfire style. It’s a sing-along moment, if ever there was one.
One of the movie’s stars, Kristen Wiig, also teams up with David Bowie for a solid version of Space Oddity.
It’s only really two other cover versions that stand out as duds – Bahamas’ take on Human League’s Don’t You Want Me and Grace Mitchell’s version of Hall & Oates Maneater. The former is perhaps a little too brooding and plodding (although, to be fair, we’re not particular fans of the original), while the latter, while sweetly delivered, is also an update of a track that doesn’t really need updating in the first place.
In all other respects, though, this is a soundtrack that boasts so many classics it deserves to be owned whether you’ve seen the movie or not.
Download picks: Step Out, Dirty Paws, Stay Alive, Lake Michigan, Escape (The Pina Colada Song), Don’t Let It Pass, The Wolves & The Ravens