Director Wes Anderson's upcoming Moonrise Kingdom is easily one of the most anticipated movies of 2012, coming to theaters on May 25, mainly because his movies are like catnip for hipsters and amateur cinéastes alike, and feature completely engrossing soundtracks.
From the garage-rock throwdown of Rushmore to Seu Jorge doing acoustic Bowie songs in Portuguese for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, they are events unto themselves. When a new Anderson film is announced, in the back of your mind you are wondering about the music he's going to rustle up too for the tale of a pair of runaway teen lovers.
In the liner notes, Anderson fills us in on the Benjamin Britten opera that courses through the film and soundtrack, based on the biblical tale of Noah and the Ark. Anderson first encountered the opera as a child attending St. Francis Episcopal Day School here in Houston with his older brothers. Meant to be performed by churches and schools, the opera helped inspire the Moonrise plot.
The disc that accompanies Moonrise continues the Anderson tradition of including his friend and collaborator Mark Mothersbaugh -- he shows up for one cut, really -- in the mix, with selected pop songs thrown in. Composers Leonard Bernstein and Alexandre Desplat are also included.
However, this time around, the featured artist is Hank Williams Sr., making for a fun and jarring ride. Classical and classic country finally meet, and it works. A Britten selection intros Williams's "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" for one; "Ramblin' Man" and "Kaw-Liga" also stop by to visit.
As far as Anderson soundtracks go, this is one of his more subdued collections, and will be a good lounging compilation for rainy days and long nights. It's not the rave-up that Rushmore was, or a pop powerhouse like The Royal Tenenbaums.
For my money, though, the disc for 2009's Fantastic Mr. Fox is criminally underrated. I mean, it had Burl Ives and Jarvis Cocker side by side.
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Anderson fanatics and classical heads will surely enjoy the Moonrise disc. Now we all just need to see the flick to see where it all fits.
(And yes, in a few weeks we will look back at all the Anderson film soundtracks.)