Veteran music video director Mark Webb’s feature film debut, (500) Days of Summer, includes a soundtrack that plays, as you might expect, an important and integrated role. The first five minutes of the soundtrack align exactly with the film (think Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd). The main characters talk about some of the music on the soundtrack (they’re both very proud of themselves for liking the Smiths). They sing one of the songs at karaoke: the Pixies tune, “Here Comes Your Man,” which unfortunately appears on the album as an emaciated cover from Meaghan Smith. Female lead Zooey Deschanel even performs — with M. Ward under their She & Him moniker — one of the songs on the soundtrack, a beautifully wistful cover of the Smiths’ “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want.” The original Smiths recording also appears, along with another classic, “There is a Light That Never Goes Out.”
The soundtrack has some obligatory Hollywood soundtrack songs, too, like Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams” (used hilariously in the film) and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bookends.” The highlights, though, are the lesser-known tunes from the Temper Trap and Wolfmother. Regina Spektor also adds two of her great recordings. Unfortunately, the soundtrack doesn’t include some of the film’s strongest music: Mychael Danna’s swooning, cello-rich score, available separately. But it’s an altogether solid collection of songs, and it could potentially be the most successful cross-promotion soundtrack among pining college freshmen since Garden State.