The Onion’s A.V. Club said of the movie Paper Heart, “This isn’t a movie. It’s a myspace page.” The soundtrack, on the other hand, featuring actors Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera, among others, is actually a soundtrack. It’s almost all instrumental, with the exception of the saccharine “Magic Perfume,” in which Charlen Yi sings and reveals her Rivers Cuomo-esque melodic sense. The rest of the songs remain understated, and the moviestar musicians successfully avoid leaving any recognizable celebrity footprint on the album.
The sound, in some ways, is reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens and the Danielson Family. Melodic themes tastefully and effectively recur in songs like “Mike Modrak,” “Don & Sally,” and “Sid & Mary Beth.” The recurrences and re-explorations create an interesting motif, so that the melody is not the natural focus, as it often would be in pop songs. Instead, the drama comes from the way in which each song presents the melody differently, like the development of melodic material in a symphony.