Review: 'Paper Towns' soundtrack has modern, retro feel

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Various Artists, "Paper Towns Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (Atlantic Records)

As soundtracks go, "Paper Towns" comes close to perfection in the job it performs. It works as the optimum seasoning to the main dish — the movie — but its enchanting composition also works as a stand-alone amuse-bouche.

The youthful energy of the protagonists is the common thread throughout the 16-track playlist, with sparkly contemporary electro pop beats and '80s-suffused chords. If one were to peel back the modern beats — say the exotic brass from Santigold's "Radio" or the languid drums from Sam Bruno's "Search Party" — one would end up in the perfectly respectable world of a John Hughes' film soundtrack.

Galantis' urgently upbeat "Runaway (U & I)" adds the most contemporary feel to the album, while Kindness' "Swinging Party" takes one on an eerie trip. The War On Drugs' "Burning" is the Springsteen of the soundtrack with a natural rock swagger, and Haim's "Falling" is a crowd-pleaser.

But it is Son Lux's wailing and ticking on "Lost It to Trying" that becomes the belle of the ball.