The soundtrack to Zach Braff's Garden State is nearly as much of a piece with the film as the similarly sweet, quirky combinations of sound and vision in Wes Anderson's films and soundtracks. Garden State, however, is more modern in its outlook and more emotionally direct, with a mixtape earnestness belied by using not one but two songs from the Shins' Oh, Inverted World. "New Slang" is an obvious choice, as the song just seems to grow in stature as time passes, but "Caring Is Creepy," Oh, Inverted World's vulnerable, ever-so-slightly unhinged opening track, is not, and adds to the personal, diary-like feel of the album. The bright poignancy of the Shins' tracks stands out even more among the low-key melancholy of songs like Coldplay's "Don't Panic," Remy Zero's "Fair," and Colin Hay's "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You." The inclusion of Hay's track, Bonnie Somerville's "Winding Road," and the Cary Brothers' "Blue Eyes" shows that Garden State doesn't go for the hipster, too-cool-for-school poses that one might expect from the soundtrack of a hot indie movie, even with the inclusion of Iron & Wine's cover of the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights." Still, there's something of a collegiate feel to the soundtrack, especially with the re-rediscovery of Nick Drake ("One of These Things First") and Simon & Garfunkel ("The Only Living Boy in New York") as well as the tentative forays into electronica and trip-hop like Zero 7's "In the Waiting Line," Frou Frou's "Let Go," and Thievery Corporation's "Lebanese Blonde." Perhaps this collegiate feel comes from the fact that those years are often the time when many people are the most ready and willing to explore music that is new to them (but not necessarily new), but, as the success of Garden State's soundtrack shows, any time can be the right time.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares