James Horner

The Chumscrubber [Original Motion Picture Score]

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The soundtrack to Chumscrubber -- not to be confused with the similarly named coming-of-age film Thumbsucker -- features a handful of pleasant, middling alt-rock songs and James Horner's darkly mischievous score. The sleepy cover of "Our House" by Phantom Planet (who are becoming nearly as ubiquitous on soundtracks from the 2000s as Smash Mouth were in the '90s) and Placebo's shimmery, druggy "Pure Morning" are the standouts among the rock tracks and capture the film's ironic take on suburbia. Meanwhile, Horner's score focuses on tiptoeing strings and xylophones and whimsical reed and piano melodies that nevertheless have palpable undercurrents of tension and danger, particularly on "Spreading Happiness All Around," "Pot Casserole," and "Digging Montage." However, the noisy, clanky guitar antics on "Parental Rift/The Chumscrubber" are just as obvious and heavy-handed as the track's name implies. While the score effectively sets the mood, it's not among Horner's most distinguished work, and the rock songs aren't especially creative, so it's hard to imagine Chumscrubber appealing to anyone except die-hard fans of Horner or the film.

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