This will be a very honest review of each song on the soundtrack, and whether or not you should spend your cash on the whole CD, or just individual MP3 songs - long story short, every song is unique and this deserves to be bought, but you're reading this for a reason. As a whole, I love the soundtrack, I've listened to it 4 times through so far, and I still can't get enough of it. The songs fit so perfectly with the film, I'd like to know who was in charge of selecting them because they have exceptional taste. Onto the review:
1. Intro/Tokyo (Various Artists) - A very short track, 34 seconds long, it opens with an ominous bong sound, I forget what it's called, before you hear what I imagine would be the sounds of everyday Tokyo on the streets, lots of hustle and bustle, people talking, announcements being made, cars, horns etc.
2. City Girl (Kevin Shields) - Kevin Shields made this song for Lost In Translation, while he was still in hiatus from My Bloody Valentine who weren't together at the time. The track drifts along nicely, it's easy listening, with superb guitar work, lots of nice effects in the background I can't quite place, and dreamy vocals. It's like you're in a dream when you're hearing this song, very very good, 5/5.
3. Fantino (Sebastien Tellier) - A hugely talented musician, Tellier brings a sense of emptiness to the soundtrack, when Charlotte is bored and wants to start discovering herself in Tokyo. My only complaint is it isn't longer, I wouldn't say it's essential, in my opinion, it's still very good but feels slightly out of place. 4/5.
4. Tommib (Squarepusher) - An uterly compelling song, I'm mesmorised by it. Again it's too short, far too short in this case, an extended version on Youtube wouldn't go amiss *hint hint*. People have said the song reminds them of lost relatives, it's the song they want played at their parents/friends/etc funeral. I wouldn't go that far, but it is I think the 2nd best song on the soundtrack. 5/5
5. Girls (Death In Vegas) - The most famous song on the soundtrack, hugely known now because it was used when you first see Bill Murray sleeping in the taxi arriving in Tokyo. The dream effect comes back here, to me it portrays something that's too much for you to comprehend, in this case the massive city of Tokyo, and how confusing it can be for a foreigner. A brilliant song. 5/5
6. Goodbye (Kevin Shields) - I can't remember where this fits in with the film, surely it must be obvious seeing as the song's called Goodbye, but then why would it be used not even halfway through the soundtrack? It's another beautiful song, I feel it's a little basic, it repeats a lot, I think he's trying to achieve the Brain Eno effect, but it's not a bad job either. 3.5/5
7. Too Young (Phoenix) - Having never heard of the band before, it initially sounded out of place, but on repeated listens it reveals its genius. I just read it's played when Bill and Scarlett are partying with the Japanese people in a club, and it fits in perfectly well when you know this. Just dance to it and have a great time. 5/5
8. Kaze Wo Atsumete (はっぴいえんど - Happy End) - This is a basic song, and reminds me a little of Hey There Delilah by Plain White T's, but obviously they're not at all similar. I don't really know what to say, it's a breezy song, it floats along nicely, what else can be said? I have no idea what they're saying but it sounds nice. 3.5/5
9. On The Subway (Brian Reitzell & Roger J. Manning Jr) - Amazing song yet again, but still not my favourite on the CD. It plays when Charlotte is 'on the subway' travelling around Tokyo. A techno/electronic/ambient song with hints of punk thrown in, to me anyway, the way the song closes out is technically brilliant, but it's jarring, ends too soon and slightly hampers the song. 3/5
10. Ikebana (Kevin Shields) - This plays when Charlotte stumbles across an Ikebana training session - flower arrangements basically. They rope her into making her own, it's a nice sweet scene, & another good moment in the film. 4/5
11. Sometimes (My Bloody Valentine) - A very interesting song, I've read the lyrics and still don't understand what it's about - lost love? Suicide? It's not a beautiful song to me, it's very good but it's not beautiful, I can't stop listening to it though, which is the sign of a good song. 4/5
12. Alone In Kyoto (Air) - This song is currently being used in a car advert, and so now you have a lot more people who know and like the song. It's beautiful, and memorising, and the best song on the CD by far. It's the best song, but it's not my favourite song, if that makes any sense, the last song is my favourite, because of how it fits in with the ending. 5/5
13. Shibuya (Brian Reitzell & Roger J. Manning Jr) - This plays when Charlotte walks through the Shibuya crossing, on the packed streets of Tokyo, and she sees the big advert on the side of the building. Just a small moment in the film, I can't describe it that much. The whole song doesn't play in the film either, only about a minute is used. 3/5
14. Are You Awake? (Kevin Shields) - This plays near the end of the film when Bob is close to leaving Tokyo for good, and Charlotte slips a note under the door which is the song name. They go downstairs I believe to the bar, and chat the night away, before an emotional goodbye that Bob thinks is the last one..
15. Just Like Honey & Hidden Track (The Jesus & Mary Chain, & Bill Murray) - My favourite song on the soundtrack, because it has a very strong message behind it, and it was a master-stroke getting this in the film. Let's analyse some of the lyrics. 'Moving up and so alive, In her honey dripping beehive.. Beehive.. It's good, so good, it's so good.. So good' -I take that to mean, either moving up and away from her constantly travelling husband, or from Bob Harris, or simply up and away from Tokyo and back home to the USA. You can take that meaning and apply it multiple ways. The other lyric, 'Walking back to you, Is the hardest thing that I can do.. That I can do for you.. For you' - Again, this could mean multiple things, either going back to her husband after her fling with Bob, or moving away from her husband and going with Bob for the rest of their lives. It means it's so hard to go back after the experience she's had with one or the other. So her fling with Bob might turn out to be serious and she leaves her husband, which is therefore the hardest thing to do, or she goes back to her husband, leaving behind the man who made her very happy in a strange foreign place in a short space of time. The other song, after about a soundless 8 minute gap, is the 'More Than This' song by Roxy Music that Murray sings at the karaoke bar with Charlotte and her friends. He actually does a good job! I like his rendition, and it's a great end to a great soundtrack. I have to give it 5/5 overall, the good songs far outweigh the ones not as good, even though they're still excellent to listen to. Buy it. Buy it now.