Hitting cinema screens soon is the newest production directed by and starring Hollywood funny man Ben Stiller. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is based on the short story of the same name by James Thurber, starring Stiller as Walter Mitty and Kristen Wiig as his co-worker and love interest. The official soundtrack to the film offers an insight to the stars’ musical sides, as each song was selected by Stiller himself, and Kristen Wiig makes her first appearance on a soundtrack with a David Bowie cover.
The film revolves around Walter Mitty who is your token day-dreamer and disappears into his fantasy world to escape from his mundane and anonymous existence. When his world is threatened it’s time for him to take action in real life and transform the adventures from his fantasy world into reality.
The soundtrack suggests the tale is inspirational, adventurous and full of happy and melancholy twists and turns. It features a track from folk icon Jack Johnson, as well as indie group Of Monsters and Men, and a number of songs from Swedish folk singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez – both as a solo artist and as part of his band Junip. Kristen Wiig lends her vocals to David Bowie’s classic Space Oddity in a unique take on the track which remixes her version with Bowie’s original. Also on the note of covers, Grace Mitchell closes the album with her impressive and refreshing take of Hall & Oates’ Maneater.
The record begins with Jose Gonzalez’s Step Out, an uplifting sounding track which lifts and builds, sounding like the perfect song for significant movie moments. After a slight detour in the form of Of Monsters and Men’s beautiful Dirty Paws, there’s a three-track cluster of Jose Gonzalez on his own with Stay Alive and with Junip on Far Away and Don’t Let It Pass.
After the folky trio there is the upbeat Lake Michigan from Rogue Wave and Jack Johnson’s acoustic beachy rendition of Escape (The Pina Colada Song). The soundtrack is full of upbeat folk and inspirational tracks epitomised by no one better than the cool and laidback style of Mr Jack Johnson.
Keeping the acoustic theme going is Don’t You Want Me by Bahamas and The Weather Station and the smooth, flowing The Wolves & The Ravens by Rogue Valley which sounds like another track for a significant and meaningful scene.
Hidden towards the end is Kristen Wiig’s jam with David Bowie in the creative remix of Space Oddity. The spacey sounding track is impressive in both its production and in Wiig’s voice. Admittedly I was sceptical about Wiig’s vocal ability – assuming she was just another actress trying her hand at singing – but I was pleasantly surprised by her smooth pipes and vocal control.
Before Grace Mitchell closes the album with her Maneater cover, Jose Gonzalez makes one last appearance with #9 Dream – an aptly named title for such a dreamy and romantic sounding song which is reminiscent of George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord at times.
The soundtrack to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is full of dreamy folk songs which suggests that the movie is a slow moving, adventurous drama which is mostly upbeat. Ben Stiller has done a fine choice in selecting some great songs which will hopefully fit the movie well. Space Oddity and Step Out are two of the album’s highest points, as well as the closer Maneater which will likely linger in your head for hours after listening to it.