Various Artists Jennifer's Body Review

Released 2009.  

BBC Review

While the film packs bite, its soundtrack is relatively toothless.

Mike Diver 2009

Screenwriter Diablo Cody’s follow-up to Juno is similarly snappy of dialogue, but delivers rather more bite – its central antagonist is a man-eating demon. Critics have been divided, but the movie furthers Cody’s reputation for reaching out to impressionable audiences with an attractively loquacious lexicon ripe for assimilating.

And just as Jennifer’s Body has failed to match Juno’s success at multiplexes, this soundtrack underperforms in comparison to the Kimya Dawson-featuring disc accompanying Cody’s teen-pregnancy flick. The quirky collision of artists old and new on Juno amplified its unique selling point: that it was probably the coolest, yet geekiest, film of the year. This assortment of acts says nothing of its parent film, beyond the occasional reference to school days and nods to something nasty coming this way: “No-one is safe in these streets,” purrs Little Boots on her top 20 single New in Town.

The double-header of Paramore’s Hayley Williams and the recently remodelled Panic! At the Disco is sure to flick target-audience emo-kid switches. Paramore seem to have become synonymous with the rise of Twilight, and while Jennifer’s Body isn’t a vampire movie, its flesh-chomping anti-hero is sure to spawn her share of posters on walls. In other words, a subtle association can’t hurt, and Williams’ song, Teenagers, is new for this release. Panic’s New Perspective is similarly freshly minted, but lacks the sparkle of the band’s first two albums.

But at least the two have a little swagger to them – Low Shoulder’s Through the Trees is a dire guitar ballad that’d make Nickelback cringe. The song’s so terrible, but so effective in its faux emoting, that it’s certain to lead to big things for its maker – try to forget where you heard him first. Elsewhere, bands with little to no mainstream recognition in the UK don’t particularly argue strong cases for themselves – Cute Is What We Aim For are a wussier Weezer, Cobra Starship hawk hackneyed electro-pop, and Screeching Weasel’s punked-up cover of I Can See Clearly Now is entirely unbearable.

Florence + the Machine, White Lies and Little Boots comprise the British contingent, but inclusion is presumably with an eye on making inroads into America rather than the complementing of any narrative. But then again, just how seriously can one take a film where a model-looks actress goes around eating boys? Smile and the world smiles with you; don’t, and it eats your face. Apparently.

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