Album: Various Artists

Music from 'Coffee and Cigarettes', MILAN
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The Independent Culture

For me, the soundtracks to Jim Jarmusch's movies have generally proved more rewarding than the actual movies, their quick-change succession of tracks compensating for the films' lack of action and general longueurs. Coffee and Cigarettes, a monochrome compendium of café conversations seems unlikely to change my mind, despite a stellar cast that mixes old Jarmusch hands with cult actors, comic stylists and musicians. Once again, the soundtrack is a razor-sharp, eclectic selection which negotiates between various shades of teenage hoodlum rock'n'roll (The Stooges, Tommy James & The Shondells' psych-out classic "Crimson and Clover", Richard Berry's original "Louie, Louie"), a couple of Funkadelic wig-outs, pieces by Purcell and Mahler, and smatterings of ska, jazz and lounge music. The most impressive sequence is one in which Jarmusch down-changes smoothly from The Stooges' "Down on the Street" through The Skatalites, Modern Jazz Quartet, and Jerry Byrd's Hawaiian guitar instrumental "H

For me, the soundtracks to Jim Jarmusch's movies have generally proved more rewarding than the actual movies, their quick-change succession of tracks compensating for the films' lack of action and general longueurs. Coffee and Cigarettes, a monochrome compendium of café conversations seems unlikely to change my mind, despite a stellar cast that mixes old Jarmusch hands with cult actors, comic stylists and musicians. Once again, the soundtrack is a razor-sharp, eclectic selection which negotiates between various shades of teenage hoodlum rock'n'roll (The Stooges, Tommy James & The Shondells' psych-out classic "Crimson and Clover", Richard Berry's original "Louie, Louie"), a couple of Funkadelic wig-outs, pieces by Purcell and Mahler, and smatterings of ska, jazz and lounge music. The most impressive sequence is one in which Jarmusch down-changes smoothly from The Stooges' "Down on the Street" through The Skatalites, Modern Jazz Quartet, and Jerry Byrd's Hawaiian guitar instrumental "Hanalei Moon", to the polite elegance of Purcell's "Fantazia 3 in G Minor", then back up to Iggy's 1993 "Louie, Louie", the garage-punk classic revised to include the memorable assertion: "A fine little girl is waitin' for me/ But I'm as bent as Dostoevsky."

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