Hippo Manchester
September 29, 2005

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CD Reviews
by Lisa Parsons

Weeds Soundtrack

Bulletproof Recording Company, Rykodisc, 2005

****

If you haven’t seen Weeds, a series on Showtime, you wouldn’t know to buy this. I’m here to tell you: this is a fan-freaking-good album.

Some of the music is political and speaks of a darkness, at least a mystery, hidden behind cheery exteriors — particularly the show’s opening song, “Little Boxes,” by 1960s protest singer Malvina Reynolds; it’s a can’t-get-it-out-of-my-head number satirizing cookie-cutter people in cookie-cutter houses just like the one from which suburban mom Nancy Botwin, the show’s central character, deals marijuana in her spare time.

And some of the music is simple laid-back accompaniment for mellow moments, like “Wacky Tobacky” by NRBQ. Many of the tunes have a spacy, dreamy quality (go figure — although most of the characters in Weeds are, at least so far, usually stone sober). Sufjan Stevens’ “All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands” is four minutes of spacy banjo and quiet mulling overtaken by hypnotic la-da-das. Michael Franti & Spearhead’s “Ganja Babe” is a spacy rap/reggae vibe; “More Than a Friend” by the band All Too Much is spacy rock akin to Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles. The Be Good Tanyas’ “The Littlest Birds” is spacy bluegrass/folk.

The album closes with the apt “Satan Lend Me a Dollar,” a rollicking pirate song — OK, it was written by college kids in 1990, but it sounds like a pirate song.

The whole package is wildly eclectic but wonderfully coherent.

It’s highly likely you haven’t heard all the artists on this disc. And I’m wagering you’ll like at least one of them. So, besides being a good soundtrack for doing your homework (or paying bills or scrubbing floors), it might be your introduction to some musicians you’ll be glad you met.