First of all, kudos to whoever was responsible for the overall track sequence of this mostly excellent and extremely diverse collection of music. The reason? There was really no need to skip past most of these tracks during my first couple of times through the disc, even though the 1-2-3 punch of My Morning Jacket, Death Cab For Cutie, and Imogen Heap late in the CD tempted me to go right to those tracks first. There are some minor issues with this compilation, but first comes the positive side of it.
A taste of the hit NBC drama series’ music starts off the disc, as both tracks one and two are compositions by the duo behind Heroes’ otherworldly and theatric music that accompanies many scenes of the show, Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman. Then comes a mix of mostly new songs by legendary singers and popular alternative acts who were sought out specifically for this compilation, along with some more of Wendy & Lisa and some new age-ish tunes.
Coming in at track three, the new Brighton Port Authority/Iggy Pop collaboration “He’s Frank” has an addictive, memorable organ line and some catchy staccato guitar chords, all of which makes for a great cover of a song originally done by an English post-punk band called The Monochrome Set from the late 1970s.
Elsewhere, country-tinged rock band My Morning Jacket’s new track “Chills” is soft and slightly spacious, but sleepy. It’s not bad, but they’ve had prettier and more memorable chill-out tunes than this one, which sounds more like a good b-side from their much acclaimed last record, Z.
As for the DCFC track "Jealousy Rides With Me," it may be new to some people but it was actually a bonus track on an import version of the band's 2005 album Plans. It's a light guitar ballad in the vein of slow tracks from their early records. In fact, the pace is so slow that, relative to the show, it could be the soundtrack to time slowing down. Lyricist/guitarist Ben Gibbard sings: “Jealousy rides with me/such a companion no one could be/for a journey that leads to the outskirts of time.”
The electronic pop genius known as Imogen Heap offers up warped beats on new track "Not Now, But Soon,” the enchanting sounds of which you could see being used to soundtrack Heroes character Hiro’s scenes. By any standard, it’s a very good song, but not her best, for sure. The newly released “Weightless” by Nada Surf, by contrast, is one of the best rockers I’ve heard by that group in a long time.
If you’re looking for lyrics and music that definitely fit this TV series, Bob Dylan’s "Man In The Long Black Coat" stands out. It could soundtrack (the serial killer) character Sylar’s scenes for example, as Dylan’s deeply poetic, yet dark and low-singing voice brings a different, more sinister mood to the disc. And of course, David Bowie’s oft-covered and passion-filled classic “Heroes” rounds out the eighteen-song long compilation on an uplifting note.
All the songs here are likeable, but I don’t see how some of them fit with the idea of the show, especially the Chemical Brothers/Spank Rock track “Keeping My Composure” and Jesus & Mary Chain's "All Things Must Pass." The former is a very well done genre pusher and borderline chaotic slice of electronica/rap, while the latter is a standard, cool midtempo rocker that any college rock group could probably write, but without much energy in the decidedly laid-back vocals. Hey, it’s great that JAMC’s back in action, but this track is no match for its ‘80s or even ‘90s work.
The only other small complaint about this compilation is its small sampling of Heroes music; the actual “theme” of the show begins the disc but is only thirteen seconds long, and only four compositions Wendy and Lisa wrote for it are included here overall. To satisfy all fans of the show and its popular musical selections then, the show’s producers should think about putting together a soundtrack made of the best scores from its first couple of seasons. [The third season of Heroes starts in September]
Lastly, 2007 was widely regarded as a great year for soundtracks, with Juno, Into The Wild and Once being among the more notable ones. Fortunately, you didn't have to wait long this year to find new ones to rave about, as the Heroes soundtrack is a mostly enjoyable compilation for anyone with a wide-ranging taste in music, even if some of the selections don’t make a whole lot of sense, thematically. I recommend it and give it .
For more info about the Heroes soundtrack and to check out some incredible artwork that comes with the disc, click here.