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Various Artists 

Juno: Music From the Motion Picture
(Rhino)

Too many movie tie-in collections put profits before cohesion. Tunes by widely disparate performers, most of whom just happen to record for companies affiliated with the film studio, wind up being tossed together willy-nilly in the hope that one of them will stick, thereby inducing fans to purchase all the other crap. In contrast, the best soundtracks enhance the flicks from which they sprang, even as they make a statement of their own. And Juno's CD companion more than accomplishes this goal. Onscreen, singer-songwriter Kimya Dawson's voice serves as a sort of Greek chorus for lead character Juno McGuff, the funniest pregnant teen in cinema history. The tack works on disc, too: Dawson figures in eight songs, including solo curios such as "Loose Lips" and beauties from her days with Moldy Peaches and Antsy Pants. Moreover, charming and/or creepy cuts by everyone from Buddy Holly and the Velvet Underground to Belle & Sebastian and Cat Power echo the protagonist's sensibility, even though many cuts were recorded decades apart.

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More by Michael Roberts

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