The Spectacular Now

Music Composed By: Rob Simonsen

Songs By: Various Artists

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                The Spectacular Now stars Miles Teller as Sutter Keely, a popular high school senior who prides himself in living in the here and now, never thinking of consequences.  Dumped by his girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson), Keely goes on a drinking binge and finds himself being woken up by Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley).  Discovering he has fallen asleep on her front lawn, Sutter uses his charm on her, but finds himself equally charmed by this schoolmate he has never before notice.  But falling in love is never easy, especially when you haven't dealt with the demons that have been haunting you and which now threaten to destroy everything you have, including a budding relationship with the girl that might just be "the one."

                The Spectacular Now Soundtrack features songs by Ariel Pink, Kurt Vile and Phosphorescent and a musical score by American composer Rob Simonsen.  Surrounded by music as a youth and learning to play piano at a young age, it came as no surprise that Simonsen would pursue a career in music.  He began his film scoring career in 2003 with the independent film Westender and has since worked together with Mychael Danna on a number of projects, including The Life of Pi, 500 Days of Summer, Dollhouse and Blue Bloods.  He has also created the musical scores for the films All Good Things, Girl Most Likely and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

                The musical score of The Spectacular Now starts off with My Name is Sutter Keely, Sutter's cool high school senior theme, a rousing marching band flare, interrupted by somewhat more melancholy and disoriented keyboards.  Thus, we get our first impressions of Sutter, a charismatic, happy-go-lucky kid with another side kept hidden under an alcoholic stupor.  The soundtrack begins in a quirky keyboard style, but eventually becomes a bit dark and much less fun, never quite picking up again until the eighteenth track, Epictacular Then.  The score ends on an upbeat note, possibly denoting a happy ending to Sutter's problems. 

                The songs that follow are diverse in style and genre.  There's the alternative rock of Phosphorescent and it's dark description of love in Song for Zula and Ariel Pink's mystical funk track, Baby, describing love's beauty, but the final song is quite meaningful to the underlying theme in the film.  Wakin on a Pretty Day by Kurt Vile perfectly describes Sutter's inner destructive self, offering a clear view into what Sutter has become and what he longs to be.

                The Spectacular Now Soundtrack features a score that starts off interesting, then fades off into the boring until the eighteenth track.  While I understand that Simonsen did his best to reflect the downward spiral of the main character in the film, the score he created to do this was just not all that interesting.  Despite the few really decent tracks on this album, I can't find myself ever wanting to pay $20.00US for the CD or nearly $9.50US for the mp3 version of the album.  The Spectacular Now Soundtrack is nothing too spectacular and one I would pass on in the stores.


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at