Sunshine Cleaning

Music By: Various Artists

Musical Score By: Michael Penn

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In the dramatic comedy Sunshine Cleaning, Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams) looks back on her time as the high school chearleading captain and wonders how she ever became a single mother working as a maid.  But then, the rest of her family haven't really done much better.  Her sister (Emily Blunt) lives at home with dad (Alan Arkin), a salesman whose get rich quick schemes always fail miserably.  In an effort to earn some more money so she can enroll her son in a better school, Rose persuades her sister to go into the crime scene clean-up business - its a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

            The soundtrack of Sunshine Cleaning features music from artists such as Golden Smog, Ken Andrews, Electrelane, Bodega, Emile Miller, David Maizlin and Norman Greenbaum.  The musical score of the film was composed by Michael Penn, brother of actors Sean and Chris who chose a career in music rather than acting.  His music career began with his debut hit album called March.  The first single from that album, No Myth, received recognition from MTV for the Best New Artist.  He began creating music for film in the early 90s and has amassed quite a résumé having composed musical scores for Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, The Anniversary Party, American Teen and The Last Kiss.

            After listening to the album Music from the Film: Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, the Sunshine Cleaning Soundtrack was just what the doctor ordered.  From the very first track, Cure for This, I knew I was going to enjoy this soundtrack.  Golden Smog's song was perfect for this film with lyrics that relate to the characters and their initial plight: "I've been working too hard at the office all year / I've been saving all my days for a break / So I've gotta get away with my baby for a time / If it's just for my sanity's sake."  that song is followed by musical score which is heavily dependent on guitars and percussion and features some strings, woodwinds and keyboards. 

            The musical score is rather uplifting and inspiring.  Being a fan of acoustic guitar, I loved that this score was heavily reliant on its sound.  The additional music selected to appear in the film reflects the feelings of the characters and the their experiences.  Besides Cure for This, Perfect Days by Ken Andrews, a song that reminds us not to look for perfect days but to enjoy what we have at the moment, is my favorite track.  And of course, I have always enjoyed the song Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum - "Goin' up to the spirit in the sky / That's where I'm gonna go when I die / When I die and they lay me to rest / Gonna go to the place that's the best..." -  a song that adds some humor to the storyline. 

            I had heard about Sunshine Cleaning prior to receiving this soundtrack and thought the movie's storyline was unique and rather interesting.  Now that I've listened to the soundtrack, I find that my interest in seeing this film has increased exponentially.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Sunshine Cleaning Soundtrack.  It will have an honored place in my movie soundtrack collection and has inspired me to go out and rent the film as soon as it becomes available.


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