music mondays: inside llewyn davis


The Coen brothers’ new movie, Inside Llewyn Davis, isn’t out yet, but the soundtrack is currently streaming online. I’ve been excited for both the film and soundtrack for a few months now, so am happy to finally have one. Maybe it’s poor film etiquette to listen to the soundtrack so thoroughly before actually watching the movie, but. I don’t care.

I’m sure it doesn’t count for much to call myself a Coen fan, and I admit I haven’t seen all their films, but I’ve seen enough to expect good things. And as a folk music (and JT) lover, the trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis had me hooked immediately.

Some great things about the album:

  • Multiple features of the Punch Brothers (I’ve loved Chris Thile since I was 14)
  • It reminds me that I once liked Marcus Mumford
  • JT singing like a man with a beard and falsetto would sing
  • Adam Driver (AKA Hannah Horvath‘s crazy bf) “singing” about outer space with JT and Oscar Isaac

It speaks so loudly of the Coen brothers’ talent that they can make films in which the soundtrack and score act as another character (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and others in which the absence of any soundtrack or score (No Country For Old Men) serves as a vital plot device. Obviously T-Bone Burnett plays a huge role in the musical side of these films, but the Coens have to create the initial idea and environment in which music can grow to feature so largely in a film.

Another reason to love this soundtrack: Oscar Isaac is just such a treat. He sings “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me”, the album opener, with this folksy earnestness that I love. Isaac plays Llewyn Davis, a singer-songwriter making his way through the 60s NYC folk music scene. I doubt the Coens would have, but thank God they didn’t cast a lead actor without any singing talent. (Despite not seeing the movie yet, I know it would be less enjoyable with lip-syncing.) Isaac went to Juilliard and was the lead guitarist (and sang vocals) for the band The Blinking Underdogs.

Inside Llewyn Davis isn’t out until December 20. For now, I’ll settle for the soundtrack.


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