The Edge of Seventeen, coming to theaters this Friday, is an ode to the awkwardness of teenage transition. The uncomfortable age, for many of us, is the time we discovered the glory of rock music. The movie soundtrack for this film may not be the metal connected to our youth, but the spirit of rock lives in the theme. The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack is a memento to youth’s complexities, giving a sample of what the movie might deliver.
The opening Santigold track “Who I Thought You Were,” summarizes the universal frustrations in dating endeavors. It’s the quirky-girl backdrop of your first crush and the inevitable heartbreak leering in the distance.
There isn’t time to dwell on that impact memoir as The Struts toss in with “Ballroom Blitz.” The swinging rock meant for a night of hip shimmying and stress abandonment makes the responsibilities of tomorrow a faraway consideration. Celebrate the night, live the now, and be open to a game of backseat bingo with your newly acquainted partner. Sure, that might not be the lyrical motivation, but by George, the feeling of the music inspires freedom.
A switch in sound is introduced by Anderson Paak, featuring ScHoolboy Q., with the funky groove of “Am I Wrong.” The track induces a mental slideshow of early 90’s flashbacks, lava lamps, and to cool for school swag. Smooth and to the point, just as the genre was meant to be, euphoria is rampant in its sound. From here the flow continues into the falsetto strut of Two Door Cinema Club’s “Bad Decisions.” The collection of the time doesn’t end there as A$AP Ferg captures the decade in the hip-hop track “Pshyco.”
The Edge of Seventeen is a loaded playlist set to shuffle. Proven by the Aimee Mann song “Save Me,” her acoustic soothing and steady rhythm provides clarity in gentle vocals. Aimee Mann carries a voice offering a light touch of temperance and soft languish. The reverie continues with the audio satisfaction of Miike Snow in “Genghis Khan.” It’s a current hit of pizzazz with refreshingly catchy beats and stacked octave singing.
By this point, the album developed a comfortable pattern, until Cloves sashayed in with “Don’t You Wait.” Cloves’ glamorous vocals of a 1940’s starlet are a silky blend to the guitar strumming of today’s hits. This is a diamond of innovation and a girl’s best friend.
Just as you thought things were getting serious, Miles Betterman slaps down “The Dickhead Song” with a piano accompanied riot. The playground fun hides a sarcastic and bitter tone, stressed by a smirking disposition.
From The 1975’s reversed 80’s pop playback of “Somebody Else” to the trumpet fronted summer harmony of Generationals‘ track “When They Fight They Fight,” this record offers a nonstop chatter of unique phonics. Ever-changing and image inducing, the record features variety in musical history with the Black Pistal Fire blues-rock throwback in “Hard Luck” and Phantogram’s breathy femininity caught in the haunting vinyl track “When I’m Small.”
Angus and Julia Stone handle “Big Jet Plane” in a softened melody and string-guided a journey into Cinematic Orchestra. Here a voice is showcased that brings comfort and contradictory mourning. This passionate key performance is lifted with “Sky on Fire” by Handsome Poets, a joyous dance in a chanting performance of indie rock.
The rock genre a calling to the misplaced and an anchor to the found. It’s the development of self and resilience to conflict. It’s the choice between positive resolution and the middle finger of rebellion. Rock is an attitude. It is the statement: I will be who I am, and I’ll figure out who that is along the way. If this soundtrack is a sign to the movie’s tone than rock will be present. Not with head-banging aggression and hard riffs, but with the emotional calling card of the genre itself.