For the sake of old times

Willy Vlautin was the frontman for Richmond Fontaine. He also writes novels and such. Richmond Fontaine broke up a while back, Fontaine wrote a novel based on the band's song "Don't Skip Out on Me" and then Vlautin convinced the boys to come together one more time to create a soundtrack for the novel. And so here we are.

Richmond Fontaine
Don't Skip Out on Me
(El Cortez Records)

This is more of a score than a soundtrack, as there aren't vocals. But the brilliance of these meditative americana rambles allows the story to be told better by music than words. I wouldn't say this is better than what Richmond Fontaine put out when it was a going concern, but it sure is nice.

The first soundtrack to a novel that I can recall is one for L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth. The music was worse than the book--though the John Travolta movie topped both in terms of sheer awfulness. Since then, I've seen soundtracks for business tomes, self-help books and, of course, novels. Many authors create streaming playlists that are intended to accompany their work. That's all cool. But this level of self-reference (a soundtrack to a novel based on a song by the band performing said soundtrack) is startling. The quality of the music is less surprising given Richmond Fontaine's pedigree, but gratifying nonetheless.

I haven't read the book, so I can't say anything about that. If you buy the hardback (the only format the novel is available in right now), you get this soundtrack gratis. You can also buy the music separately. Probably one that will appeal most to Richmond Fontaine completists, this set stands alone just fine on its own.

Jon Worley

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