(500) Days of Summer just may be the new Garden State. When I saw Zach Braff’s movie a while back, before it got swallowed up in the hype machine, I sincerely thought it was a fantastic, gentle, somewhat dark tale of life and its ups and downs. Oh, and it introduced a lot of people to the Shins, thanks to Natalie Portman. The film’s soundtrack was a big hit among the indie circuit, with little-known bands that Braff himself selected for the movie.

Well, having seen (500) Days of Summer twice in the past week and a half, it’s easy to see that it has picked up where that film left off. While (500) Days (why is the number in parentheses? Odd) isn’t as dark or serious in tone as Garden State was, I still thoroughly enjoyed it, maybe because of Zooey Deschanel (*swoon again*) or maybe just because it’s a damn good movie that I (and millions of guys in the world, presumably) can relate to when it comes to dating and girls and the frustrations therein.

Well, fittingly, the movie’s soundtrack is just as eccentric as the film (and Deschanel’s character Summer). Regina Spektor provides two songs on the set, with the staccato piano slam of Us (which plays during the movie’s opening credits) and the sadder Hero. Of course, what’s an indie movie soundtrack without shout-outs to the heroes of yesteryear? Well, the Smiths are here two times as well, with Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want and There Is a Light That Never Goes Out. The band is also the key part of Tom’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) initial attraction to Summer, in one of the movie’s more amusing scenes in an elevator. Besides Spektor and the Smiths, the rest of the soundtrack includes the likes of Black Lips, Doves, Hall & Oates (hell yes), Feist, Simon & Garfunkel, The Temper Trap (whose song Sweet Disposition is one of the collection’s highlights), Mumm- Ra, Carla Bruni, Wolfmother, Meaghan Smith, and She & Him, Zooey’s musical alter ego that she shares with M. Ward.

"We like good music! We're so compatible...."

Simply put, this soundtrack is excellent. While maybe not quite as much of a hit with Garden State’s or the Juno album, which was also a big hit among all the indie kids, this one is a great collection of songs that accompany the on-screen moments perfectly. (500) Days of Summer was one of the better movies I’ve seen in a while, and the soundtrack fits the film very well. I like pseudo “love stories” that aren’t really love stories at all, so the movie was just what I was looking for. And the soundtrack doesn’t have any Kimya Dawson and her offbeat, out of tune voice and talk-singing, so that’s a plus. I wish the album would have included the Pixies Here Comes Your Man, since Thomas sings it in a karaoke bar in the movie, but oh well. I added it to the album in my iPod, so I win.

So in closing, the soundtrack to (500) Days of Summer is almost as good as the movie, which affected me and was something I could relate to and take something out of. Yes, that may sound sappy and it may sound like I’m a bit wimp or whatever for having such strong feelings about a movie like this, but so be it. Oh and by the way, it’s NOT a‘chick flick’ or a ‘love story’. So if you thought that and haven’t seen the film, you’re wrong.

This soundtrack, like the movie it is from, is fantastic. If you don't see the movie or like the album than you're lame.