The soundtrack for Little Miss Sunshine, done by Illinois born and raised Sufjan Stevens, provides the perfect upbeat and whimsical aura to match the movie. The songs are driven by light percussion in odd time signatures with floating horns and harps above and simple guitar and piano melodies intertwining throughout the entire collection.
Stevens’ band consists of a large number of ever-changing players so it is hard to keep track of. His band often wears matching button up shirts that make them look like they are all part of some sort of throw back summer camp or scout troupe. At other times while his band continues the uniformed tradition, Sufjan wears all white with giant butterfly wings and matching face paint. When he isn’t in this kind of attire he wears simply jeans and a baseball cap that is sometimes a little too reassuring that he is a normal guy from Illinois.
Sufjan Stevens is bit of an elusive character and seems to stay away from the touring musician circuit for the most part. With only the occasional performances here and there, the only thing you have to draw from are his albums that are released whenever he writes new music. Stevens is arguably a musical genius who is more than capable of writing both his own music for his indie style albums as well as full out musical scores and he has proven this time and again in the past. He writes and arranges scores much like a traditional composer as well being very proficient at multiple instruments. On stage he primarily plays banjo or guitar and occasionally the piano.
The music featured in Little Miss Sunshine was not made specifically and solely for the movie even though it fits so perfectly that it seems as if it was. The film’s production company merely got the rights to use the music from one of Stevens’ more popular records entitled “Come On, Feel The Illinoise”
I imagine that is was easier to obtain the rights to an album from a lesser known indie artist as opposed to a very well known mainstream artist. Despite having a smaller following than other artists who monopolize the radio airwaves, Sufjan’s music is just as powerful and engages you in the moment and emotion of the movie.
Typically, many of the reoccurring musical themes within the film are just separate clips of the same song off of “Come On, Feel The Illinoise”. The song is entitled “Chicago” much like the character’s in Little Miss Sunshine, Steven’s “Chicago” is about literally driving to a different city but also a metaphor for moving on in your life to something new. Within the movie the majority of the times, “Chicago” is played and there are no lyrics. It’s simply the first blooming horn lines in the song’s intro which further proves the point of the marriage between Steven’s music and the moments in the film. The music is able to evoke the feeling and purpose of the song with lyrics yet to be sung. It is quite powerful stuff and I really don’t think they could have found a better suitor for this film’s soundtrack.
Without the music and soundtrack, where would a movie be, as this reviewer of “Little Miss Sunshine” has just proven. Music is such a big part of life and this is why the right music is so important. Songs have become enormously popular due to the movies they’re in and vice versa. Thank you, Dear Movie Viewer and Music Lover, for this wonderful movie and music review.
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