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Various Artists 

Stubbs the Zombie: The Soundtrack

Wednesday, Oct 19 2005
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I haven't played video games since, like, 1984, when it was all about freeway-hopping frogs and the Atari 2600, not Angelina Jolie in hot pants and deadbeat boyfriends fondling their joysticks. Back then, video games didn't have "soundtracks," unless you count Donkey Kong's Casio keyboard bloops. But today's spoiled brats' games have it all: surround sound, 3-D animation, and, now, the Walkmen and the Dandy Warhols. Stubbs, the game, is set in 1959 and has something to do with a zombie terrorizing the suburbs, so the soundtrack takes classic '50s tunes and lets indie rockers brilliantly reimagine them. The result: "My Boyfriend's Back" goes electroclash with the Raveonettes, Wayne Coyne channels the Scarecrow for "If I Only Had a Brain," and Ben Kweller sings such a sweet "Lollipop" it makes me want to go Stepford. There are even a few S.F. bands tossed into the mix, such as Oranger and Rogue Wave, which turns in a tidily arranged version of Buddy Holly's "Everyday." Manly men might be bummed at the relative lack of dude-rock -- except Rose Hill Drive's "Shakin' All Over" -- but their girlfriends will dig the wuss-pop, especially Death Cab's Ben Gibbard earnestly crooning "Earth Angel" as if the life of Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future depended on it. Genius.

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Maya Kroth

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