David Brent: Life on the Road (2016) – soundtrack review
Yes I have a soundtrack signed by Ricky Gervais himself. Woo hoo! And of course it is cool and all but also far less personal that it sounds. I was gonna buy it anyway then noticed Ricky Gervais was plugging signed copies via his Twitter page (have a look, there’s not much he isn’t plugging) and it was the exact same price as unsigned Amazon versions (a tenner) and delivery was free. No brainer.
The soundtrack to accompany the movie Life on the Road was produced and written by Ricky Gervais (of course), Chris Martin from Coldplay (more of that in a minute) and Andy Burrows – the drummer seen performing in the film with the rest of Foregone Conclusion and also in real life too, as a drummer with both Razorlight and We Are Scientists.
Now I’ve tried to figure out what genre it would be classified as, if Life on the Road were a genuine album but there’s such a mix of genres it’s hard to say. It’s predominantly soft rock ‘dad music’ I guess with a bit of folk and a couple of embarrassing yet fairly hilarious reggae and rap tracks (which also feature his long-suffering mate Dom, played by the talented and funny Doc Brown) thrown in as well. And all in all the album is to a high standard. I mean it’s lame of course and absolutely full of rock ‘n’ roll musical cliches about Cadillac cars and cowboys as well as many mortifying accents but that makes it what it’s supposed to be and it must be said – it’s very, very catchy.
Whilst it’s hard to beat the old faves like Free Love Freeway (“she’s not dead”) and Paris Nights (written in honour of Princess Diana and Dawn Tinsley) which both feature on the soundtrack along with Spaceman (“whooooooooo is wrong”) there are some brilliant new songs which were written for the film. Highlights include –
Track 2 Native American where Brent sings a section in his vision of a traditional Native bellow. Track 6 Slough which is a sort of romantic serenade to the town where Brent was once king (Slough is where The Office was set) and I just think it’s really clever and also kind of sad – which is typical of Ricky Gervais’ writing. Track 7 Thank Fuck it’s Friday which isn’t all that special but does feature one of the funniest ever Mick Jagger impressions whilst singing about the mundane 9 – 5 life. In fact a lot of the songs reference David’s life as a sales rep and some of the angrily sung ‘rock star’ lyrics are all the funnier for it (“hard shoulder, COFFEE HOLDER”). And lastly but not leastly, Track 8 Lady Gypsy where you hear Ricky Gervais actual, real life distinctive voice and Track 13 Equality Street (first introduced via Comic Relief in 2013) which is mainly funny when Brent does his well meaning cultural impressions that he probably shouldn’t be doing.
I already said how Chris Martin (“Gwyneth’s making drumsticks”) helped write some of the album and never is it more apparent than during the Coldplay-esque titled song Electricity, the last track on the album. Skip straight to 0.40 and 1.39 to see what I mean about the comparison. Not that I have anything against Coldplay by the way. I hasten to add. Well not as such. I haven’t listened to them at all really, not since I was a gawky teenager and used to wish someone would sing ‘Yellow’ to me – what a fucking loser. I wish I could go back in time and beat myself up.
But anyway, going back to the soundtrack, which in fairness is all pretty good. It’s cheered me a great deal these past few weeks as a permanent fixture in my car, always there to entertain me when I get bored of the radio or after a shit day at work. It’s a cheerful kind of album. Good to sing to. Most of the songs are pretty upbeat and even those that aren’t, are funny in their own way. It’s an album produced to a high standard and let’s be honest, Ricky Gervais isn’t the worst singer in the world. Just like the film itself, the Life on the Road soundtrack (very happily) exceeded my expectations.