Napoleon Dynamite OST

Napoleon Dynamite (2004) – a fun soundtrack review

Though I’ve seen Napoleon Dynamite quite a bit (and always thoroughly enjoyed it and are you drinking 1% milk because you think you’re fat), it wasn’t until a “oh look it’s on TV let’s watch it for a bit” viewing last year that I really noticed the soundtrack properly, which is pretty crazy considering how cool it is. I realise that now. What a fool I have been. It’s mainly a mixture of new wave 80s (EEK) and quirky scores (written by John Swihart) that are instantly recognisable to anyone who knows the movie at least a little bit. And of course…….THAT Jamiroquai song.


(actually that is a VERY misleading link. It actually takes you to a video of Jay Kay getting head-butted. But who wouldn’t want to see that?)

I knew right away it would make a cool addition to my exclusive (kind of) soundtrack collection, so I ordered it that same day and though it wasn’t the cheapest CD ever (around £15) I thought I’d treat myself and ordered a Brand New Copy. I know. I’m SUCH a rebel (I don’t do it often though).

It was dispatched from America (and I live in England) so I didn’t expect it to turn up for a while but actually it didn’t take very long (this interesting story does get more interesting I promise…….). When it arrived I did what I always do when a package for me arrives – ripped it open haphazardly whilst talking to myself. As soon as I took it out from the (now ruined) cardboard packet I knew I’d made a good decision. Though I’ve just realised the story doesn’t actually get any more interesting. Sorry.


I hadn’t done any research really at all, I just knew I wanted it – and once I get that idea in my head it’s hard to shake (the idea, not my head). It’s a unique film, it’s different, funny and kind of quirky. I knew there were some 80s songs and I knew there were some scores (and THAT Jamiroquai song) but, that’s about all I did know.

So what did I subsequently find out? Why was it all so cool?

To begin with the CD and its case were aesthetically pleasing. Then there was the insane track listing, which hosted a pretty amazing FORTY TWO tracks. I haven’t seen many OSTs with that amount of separate listings, I mean obviously some of them are dialogue and some of them are very short, snippety scores lasting only a few seconds, but still man, forty-two tracks!

It also turned out that among the 80s stuff I knew (we’ve moved along now by the way, I’m no longer unwrapping the parcel and talking to myself, I’m actually listening to the mother fucker now), there were two 80s new wave songs I didn’t know previously but actually are suuuuuuuper amazing and I now love them. Really love them. Want to marry them and all that fluff.

So there’s ‘Forever Young’ by Alphaville which I’m strangely embarrassed by but also think is great (I believe this plays at the school dance where Napoleon gets mugged off by the Cool Kids). And then there’s ‘The Promise’ by When In Rome which I’m NOT embarrassed by at all and think is even more super great. I’ve drunkenly listened to this song on repeat, loudly, via headphones, on a Friday night. So I know I really love it. I think ‘The Promise’ might play at the very end of the movie, though I’m not entirely sure (just being honest, sorry I’m useless).

And (there’s still more folks) – this really is the ultimate Cherry On The Cake – just as some songs are missing from the soundtrack, which is standard procedure and I’m sad to report that the Backstreet Boys didn’t make the final cut, there are ADDITIONAL songs too. Which curiously, were not in the movie, but ‘compliment’ the soundtrack as an overall collection of music. Cool. And you’ll never bloody guess what they put on there…

‘Only You’ by Yazoo, which is my FAVOURITE EVER SONG. I mean……I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it and I can’t live without it. Some of you may even know it’s my favourite song (though I won’t hold it against you if you didn’t). AND – the plot thickens – rather fascinatingly, it’s mistakenly accredited to the band Yaz.


Let me assure you that Yaz did not sing Only You, but in fact Yaz sung ‘The Only Way Is Up’. Very different songs. And you know what I said then don’t you? What any self-respecting fan of The Office would say of course.

“Where’s your cut off point?”

About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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19 Responses to Napoleon Dynamite OST

  1. I just reviewed Napoleon Dynamite for my birthday today! I love it and the songs fit so well.

  2. Some awesome songs for sure!

  3. stephen1001 says:

    I said ‘give me some of your tots’ to my daughter at a buffet recently – the Napoleon reference sailed right over her head!

  4. Love the film so much, but never really paid attention to most of the tracks that were playing throughout. Might have to give it a re-watch.

  5. johnrieber says:

    Great post – I love any soundtrack album that sneaks in a few choice bits of dialogue, and added bonus tracks!

  6. mikeladano says:

    Great soundtrack! Hard to find — that’s pricey!

  7. beetleypete says:

    A mention of Jamiroquai is always good to see. They are the mainstay of my bog these days, after all.
    I don’t think I have ever seen this film. In fact, I obviously haven’t, or I would remember. (I hope I would remember, but you never know, at my age) You are without doubt the soundtrack queen, Em. As far as I am concerned, anyway.
    As ever, Pete. XXX

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