The soundtrack to Wes Anderson’s 1996 debut film Bottle Rocket is a collection of tracks that largely features the score music of Devo co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh. Filled with an array of jazz pieces, the soundtrack includes music from Oliver Onions, the Proclaimers, Rene Touzet, and SETI. The music plays up to the trials and tribulations of three young men as they try to become criminals in this very fun and playful soundtrack.
Opening the album are five score cuts by Mark Mothersbaugh which begins with Voluntary Hospital Escape. A short, 54-minute track with upbeat, tapping percussions that is filled with flourishing guitar melodies, flutes, and an array of bells. Gun Buyers is an upbeat cut with fast-playing jazz guitar riffs that is played with great flourish to emphasize a scene of Anthony, Dignan, and Bob doing shooting practice. Bookstore Robbery is a vibrant, drum-driven piece with bombastic bass fills and frenetic bongos to play up the energy of the robbery. Dignan’s Dance is a snazzy jazz-piano piece with tapping percussions as it plays to Dignan’s celebration of the robbery. And Also Because He Fired Me is a short piece led by a sleigh bell and a swooning vibraphone to play up the melancholy of Dignan’s ordeal as he, Bob, and Anthony are on the run.
Oliver Onions’ Zorro is Back is a folk-driven piece with a harpsichord intro and guitar flourishes that has a country feel to the song as it has the three men going onto a road trip. Motherbaugh’s Cleaning Rooms with Inez is an upbeat jazz piece with tapping rhythms and smooth vibraphones that plays to Anthony’s infatuation with the cleaning lady Inez. Another Mothersbaugh score piece in She Looks Just Like You is a mid-tempo yet somber guitar-driven piece with tingling keyboards as it plays to Anthony’s fascination with Inez. Rene Touzet’s Pachanga Diferente is a Latin-based track with samba rhythms and blazing horn arrangements that plays up to Anthony’s fascination with Inez. The score piece No Lifeguard on Duty is a low-key jazz piece led by a soft guitar strum, smooth vibraphones, and a soaring violin solo.
Touzet’s Mambo Guajiro is another Latin-based track led by vibrant piano riff with rhythmic congas and a swooning horn section for the bar scene where Dignan and Anthony hang out at with Inez. Rocky is an upbeat jazz piece from Mark Mothersbaugh as it is filled with arpeggio-laden guitar melodies, bopping rhythms, and a soft keyboard riff as it plays more to Anthony’s feelings towards Inez. Doesn’t Sound That Bad in Spanish is a low-key score piece driven by shaking percussions, an oboe, a swooning violin and a melodic acoustic guitar to play up more of Anthony’s feelings towards Inez. The Proclaimers’ Over and Done With is an upbeat folk track led by wailing Scottish vocal harmonies as it plays up to Anthony and Dignan’s departure from the motel as they go back on the road.
The last seven tracks on the album are more score pieces from Mark Mothersbaugh such as the smooth vibraphone-driven of Snowflake Music/Mr. Henry’s Chop Shop that features a shaky sleigh bell as it then segues into a flute-driven jazz piece with a sumptuous bass riff and boppy drum fill. You’re Breaking His Heart is an upbeat jazz piece led by walloping drum fills and a soaring flute as Dignan and Anthony meet up with Mr. Henry about some plans. Goddamnit, I’m In is a piece led by a tingling xylophone with a bopping percussion accompaniment as well as a soft accordion played early in the track. No Jazz is an upbeat jazz piece led by a wailing flute solo that is accompanied by a blazing piano and a steady drum fill to play to a party attended by Dignan, Anthony, and Bob about the upcoming heist.
Highway (Reprised) is another jazz cut led by a flute with a Latin-based guitar solo as it revolves around Anthony wanting to contact Inez. 75 Year Plan is a variation of Voluntary Hospital Escape with more tingling percussions in the mix as well as more Spanish-laced guitars and steady drum fills. The closing track is Futureman’s Theme, a more folk-based cut with a playful jazz rhythm in tapping percussions, washy string instruments, and a wailing accordion as it is a cut that plays to the character of Futureman as well as being the piece played in the final credits.
While the soundtrack isn’t perfect due to the exclusion of the Rolling Stones’ 2000 Man and two songs by the band Love, notably Alone Again Or from their 1967 landmark album Forever Changes. The soundtrack for Bottle Rocket is an excellent album from Mark Mothersbaugh and the artists that appear in the film. It’s a record that is very playful and fun as it is the perfect piece of music played to Wes Anderson’s widely-beloved debut film. In the end, the soundtrack for Bottle Rocket is a superb album for fans of the film.
Wes Anderson Soundtracks: Rushmore - The Royal Tenenbaums - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Seu Jorge-The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions - The Darjeeling Limited - Fantastic Mr. Fox - (Moonrise Kingdom)
Wes Anderson Films: Bottle Rocket - Rushmore - The Royal Tenenbaums - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Hotel Chevalier - The Darjeeling Limited - Fantastic Mr. Fox - Moonrise Kingdom - The Auteurs #8: Wes Anderson
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