Seemingly every time we at Stereogum publish a retrospective on some classic album, someone responds, “Fuck, I’m old.” But the landmark musical releases of your youth turning 10 or 20 years old is only one of many ways you can be alerted to your own aged status. For instance, I have recently discovered that Hulu is releasing a new teen drama series set in 2005, produced by Josh Schwartz, with a soundtrack by music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas featuring era-appropriate indie rock and modern covers of such songs. Yes, those were the people who brought you The O.C. Yes, the nostalgia industrial complex has set its sights on to the O.C. era. And yes, fuck, I’m old.
Based on John Green’s novel of the same name, Looking For Alaska is an eight-episode limited series centered on teenage boarding school student Miles “Pudge” Halter, portrayed by Charlie Plummer. According to a press release, “He falls in love with Alaska Young (Kristine Froseth) and finds a group of loyal friends. But after an unexpected tragedy, Miles and his close friends attempt to make sense of what they’ve been through.”
The soundtrack for this show is pointedly designed to entice listeners who lived through The O.C. the first time. There are a number of originals from back then: Bloc Party’s “So Here We Are,” the Strokes’ “Ask Me Anything,” José González’s “Crosses,” Rilo Kiley’s “With Arms Outstretched,” Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s “The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth,” Modest Mouse’s “The World At Large.” There are also many covers of indie/alt-rock hits from back then, many of them performed in dramatic sync-core fashion: Miya Folick doing Death Cab’s “I Will Follow You Into The Dark,” Fleurie taking on Sufjan’s “To Be Alone With You,” Young Summer transforming Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out,” Mating Ritual and Lizzy Land teaming up for the Bravery’s “An Honest Mistake” — that sort of thing. There’s also a “Macarena” cover for some reason?
I want to tell you that it’s too early to be mining this historical moment for nostalgia, but dammit, 2005 was 14 years ago. So here we are. Stream the entire Looking For Alaska soundtrack below.
The Looking For Alaska soundtrack is out today on Sony Masterworks, and the show went up on Hulu today too. You can buy the soundtrack here. Fuck, I’m old.