Ultimate 6er for the “Garden State” Soundtrack
I’ve been undergoing a spate of crippling nostalgia lately. It hasn’t been anything too depressing; entire afternoons squandered on multiple viewings of Clueless and American Pie interspersed with Daria marathons. The normal stuff. Fortunately, I’ve stopped short of drowning myself in the Crystal Pepsi I have stashed in my uncle’s Y2k bunker whilst quoting aloud to myself the entirety of the marine biologist episode of Seinfeld. My sanity intact but my emotions reeling, I’ve taken refuge in eschewing normal human contact recently in favor of everything cultural and memorable from the 1990s and early Aughts, grasping for items from my adolescence to surround me and transport me from being a world-weary mid-twenty something back to an impulsive, stupid teenager. Lately, I feel like I’d prefer to stay the latter: The idyllic feeling of all consequences lessened by the universally-accepted knowledge that you’re too hormone-driven to know or act any better. The complete unimportance in the grand scheme of things of all your pertinent teenage problems. The unwavering, ravenous pursuit of dating like a modernized Greg Brady. It seems simpler, but obviously only seems that way with the perspective of years gone by applied to it.
That being said, I will share a pearl of wisdom gleaned from my descent into reclusive Topanga-driven madness. Working my way up to collegiate-age nostalgia I found an old friend, one who was exceptional at summing up every torrid emotion from that time and that best wing man I ever encountered—the Garden State soundtrack. Thus, I present to you the optimal six-pack to drink while listening to the soundtrack from the greatest transient twenty something, New Jersey-based dramedy from 2004 as a twenty something experiencing a quarter-life crisis debilitating enough to make you watch Donnie Darko at one in the afternoon on an impeccably sunny day.
- Coldplay – “Don’t Panic”
- The Shins – “Caring is Creepy”
- Zero 7 – “In the Waiting Line”
As the opening bars of “Don’t Panic” come on, gently reminding you of a time when Chris Martin didn’t remind you of Bono, pop open a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale as a reminder of new beginnings past. Drink it slowly (against your current tendency to decry this as “something I used to drink when I got my check from the dining hall”) and savor the hops like when you hadn’t heard of “hops” before, just like you played “Yellow” over and over again when you first saw the video on MTV2. Create an analogy in your head tying together the inoffensive taste to the general fame of Coldplay being built upon being nice, inoffensive pop music. When The Shins kick in, take a long swig and think of the lovers long ago with whom you fumbled around with on the lower bunk to this song. You may cry for the first time, but no more than two tears (you really shouldn’t be that emotional yet if you’re having a Sierra Nevada and reading a beer blog). Chug the rest of your beer when Zero 7 kicks in and you’re singing along a bit too much.
- The Shins – “New Slang”
- Colin Hay – “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Get Over You”
This second Shins song was promised to change your life by Miss Portman in the movie. Begin sipping a can of Natural Light or Pabst Blue Ribbon until the nostalgia becomes so overbearing that you subconsciously begin to chug it. Look at the can wistfully when it’s empty, conjuring up memories of beer pong games and highlighter parties and whispering to it, “you really did change my life, Natalie.” As Colin Hay’s melancholia begins to weep through the speakers, take a shot of the cheapest liquor you own and scroll through your phone’s contact list until the song ends.
- Cary Brothers – “Blue Eyes”
- Remy Zero – “Fair”
Depression sets in fully at this point and you’ll need something substantial for the pain. Shun the easy choice of Guinness for a North Coast Old Rasputin stout, ideally poured into a snifter but, in the state of mind you’re in, drinking from the bottle will be understandable. Inevitably you’ll be drawn to a an episode of Doug on mute on Nickelodeon and will watch it with the pained expression of Dick Vermeil trying to hold back tears at a press conference. As “Fair” comes on, somehow impeccably soundtracking Doug’s longing gaze at Patty Mayonnaise, embrace full catharsis—wallow in the syrupy, saccharine, grotesquely forlorn moment spurred on by nothing but scenes from your childhood lent gravitas by swelling strings and snare hits. Finish the stout and exhale a deep sigh.
- Nick Drake – “One of These Things First”
Note the exact time in the song when you realize it’s not “Pink Moon” and pause the song. Slam an Irish Car Bomb (this is why we skipped the Guinness just a few minutes ago), then put on “Pink Moon.” Skip to the next song.
- Thievery Corporation – “Lebanese Blond”
Put on your sunglasses and open a can of Southern Star Bombshell Blonde ale. With the sitar, bass, and general funkadelic-ness washing over you, light some incense, close any windows, and wallow in the ambiance of thick smoke and a nice substantial beer with a healthy dose of citrus (this would also be as appropriate time a time as any to add additional smoke by way of incinerated botanical clippings). Fancy yourself a swinging ’60s spy and get a little of your swagger back in time for the following:
- Simon & Garfunkel – “The Only Living Boy in New York”
- Iron & Wine – “Such Great Heights”
- Frou Frou – “Let Go”
With this finale—full of wistfulness and one-third full of pre-dubstep electronic warbling—we attempt to come full circle and ignore the really odd, way-too-WB-melodramatic actual last song of the soundtrack. This final trinity of tracks is meant for growth, for stepping back out into the light after you realize you began this journey at two in the afternoon and it is now a very drunk 3 p.m. for you. Saison DuPont is the beer of choice; a mature selection for a grown-ass man or woman, one that represents growing and changing through your increasingly responsible adult pursuits. Full of the best features that a Belgian beer can offer, let it bring your confidence back to be all you can be, to be a saison in a sea of pilsners.
I must disclaim this article with an understanding that this pairing of music and alcohol to be imbibed solitary is purely hypothetical. One probably shouldn’t consume this much alcohol in 53 minutes under normal circumstances, let alone while dunking oneself in potentially heart-rending reminiscence. However, if you were to find yourself with enough fortitude to take on this journey, I hope the experience to be an uplifting and life-affirming one. I can’t guarantee it myself, as I passed out to the Doug theme song halfway through.