“Celeste and Jesse Forever” Soundtrack


A well-crafted compilation soundtrack can energize a film. It can also provide a launchpad for new artists. Stina Nordenstam and The Cardigans both benefited enormously from their appearance on the “Romeo + Juliet” (1996) soundtrack. Frou Frou and The Shins enjoyed a similar surge from “Garden State” (2004).

In the tradition of films with superbly curated soundtracks comes Rashida Jones‘ debut “Celeste and Jesse Forever.” Rashida, the Harvard educated daughter of Quincy Jones best known for her turn as a lawyer in “The Social Network,” co-wrote, EP’ed, and starred in the plucky new film. The story explores a bizarrely co-dependent and ultimately unhealthy marriage that continues into its pre-divorce stage until the guy, Jesse, *spoiler* gets another girl preggo. Sadness ensues. Sadness in movies invites good music.

Quincy and Rashida Jones

Strangely, its soundtrack is not (yet?) available for purchase anywhere. But Spotify users have come to the rescue: Celeste and Jesse Forever Soundtrack (Spotify link)

During a hazy party scene, a song started playing that, if you follow NPR’s music blog at least, you might recognize as “Baby” from the unsigned duo, Donnie and Joe Emerson. Two brothers, two farmers, from rural Washington who in the late 70s spent a lot of their dad’s money building a recording studio and eventually making this record, which went nowhere. Until now, 30 years later. This spring NPR ran a story on it (watch the interview posted), now it’s appearing in soundtracks. If only those white leisure suits would come into fashion again.

Link: NPR Interview

Another delight was the opening song by Lily Allen, a cheeky brit who paired up with Bird and the Bee genius, Greg Kurstin–think British accent over hip-hop with 70s retro synthesizers. The electronic shoegazer outfit Porcelain Raft makes an appearance too (their album Strange Weekend deserves an hour of your time, if you haven’t yet heard it).

Keeping it in the family, a portion of the soundtrack was penned by Quincy Jones’ grandson (or, Rashida’s nephew) Sunny Levine. Rounding out the new stuff is a mix of vintage soul from artists like Bobby Cadwell and Brenda Russell.

And with that build up, here’s the soundtrack listing (not in any order since the soundtrack doesn’t officially exist):

Lily Allen “Littlest Things”
Porcelain Raft “Drifting In And Out”
Brenda Russell “A Little Bit of Love”
Bobby Caldwell “Open Your Eyes”
Sunny Levine “No Other Plans”
Donnie & Joe Emerson “Baby”
Freddie Scott “(You) Got What I Need”
BLO “It’s Gonna Be A Good Day”
Vetiver “Can’t You Tell”
Mr. Little Jeans “Rescue Song – RAC Remix”
Sunny Levine “As for Tonight (featuring Orelia)”
Shabazz Palaces “Recollection of the Wraith”
Dam Funk “Hood Pass Intact (featuring MC Eiht)”
ESG “Moody”
Keepaway “Faces Now”

October 25th, 2012: Update from the film’s music producer:

“Happy to announce that the Celeste & Jesse Forever soundtrack is finally available via iTunes, https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/celeste-jesse-forever-original/id571831824, and other digital download stores. Enjoy and thanks for supporting the project!”

And with that, here’s the official Album on Spotify:

Various Artists – Celeste & Jesse Forever (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/celeste-jesse-forever-original/id571831824

August 5th, 2013: Update from the film’s music producer:

Here’s the elusive “San Francisco Montage” cue in its original form, courtesy of Sunny Levine. Thanks for supporting the movie and the soundtrack. Sorry we couldn’t include every song in the movie. Enjoy:

60 thoughts on ““Celeste and Jesse Forever” Soundtrack

  1. I think filmmakers pay different fees to use music in a movie or release it on a soundtrack; could be they’re still working it out. I remember wanting the soundtrack to “When Harry Met Sally” and being disappointed that none of the originals in the film were on the CD! Anyway, thanks for the great review and the Spotify link, which is good enough for me!

    1. Right, I remember the controversy around the “Harry Met Sally” soundtrack. They couldn’t get the rights to the Sinatra material or something so it all went to Harry Connick, Jr. It certainly put him on the map! I grew to really like his versions of those tunes.

  2. As the music supervisor on the film I can confirm that we’ve been working on getting the soundtrack out since July but its taken some time to work out the economics of the deal with the labels involved and get everything together to do this as a digital-only release. Hope everyone’s excitement is still there once we go live soon.

    1. Thanks for sharing this info Jon (and for visiting the blog). Congratulations on a wonderful job with the music for this film. Judging by how much interest this post has received it seems clear that the demand is there. I’m sure it’ll only rise once the movie hits home markets.

    2. Can you tell me the song in the movie when Celeste is in the cab visiting San Francisco and Boston, trying to get a hold of Jesse?

      1. Jon please help! Seems a lot of people are interested in the song that plays in the background in a few different scenes, one being when Celeste calls Jesse in a taxi, on her way to the airport. Any info on this and if it can be purchased? It’s amazing (just like the rest of the score – well done!).

      2. Hey then do you know the song that plays when they sign their divorce papers and walk out of the building to downtown. I have seen like 60 people looking for it!

      3. I just saw this great movie and am going crazy because I can’t find this song anywhere… Sunny Levin’s in the scene where Celeste is on the way to Boston. Please help…

  3. What is the song playing in the background after c and j sign their divorce papers and are sitting on the stairs to the Walt Disney concert hall?? Sounds a bit like Bon Iver.

  4. Just checking in…did anyone figure out what song was playing during the san fran/boston montage? It’s not on the soundtrack; I think it might be unavailable.

  5. I’m also looking for the song being played when Celeste was travelling and calling Jesse but he didn’t pick up.

      1. Hi Jon – Can I just say how much you ROCK for responding to readers over the last few months about their soundtrack questions and keeping us informed! I was ecstatic when you announced the iTunes avail. You did a phenomenal job with the music in this film!!

      2. Still hoping to find out what mystery song is playing during the celeste and jesse divorce scene…. Someone pleeease find it.

  6. 😀..its nice to know that i`m not alone in my search for the SF/Boston/Taxi song.
    I´ve also been looking for it for two hours now and i cant get it out of my head:D
    I guess i just have to play it over and over again in the movie.
    25-27 minutes in the movie;)

      1. Thanks! I’m still unable to find the song that was playing during the san fran/boston montage…it’s not on soundcloud either, but hopefully it’ll eventually turn up!

  7. Hello again everyone. Thanks for supporting the soundtrack release (we’ve outdone all expectations!) and sorry for not being a better blog-sponder. These queries don’t bounce to my email so i don’t see them nless i check in. anyway, Sunny’s in charge of all his score cues and i noticed he’s posted a lot of them via soundcloud. A lot of what you here and can’t id are actually edits of parts of one song overlayed on others etc. to create an ambient mix. Sunny’s score was very adaptable. I hope i get another chance to work with him. Oh and if there’s an indie film that doesn’t have a stk lemme know about it and maybe we can get one together.

  8. I seriously need that song that’s playing during the boston/sanfran scene where Celeste is calling Jesse, and he won’t pick up. I’ve been searching for months like a music crackhead, and I’m tearing my hair out. Somebody said it was a mash-up of songs that Sunny Levine put together, and that his stuff is on sound cloud. I checked there, and it’s a no go. HELP ME Plleeasssee ::presses hands together::

    1. I’ll ask Sunny about that Boston-SanFran cue but it really doesn’t exist as a “song” as far as I remember. In film terms it’s more like sound design and score mixed.

      The song you hear when they get to the party is “Give Me A Call” by Suzanne Kraft.

      1. Thanks for posting up the link to this song and continuing to help us with these tracks. Like most I was looking for this song for sometime after I saw the movie. Since this link is the only place I have seen it and it cannot be downloaded from there is there any other place we can download it from? Thanks for the help.

    1. The song played under the photographer date was “You And Me” by Acapulco Gold. Both this track and The Emerson brothers’ “Baby” were on great Light In The Attic releases that came out too close to our soundtrack’s debut to include them. So please support that fantastic reissue label.

      1. Wow John thanks so much for this — I had been looking for You and Me for like 2 years…it sounded epic but the sound bit was so small it was hard to track it down….

  9. what’s the song that is playing when celeste is pulling up to her house and jesse is sitting on her steps? she’s talking to herself about riley banks?

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