Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and Cat Power's Chan Marshall intertwine their voices over dreamy piano on "Wish I Was Here," a cut from Zach Braff's upcoming film of the same name that hits theaters on July 18th. The minimal ballad is available to stream at NPR.
"Every road that's wrong seems like the road I'm on / Every sign just seems unclear," Marshall sings in a worn, warm croon. "Won't you come switch me on? / I don't know where I've gone / I wish I was here." Martin adds gentle harmonies midway through the track, which gradually layers in a frayed guitar line and a distant synth.
The original tune came together when Braff gave an early cut of the film to Martin, who then gathered his band to start working on music. "Chris had the idea that it would be sung by a woman," Braff told NPR of the song, which he calls his favorite on the Wish I Was Here soundtrack (out July 15th). "I thought that was a genius idea, because one of the things the film is about is a strong woman (Kate Hudson's character) becoming the matriarch of her family. When Chris and I were talking, we both kind of simultaneously said, 'Cat Power'."
After viewing the film herself, Marshall agreed to work on the track; she recorded her vocals at New York City's Electric Lady Studios, leaving Martin and Coldplay to finish the production.
Braff first secured his status as a master film-music curator with the soundtrack to his 2004 directorial debut Garden State – but the Wish I Was Here soundtrack might top that indie favorite. Last month, the filmmaker shared the Shins' lilting "So Now What," followed by Bon Iver's haunting "Heavenly Father." Other contributors to the soundtrack include Paul Simon, Badly Drawn Boy and the Head and the Heart.
Braff financed Wish I Was Here – which premiered at Sundace in January – with a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $3 million. The film stars Braff as a struggling actor alongside Mandy Patinkin, Kate Hudson, Jim Parsons, Ashley Greene, Josh Gad and Joey King.
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