See Jose Gonzalez Go ‘Walter Mitty’ for Ryan Adams-Penned ‘Stay Alive’

Jose Gonzalez, Ryan Adams, "Stay Alive," 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'

It isn’t hard to imagine José González being drawn to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Though the Swedish-Argentine singer-songwriter’s level of success far outpaces that of the James Thurber short story character, González’s glimpses of rock’n’roll fantasy tend to be fleeting, and from the outside: After his leftfield success covering the Knife’s “Heartbeats,” he offered 2007’s chilling, textural In Our Nature, and since then he has meandered gracefully through two albums with kraut-folk group Junip.

Ben Stiller directs and stars in an upcoming movie version of Walter Mitty, and a centerpiece of the December 17 soundtrack (if you don’t count Jack Johnson covering the piña colada song) is González’s recording of Ryan Adams-written “Stay Alive.” González features prominently on the soundtrack, whether with Junip or by himself, including choir-backed opener “Step Out” and similarly lush John Lennon cover “#9 Dream” (via The Wall Street Journal). This one, backed by a ticking clock, is a generous, piano-centered ballad; director Emmett Malloy‘s video imagines González in Mitty’s milequest workaday milieu. When he sings about the new day’s rise, it’s with just the right balance between optimism and desperation.

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