More unedited reviews, this time all soundtracks. All blurbs are long out of print and contemporary to the title reviewed. They ran approximately 1998 -2004 in the San Diego Union Tribune's weekly art's insert, Night & Day.
OST- 50 First Dates (Maverick) **
Basically this is a collection of ‘80’s radio favorites, redone by modern artist’s, reggae style, this soundtrack works only on a novelty level. Amongst the 13 tracks here, highlights include Dryden Mitchell’s ska flavored version of the Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love,” as well as Jason Mraz’s dub take on the Modern English’s hit “I Melt With You, ” with the most unusual pairing being Ziggy Marley’s rendition of the Cars “Drive.” Unfortunately little here rises above the album’s obvious gimmick and nothing comes close to equaling the songs these renditions are based on.
OST – A Cinderella Story- (Hollywood) *
A star vehicle for Disney moppet Hilary Duff, who performs a half dozen generic pop rock lite tunes here, this soundtrack album is bolstered with tracks from Goo Goo Dolls and Edwin McCain, but remains formulaic from start to finish. Except for the unnecessary remake of the Go-Go’s “Our Lips are Sealed,” which only proves you can’t keep a good tune down, this is as uninspired as music gets. Night & Day August 2004
OST - A Walk To Remember (Epic 86311) ***
Essentially a vehicle for teen star Mandy Moore, this multi artist soundtrack still features a big enough variety to keep even the most jaded teen pop fan smiling. Easily the best track here is Toploader's hammond tinged remake of 70's classic "Dancing In The Moonlight", in a rare occurrence of the re-make surpassing the original, but local band Switchfoot's four songs come close, especially the killer ballad "Learning To Breathe". Moore's own "Cry" is also a splendid radio friendly tune worthy of chart contention, but it's Switchfoot- who have an equal amount of songs on this CD as Ms. Moore- that emerge as the real stars of this soundtrack.
OST - American Pie 2 (Universal) ***
An excellent collection of today's radio friendly acts, including established names such as Blink 182 and Green Day alongside up and comers, such as Oleander and Uncle Kracker. In keeping with the spirit of the film, most of the music is upbeat, energetic and fun. Highlights include Angela Ammons dance oriented "Always Getting Over You", and Flying Blind's guitar driven bouncy "Smokescreen", but this is as solid a collection of modern rock as your likely to come across.
OST - Dean Quixote (Spinart)
This soundtrack to "Don Quixote", is an essential who's who of the current underground music scene. Featuring Guided By Voices, Kim Fox, Beachwood Sparks, Olivia Tremor Control and many more, highlights are many. Top marks go to the Minders dreamy instrumental "Our Man In Bombay " and the Apples in Stereo "What Happened Then" a plaintive down tempo tune, but this album is a literal treasure trove of catchy pop oriented tunes. If the movie is half as good as this album, count me in for a ticket.
OST - Die Another Day - (Warner Brothers) *
There's no getting around it, this is easily one of the worst Bond soundtracks ever. In an effort to update the movie franchises signature sound, all the familiar themes now have dance beats added to them, while Madonna's title song, despite some pop charm, is amongst the weakest Bond themes ever. Disappointing from start to finish.
OST - Freddy Got Fingered - (Restless 73746) ***
This punk rock dominated album comes up aces. Recent tracks like Green Days "Blood Sex and Booze" and one of only two non rock cuts on the disc, Moby's "Unnatural Blues", rub shoulders with classics like the New York Dolls "Personality Crisis" and the Sex Pistols "Problems". Best of all is the inclusion of some lesser-known gems from such unsung Southern California punk heroes as Agent Orange and the Adolescents. Much better than the movie.
OST - The Hulk (Decca 633-02) **
While Danny Elfman's orchestral music will appeal to any fan of symphonic music, the selling point on this disc, is easily the one non instrumental track included, the hotly anticipated teaming of Scott Weiland with the ex members of Guns and Roses, "Set Me Free." The tune itself shows the new group to be keen fans of punk poppers Red Kross, and while it's certainly a decent melodic rocker, it sticks out like a sore thumb on the soundtrack. Even hardcore G 'n' R fans will find it hard to justify the purchase of this album on the strength of one tune.
OST - Minority Report ( Dreamworks)***
John Williams latest film score is actually a throwback to the soundtracks of classic film noir suspense thrillers of the pre 1960's cinema. Despite it's futuristic theme, "Minority Reports" Soundtrack has a retro feel that jazz and orchestra fans will love. Favorites include the bongo filled "Spyders" and the tension filled horns in "Anderton's Great Escape", but fans of Mr. Williams work will find this one of his better works in recent years. While not an album you would likely play often, even deprived of the visuals, this is still impressive.
OST - Moulin Rouge (Interscope 3228) ***
A second collection of tunes from the movie, released just in time to cash in on the recent Oscar Hoopla. . Place of honor goes to 2 wonderful takes on Elton John's "Your Song", but there is a lot to recommend here. Other highpoints include the big band arrangement of "Sparkling Diamonds", Nicole Kidman's distinctive voice holding up well. Most of this soundtrack works well without the movie's visuals, but the spoken word version of "Like A Virgin" is truly cringe-worthy.
OST - The Scorpion King - (Universal ) ** Night & Day March 2002
It's probably testament to how big "The Scorpion King" film is expected to be, that the soundtrack was able to pull in so many big names, thereby also doubling as a pretty comprehensive look at today's hard rock scene. The 16 tracks here include most of the current top names from Creed to System Of A Down, but top nod goes to local favorites P.O.D. with a killer remix of their "Set It Off", though Rob Zombie's and Ozzy Osbourne's "Iron head" comes close. If you like your rock bombastic, angst filled and loud, than this will likely be an essential listen.
OST - Shrek (Dreamworks) ***
Surprisingly cohesive and eclectic selection of songs from the current animated kids film, heavy on dance oriented glossy pop. Best track is easily Leslie Carter's insanely catchy "Like Wow!" and there are also get 2 different takes on Monkees classic "I'm a Believer", the first a heavy slightly rearranged take from Smash Mouth, and a shorter, not as bad as it could've been version, from Eddie Murphy. With a range from the Baha Men ("Best Years Of Our Lives") to Eels ("My Favorite Monster") there is something for just about everyone, making even the film score closing the CD seem a natural conclusion to a better than average soundtrack..
OST - Someone Like You (TVT 6980) *
There are some fine tunes on Someone Like You including Van Morrison's title track and Shelby Lynne's "Dreamsome", but they shine like diamonds amongst the dross. Hindered by pointless remakes, none worse than Tom Jones and the Cardigans duet on the Talking Heads "Burning Down The House" -though London Bus Stop's annoying cover of "Get It On" comes frighteningly close- "Someone Like You" never gains momentum or involves the listener, coming off like a scattershot collection of random songs rather than a cohesive soundtrack or listening experience.
OST - Songcatcher (Combustion) ***
Doubling as an exploration of Appalachian music, "Songcatcher" is an impressive achievement that can stand on it's own. With an all star cast including Rosanne Cash, Maria Mckee, and Emmylou Harris, the music wavers between folk and country. Top cuts are either Iris Dement's fiddle and voice lament "Pretty Saro" or Dolly Parton and Emmy Ressum's mandolin drenched "When Love Is New", but it's hard to pick amongst so many great heart felt songs and performances.
OST - Van Wilder - (Ultimatum 466732) ** Night & Day March 2002
Just like most National Lampoons movies, there is little subtle about this soundtrack, with most of the music meant to be played at maximum volume and shouted along with. That said, this works well as a sampler of up and coming alternative rock acts, with just enough variety to keep things interesting. While there is no faulting the powerpop hooks, energy or dynamics of tracks such as Jimmy Eat World's "Bleed American" or American Hi-Fi's "I'm A Fool", the tunes that really stand out are the ones that break out from the pack stylistically, particularly David Mead's shuffling "Girl On A Roof" and Fuzz Townshends dance hall influenced "At Auntie Tom's".
OST - Zoolander (Hollywood)**
A very schizophrenic dance oriented soundtrack to Ben Stiller's new comedy about a male model. A brace of hard edged numbers from the likes of Orgy ("Faces"), The Crystal Method ("Now Is The Time") and others rub shoulders with some of the eighties most overplayed hits including Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go " and Herbie Hancock's "Rockit", for a slightly disconcerting listening experience. There is also a batch of remakes on hand, the best track being one of those, the Wallflowers take on the Bee Gee's "I Started A Joke", though Rufus Wainwright's wonderful "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" (originally by the Hollies) comes close. Despite a few nice moments, this is too disjointed for casual listening.