|by Natasha Theobald
This soundtrack is too cool for me. It taunts me with its insistent electronic sounds and chic, indiscernible, 'European' vocal accents. Much of this music sounds like it was made on a spaceship by computers and robots and technologically superior alien beings and sent to us from the future. One of the bands is even called The Cooler Kids. It's taunting me, I tell you.
Highlights start with a song called "Another Girl, Another Planet" from The Only Ones. It has a good sound that sort of sticks with you, and I really like the guy's voice. It is even more welcome in the whole of this soundtrack dominated, appropriately for the movie, by female voices. Unlike some of the other stuff, it sounds like actual instruments may have been used, as well, which really sets it apart.
More goodness comes here from The Cure with "The Love Cats." I cannot hear the song without bouncing around like a bit of an idiot. I can't really believe it is now more than two decades old, either, because the sound is still fresh and fun to me. Straying slightly for a moment, was anyone else as utterly devastated as I was to realize that The Cure had given their song to the movie Just Like Heaven? I sat listening to it play over the end titles with my mouth just gaping. The cover in the beginning was bad enough but my GOD. I wanted to cry. I hope they got paid very, very well.
While we are addressing the oldies, let's address one welcome addition and one extremely unwelcome one. First, if you are going with this kind of music, you can never go wrong with including some New Order. "Temptation" may be no "Bizarre Love Triangle," but I felt like I was in high school all over again. As for the other, I don't know if you remember Erasure, but they suck. The song is "A Little Respect," and I actively resent having been forced to hear it again lo these many years after it finally fell from the airwaves. Boo to Erasure. Yuck.
In this soundtrack full of breathy, ethereal, "This Woman's Work" in the upper range-type vocals, Jessy Moss shows up midway through with some power. "Telling You Now" is a warning, a confrontation, a laying of cards on the table. I like a strong woman giving a 'this is where you stand' speech, and she makes it sassy. (Keep in mind that the Kate Bush reference applies only to vocal quality. Remember that the underlying sounds have been electronically generated and are often less than melodic.)
The rest of the soundtrack fits pretty neatly within the spaceship analogy. Can you dance to it? Well, you can Rave dance to it, do the 'I'm moving so I don't fall over' thing where you feel it with your body and whatever you have put into your body to, ya know, help you feel it. Some of it is good. I liked tracks from Messy and "Strict Machine" by Goldfrapp. I disliked an overlong track from Robots in Disguise and "Crystalline Green" from Goldfrapp, which has such a sickeningly sweet vocal line that I just needed to make it stop.
In all, the sixteen tracks felt like too much of the same thing. While the sounds of the future were cool in some respects, it became too much of an interesting oddity, like rebellious teens who all choose to rebel in exactly the same way. Honestly, I had to listen in shifts over several weeks, through good moods and bad, to give the whole thing a fair shot. That said, this is exactly the kind of music that kicks much ass in small doses on the big screen. Take the right two bars from an irritating, eight minute song, and it hits just the right note for the film and the audience.
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originally posted: 06/15/06 18:30:36
last updated: 06/23/06 11:22:05