Summer Movie Soundtracks (7/31/98)

Soundtrack to Mr. Jealousy (RCA Victor 1998) - For the new film "Mr. Jealousy" starring Eric Stoltz and Annabella Sciorra, writer/director Noah Baumbach has assembled a soundtrack with a Continental feel. With four tracks by guitar-based alt rockers, Luna, the soundtrack is a smooth listen.

I didn't see the movie, and can't say whether the soundtrack adds to it. But I enjoy the understated feel of the disk, which includes Luna's remake of "Jealous Guy" (by John Lennon), "It's Raining," by chanteuse Irma Thomas, and Harry Chapin's plaintive, "Cat's in the Cradle."

The tracks by Luna are the highlight, including their previous hit, "Chinatown." Adding to the Continental feel are contributions by Françoise Hardy, Robert Een, and Autour de Lucie.

For a smooth summer soundtrack, try Mr. Jealousy.

Soundtrack to Small Soldiers (Dreamworks 1998) - Director Joe Dante is back with Small Soldiers, which tells the story of the "Commando Elite" and their battles against the Gorgonites. The toys have a mind of their own, and eventually turn on the humans in their world. Like Gremlins, "Small Soldiers" has a dark side that may not be appropriate for small children.

The soundtrack is a collection of 70's and 80's rockers, twisted and rapped-up for a hip-hop audience. The lead single is a cover of 1970's hit "War," by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, with Flesh-n-Bone and Henry Rollins, Tom Morello, and Flea.

Other tracks include the Pretenders' "My City Was Gone," with additional vocals by Kool Keith and remixing by Butcher Bros., "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen, with additional vocals by Wycleff Jean (from the Fugees), and "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar, with additional vocals by Queen Latifah.

The album also includes remixes of "The Stroke" by Billie Squire and "Surrender" by Cheap Trick.

The new versions work, but they're a bit unsettling, as the rappers and remixers put a twist into the tracks. Good for the kids, and a twist for the parents.

Soundtrack to There's Something About Mary (Capitol Records 1998) - "There's Something About Mary" is the outrageous new comedy produced by the Farrelly Bros. (Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly), who also created "Dumb and Dumber" (which gets funnier every time you watch it). The new movie features low-brow humor that takes aim at just about every taboo, with some very funny gags.

The soundtrack is a mixed bag, as Jonathan Richman's laconic folk stylings are balanced against uptempo tracks like "History Repeating" (featuring Miss Shirley Bassey) by The Propellerheads and Joe Jackson's 1979 hit, "Is She Really Going Out With Him?"

Also included are tracks by the Dandy Warhols ("Every Day Should be a Holiday"), Ivy ("This is the Day"), and Ben Lee ("How to Survive a Broken Heart").

On first listen, the album was a little too smart for me; in particular, the opening track by Jonathan Richman ("There's Something About Mary") left me non-plussed. But after seeing the film (which includes several cameos by Richman performing his songs in his detached, semi-ironic style), the soundtrack grew on me.

There's Something About Mary will be one of the summer's comedy hits, and the soundtrack is a fair memento of the film.

Mono, Formica Blues (Mercury 1998) - Mono is a British import consisting of producer and London Guild Hall alum Martin Virgo and seductive singer Siobhan DeMare. With DeMare's breathy vocals, Formica Blues is trance pop with a smooth edge.

Virgo is an accomplished studio hand, having worked with Massive Attack and Bjork. The dreamy landscape of Formica Blues is flavored by such cuts as "Silicon" (which includes a sample from Burt Bachrach's "Walk on By"), "Disney Town," and "Life in Mono" (which sounds like the title track to a James Bond flick).

With a mix of dreamy dance and romantic pop, Formica Blues could only be from London. Fans of sexy trance will dig it.

- Randy Krbechek © 1998

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