This review also appeared in the Austin American-Stateman on February 5, 1998.
'Great' soundtrack is merely OK
By Chuck Campbell, Knoxville News-Sentinel music critic
"Great Expectations: The Album," various acts (Atlantic)
Ambitiously eccentric, "Great Expectations: The Album" is hounded by misfires.
As the soundtrack for the "Great Expectations" movie -- loosely based on Charles Dickens and starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow -- the compilation aspires to draw a hipper demographic without necessarily ostracizing the not-so-hip.
Spacey Tori Amos kicks off the affair, having an asthma attack during the otherwise instrumental "Finn (Intro)," which serves as a teaser for the movie's score album composed by Patrick Doyle.
Then Amos offers more typical material with "Siren" as the soundtrack launches its self-consciously bizarre journey.
Welcome stops along the way include Mano's "Life in Mano," a dainty swirl of a song that sounds like the soundtrack for a '70s soft-core porn flick, Poe's springy "Today," Lauren Christy's palpitating "Walk This Earth Alone" and Cesaria Evora's traditional Latin romance, "Besame Mucho."
Most unusual is Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland doing a solo turn on the baroque "Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down" (featuring Sheryl Crow on accordion), while his onetime rival, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, is as pained as ever on "Sunshower," overwhelming the song's subtle arrangement with all the grace of Michael Bolton.
Aside from serviceable numbers from Pulp ("Like a Friend") and The Verve Pipe ("Her Ornament"), the soundtrack is rounded out dubiously D humdrum stuff from Duncan Sheik ("Wishful Thinking," the first single), Fisher ("Breakable") and David Garza ("Slave") plus a grating "Resignation" from Reef and irrelevant oldies from Iggy Pop ("Success") and the Grateful Dead ("Uncle John's Band").
Periodically entertaining, the soundtrack is too scattershot.
Rating (five possible): 3
Chuck Campbell is a News-Sentinel music critic. His column also is available at www.knoxnews.com/rest.html
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