Richmond Times-Dispatch
January 15, 1998

Two upstarts meet great expectations

VARIOUS ARTISTS, "Great Expectations „ The Album" (Atlantic)

If you've seen the trailer for this updated Dickens classic (scheduled to open Jan. 30 and starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow), you can already tell it's going to be a sleek, MTV-ized slice of Hollywood glam, a la "Romeo and Juliet."

There are two soundtracks, this and the film's score. While this one could easily drown in its own pompousness, it surprises with an array of moody, stylized tunes.

Art-rock quirk girl Tori Amos worked extensively with famed film scorer Patrick Doyle on the instrumental "Finn" and "Siren," a bewitching Amos composite with incomprehensible lyrics (as is her way), but a throbbing keyboard melody that strains with tenseness.

Some of the many other worthy contributions on the soundtrack include Pulp's crescendo-building "Like a Friend" and The Verve Pipe's uncharacteristically upbeat "Her Ornament." But the two supernovas here are the upstarts „ sensitive acoustic rocker Duncan Sheik and the irrepressible Poe. Sheik's gorgeous "Wishful Thinking" recalls his fluid radio hit, "Barely Breathing," in style. But the pensive tone of "Wishful" makes it a perfect candidate for a "serious moment" in the film. And Poe's huskily sexy voice is in fine form on "Today."

As for the misses, two former frontmen „Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and Stone Temple Pilots' Scott Weiland „ give their solo ambitions a workout, but both fall flat. Cornell's overwrought "Sunshower" aims to be a gripping power ballad, but is long and messy. Want a power ballad done right? Call Warrant or Bon Jovi already. And Weiland thinks he's waltzing with the ghost of Jim Morrison on the enterprising but unfocused "Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down." Hey guys, your bands broke up (or will soon) for a reason.


Melissa Ruggieri

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