Anyone who has read my review for this film knows that I absolutely consider it a modern masterpiece. The music is half of what makes the experience so marvelous. Listening to this soundtrack recently, I'm really moved by how inventive and stirring it is from start to finish. I really, really wanted to hand this a five-star `A' review, but after really listening and contemplating my feelings on each track I've realized that, as some have already mentioned, this album is kind of `all over the place'. The tracks that work, work BRILLIANTLY, but there is a fair share of flawed and even mediocre offerings, not to mention a few that seem rather unnecessary. So, while as a whole I totally recommend this album because it contains some truly great work, I have to say that it is not without its moments of indifference.
I'll start from the bottom and work my way up.
`To You I Bestow' is just bland. There isn't anything wrong with it, if you enjoy that alterative 90's rock vibe, but there is nothing special here either. It's very forgettable. `Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)' is an interesting if unnecessary inclusion. It carries with it the whole `religious atmosphere' that was prevalent (and so stunning) in the film, but it feels a tad underwhelming upon reflection. Speaking of `unnecessary', `Introduction to Romeo' is just a strange case of deja-vu (we already have Radiohead's `Talk Show Host' on the album) and really serves no purpose other than to contain Leonardo DiCaprio's voice over from the film. It doesn't do anything for the soundtrack. Still, the worst track here is `Angel'. Some may disagree, and maybe it's just that this is far from my cup of tea, but the song is the epitome of mediocrity and it throws off my mood, especially since the songs that come before and after it are some of my favorites on the album.
`Young Hearts Run Free' (in both of its versions) is not a song that I typically would listen to, but I admire its inclusion here because it adds a certain layer of fascination to the soundtrack and the film itself. I prefer the version from the film, which was one of the sporadic and hypnotic highlights of Baz's masterpiece.
I don't really `get' Baz's decision to include `Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)', but it is an entertaining and comical interlude, if not a tad unnecessary.
`Pretty Piece of Flesh' and `Whatever (I Had a Dream)' are both nearly amazing songs. They both have similar tones and compositions and are engaging and entertaining and carry with them the modern trama that engulfs the film, but they also seem to stumble a bit in areas. They lack that final finesse that could have made them spotless. Still, they are great additions to the album and in no way shape or form take away from the album as a whole.
I'm very happy they are here.
Radiohead's `Talk Show Host' is probably the best track here that fits beautifully with the tone and mood of the film. It is soft and delicate yet it carries a layer of eerie tragedy that meshes brilliantly with the films message. Who doesn't love `Lovefool'? I mean, this song is just so infectious and charming and certainly one of the most recognizable and likable songs of the 90's. Speaking of infectious and likable, `You and Me Song' is the epitome of that and really sends shivers of enjoyment down my spine every time I listen to it. It's such a fun and jovial song and it really captures the essence of teen romance and infatuation. I really didn't `get' `Little Star' the first time I heard it, but after listening to it numerous times I have become haunted (in a beautiful way) by Stina Nordenstam's vocals.
Speaking of haunting vocals, Desiree Weekes is just marvelous here with her stunning `Kissing You'. I think EVERYONE remembers this scene (that fish tank) and can't help but feel that lump in your throat as you witness the love blossom almost instantly between these two doomed lovers. Both versions (the instrumental as well) of this song are just unforgettable.
Depending on what version you have, you may or may not have the splendid version of `When Doves Cry' on the CD. If you do, then you are blessed for it is outstanding.
And that leaves me with the two BEST songs on this album, bar none. `#1 Crush' and `Local God', the albums show stopping opening tracks. Garbage is a band that I was in love with for a long time, and this song is what opened my eyes to them. Shirley Manson's vocals are just mesmerizing haunting, and this song itself is the perfect compliment ot the film, for while engaging us in a tale of love and lust it manages to show an air of darkness that is essential in selling the modern spin taken by Baz in developing this fantastic interpretation of Shakespeare. I had been a fan of Everclear's already, but `Local God', for me, is one of their best songs ever. It carries their trademark upbeat aura, but it has such bite. You can almost feel that gnashing of teeth; it's glorious.
"You look so stupid!"
So, the fact that half of this album is sub par means nothing to me when the other half is as brilliant as it is. Like I said, I wish I could hand this an `A' review, and in my head this will always be an essential album and one I will cherish for all times. So, consider this a `B+' with very, very high recommendations from a total fan!