This Moulin Rouge Volume 2 soundtrack was a necessary complement to the original soundtrack, for we fans of the movie were desperately crying out for the original film versions of the amazing songs from the movie; the first soundtrack, as great as it was, in no way satisfied us with its assembly of cover songs and alternate versions of the movie’s most moving and memorable pieces. I love this album, but I admit that I am baffled and disappointed over the fact that it is an incomplete collection; all of the film versions of Moulin Rouge’s fantastic songs should really be available on one album, but you will find a huge gap here with the absence of any version of the amazing El Tango de Roxanne as well as no vocal performance by Ewan McGregor of Your Song (versions of both songs are available on the first soundtrack, however). Another confusing aspect of this CD, at least to me, is the fact that the tracks fall just short of proceeding along a chronological basis; I can’t help wondering why they just didn’t put Meet Me in the Red Room in its proper place in the sequence of songs.
The album opens with an instrumental version of Your Song taken from the “Rehearsal Montage” scene. This is followed by what is supposed to be the original film version of Nicole Kidman’s amazing Sparkling Diamonds number, a song that was rather unabashedly edited and changed on the original soundtrack. However, the voice of Jim Broadbent cannot be heard during the sequence of the song preceding Satine’s wardrobe change behind the skirts of the Can Can girls, so to my mind this is not truly the film version of the song. Nicole Kidman’s singing of One Day I’ll Fly Away is one of the most memorable moments of the film, yet sadly the original film version is not available on either Moulin Rouge soundtrack. Whereas Volume 1 features a track stripped of Ewan McGregor’s delicately overlaying Your Song lyrics; this album features a remix of the song that robs it of much of its power. While The Pitch (Spectacular Spectacular) may be hard to get out of your head, its frivolous fun is an important part of the movie, and its inclusion here is most welcome indeed. The crowning glory of this Volume 2 soundtrack, however, is the original film version of the haunting Come What May. While the snazzier version included on Volume 1 still manages to give me chills, this film version is what the hearts of Moulin Rouge fans find themselves crying for in the night.
In all honesty, the most memorable scene in Moulin Rouge is the highly unusual performance of Like a Virgin by Jim Broadbent and Richard Roxburgh; this completely unexpected scene does much to define the essence of director Baz Luhrmann’s boldness and genius. While it can be an uncomfortable song to sit through, it absolutely belongs on this soundtrack. I am also quite happy that Amiel’s Meet Me in the Red Room is included here; its short appearance in the movie, at the time Christian greets Satine up in the Giant Elephant, left quite an impression on my mind, and I was more than eager to hear the song in its entirety. The frivolity of this track is quickly subsumed by the four remaining songs included here. After a truly melancholy instrumental version of Your Song taken from the “After the Storm” scene, Nicole Kidman and Jim Broadbent present us with their meaningfully melancholy version of Queen’s The Show Must Go On. This is followed by the Ascension/Nature Boy song from the “Death and Ascension” scene, and the extended Bolero track that plays during the film’s closing credits.
I am pretty much obsessed with Moulin Rouge, largely because of the incredible music it gave the world. Naturally, I love both Moulin Rouge soundtracks. I also recognize their faults. This Volume 2 CD fails to be a complete collection of the most significant original songs from the movie. I prefer it to Volume 1 just because I love the movie versions of the songs, but you really have to own both volumes, if for no other reason than the fact that only Volume 1 features a non-instrumental version of Your Song, the incredible Elephant Love Medley, and the unforgettable El Tango de Roxanne. Taken together, both soundtracks meet most of my Moulin Rouge musical needs with one exception: neither contains the brilliant, unprecedented medley of songs extending from Kylie Minogue’s appearance as the Green Fairy through the uniquely mesmerizing first entrance into the Moulin Rouge. Even with the gaps and my small criticisms, however, both Moulin Rouge soundtracks will forever be helping to meet my obsessive need for all Moulin Rouge all the time.