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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing accompaniment to an amazing hour of TV!, 25 Sep 2002
Joshua J. Seymour "darkjosh" - See all my reviews
The musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Once More, With Feeling", is one of the most inventive, astonishing, brilliantly acted and directed hours of television of all time. It received enormous amounts of critical praise, and huge fan adoration. The songs, written by show creator Joss Whedon and performed by the cast themselves, were all excellent. The musical format was ideal for this genre-bending show. And now, the songs are finally available to buy on this beautifully packaged CD. The booklet contains a nice intro from Joss, and the complete song lyrics. Here is the track listing, and my little reviews:
1. Overture/Going Through The Motions: The overture is a cute little piece, made up of tunes from other songs. On Going Through The Motions, Sarah Michelle Gellar displays her adequate vocal talents in this well-written song of suicidal despair. 9/10
2. I've Got A Theory/Bunnies/If We're Together: This song contains much humour as the Scooby Gang wildly theorize about what is causing the strange singing curse. The Bunnies segment is absolutely hysterical. Buffy's section has beautiful, life-affirming, ironic lyrics. 9/10
3. The Mustard: Mildly amusing, short song about successful laundry. (Sung by Buffy writer/director David Fury) 7/10
4. Under Your Spell- Possibly the best song on here. Amber Benson's voice is beautiful and sweet, the lyrics are haunting and wonderfully expressive of Tara's deep feelings for Willow.
5. I'll Never Tell- Funnily performed and written, this is a warm and affectionate song behind all the bickering. It is reminiscent of duet's from the classic movies of the 50's and it works well. 8/10
6. The Parking Ticket- Short, sweet song about the pain of getting parking tickets, sung by Buffy Co-Exec Producer Marti Noxon. Kind of a satire of epic, sweeping ballads? 8/10
7. Rest In Peace- Great rock song, with awesome lyrics, finally letting us know some of what Spike really thinks about Buffy. It is enhanced by James Marsters' expressive voice. 8/10
8. Dawn's Lament- Showcases Michelle Trachtenberg's cute voice and Dawn's desperate feelings. 8/10
9. Dawn's Ballet- Nice piece of music, but it doesn't really work too well without the action onscreen. 7/10
10. What You Feel- Smooth jazz song, with impressive vocals and funny and disturbing lyrics. 8/10
11. Standing- Beautiful song. Anthony Stewart Head's voice is so full of pain and anguish, and the lyrics are wonderfully evocative. 9.5/10
12. Under Your Spell/ Standing (Reprise)- Amber Benson and Anthony Stewart Head's voices blend very well to produce this heartbreaking farewell to two very different types of love.
13. Walk Through The Fire- Melodic, epic song, combining all the characters, all struggling against personal demons, their senses of wrong and right, and the horrifying urge to sing. Particularly impressive are Amber Benson and Nick Brendon, who, although is not a great singer, he is a real trooper and gives his all. The lyrics of this song are cleverly metaphorical.
14. Something to Sing About- This is a stunning song. Sarah Michelle Gellar truly impresses. It really shows the huge amount of effort she is putting in, and the results it gets. The lyrics are poignant, full of despair, and eventually heartbreaking as Buffy reveals the horrible truth of where she was to her friends. 10/10
15. What You Feel- Reprise- Nice reprise, amusing lyrics. "That's what it's all about." 9/10
16. Where Do We Go From Here?- Very moving song. Haunting lyrics and vocals, enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up on end. 9.5/10
17. Coda- In the episode, this song comes complete with shocking impact and a stunning final shot. It is slightly less powerful on CD, but is still a nice wrap-up to this very emotional episode. 9/10
18. End Credits (Broom Dance/ Grr Arrgh)- Funny, definitely listenable jazz bop. 8/10
19. Main Title- Cute little variation on the regular theme tune. Is it me or does this sound a little bit Christmassy?
20. Suite From Restless- Atmospheric arrangement, in particular the African theming and soft singing linger in the mind. 8/10
21. Suite From Hush- Amazingly creepy music. Brilliantly evokes the terrifying silent episode Hush. Few will ever forget the sight of the Gentleman slowly gliding down the street, with the haunting music sending a shiver through your body. 8/10
22. Sacrifice- Who didn't cry when they first heard this? The lasting images of Buffy swandiving into the portal, of Dawn weeping at the top of the tower, of the gang's discovery of the body, of the horribly final sight of Bufyf's gravestone. This music is touching, painful, beautiful, and entirely unforgettable. 10/10
23. Something To Sing About- Okay, so this is Joss' wife, Kai Cole, singing Buffy's big number. It's not a great listen, (her voice is okay, but nothing special, and don't say "well, you could say the same thing about SMG", because the situation is different) and the backing is lacking (rhymes!), and though I know (and again!) that is because this is a demo, it is still not particularly interesting. 6/10
So overall, this CD is a worthy addition to any Buffy-lover's collection, and possibly any person who enjoys (mostly) good music. It compliments, and slightly adds too, what I believe to be the best episode of Buffy of all time, and yes, DEFINITELY one of the best hours of television of all time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why? This has plenty of feeling the first time, 26 Jan 2003
...Okay, so maybe the cast aren't posessed of the greatest voices since Nat King Cole and Sheryl Crow, but they do pretty damn well. Joss Whedon (creator, producer and writer of this whole episode) has proved himself a genius, mixing all kinds of musical styles to create an unforgettable episode. I wasn't sure how well it would work without the visuals but it does work, and it's still damn good.
Laugh at Anya's hysterical bunny rant (and if anyone knows why she hates bunnies I'd love to find out) in track two. Get all wistful and romantic with Tara's love song to Willow in the lovely track four, Under Your Spell. Her voice could be stronger but for someone with no training it's pretty amazing. Listen to all the lyrics of the Parking Ticket aria on track six. It will make you laugh so hard, and who hasn't thought of doing that?
James Marsters... well, really I'd prefer to look at him than listen to him on track seven, but his voice is pretty sexy too, really. It's at this point you start to realise there is a point to this series of songs: they all start to say something about how the characters feel about each other. Track eleven is a bittersweet ballad by Giles about how he has to leave Buffy to stand on her own feet. It's followed by what I think is the highlight of the album: his duet with Tara when they both realise they must leave, him to go to England, her to live without Willow's mind-control magic.
Track thirteen is a blatant 'Tonight' from West Side Story copy, but it's still pretty funky and has some great harmonies, as well as Willow's wry 'I think this line's mostly filler'. FYI, apparently the actress didn't want to sing on this, although I think she does okay. If bad minor notes make you cringe, then stay away from track fourteen, although it is a major turning point in the story of the series. Buffy can't quite slide the notes, although Spike just about carries it off.
The last four tracks are not OST from the episode, but still worth a listen. The demo at the end is actually better sung than the real version, just remember: it's a tape recorder, not a studio. It's supposed to sound raw. Track 22, called Sacrifice, is the theme to which Buffy died at the end of series five. It's beautiful. It really made me cry.
Okay. That's the longest review ever. Buy this soundtrack ('cos these guys really need the money, huh?), it's really actually pretty good. Plus the photos of the cast are cool, and Joss Whedon's commentary is really funny.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good buy for Buffy fans., 25 Jan 2005
E. R. Welsby (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
If you're not a Buffy fan already, you probably wouldn't be interested in this CD - aside from anything else, lots of the lyrics of the songs would probably not make much sense to you. But to Buffy fans, this is a good album.
Some of the singers are not as good as others - and why should they be; they're really actors on a drama show, they weren't cast for their singing abilities. However, they all do their best, and some of the singers, for instance Amber Benson, Anthony Stewart Head and James Marsters, are pretty good.
There's a mix of songs on the album, and they're nice to listen to - I've played the album many times since I bought it. Some of the lyrics are great - 'I'll Never Tell' being a good example. The addition of some scores from other Buffy episodes is wonderful - I particularly like 'Sacrifice' from 'The Gift,' it always makes me remember the scene in which it was played. I'm not so keen on the inclusion of the demo of 'Something To Talk About' - it was interesting to hear once, but not something I really want to keep playing.
Overall, a good album and one I listen to quite frequently, but probably only worth it for people who already know the Buffy story and have seen the episode Once More, With Feeling.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once more with improvements, 24 Sep 2002
Marcus L. Rowland "Marcus" (London) - See all my reviews
As soon as I'd seen the Buffy episode "Once More With Feeling" I knew that I wanted a CD of the music. It's been a while coming, but it was worth the wait, and a real improvement on the MP3 files that have been around for a while. Most of the tunes have longer intros than in the original show, all of the distracting background noise is gone, and so forth. There's also a booklet including cast photos, the words of all the songs, and a three-page "How I Came To Write This" article by Joss Whedon.
There are a few very minor cuts - most notably, and least excusably, the tap-dancing introduction to "Sweet's Song" is gone, as is the Henchman's short "song". Spike's interruption to "Where Do We Go From Here" is also missing. None of this is important, since they are all things that work better on screen than on the CD, but they should be noted.
The extras are excellent - the suites from "Restless" and "Hush" contain some of the best and creepiest themes that have been used in the show, and the track from "The Gift" is the music that climaxed Season 5. The demo track of "Something To Sing About" is interesting, if not exactly good - Joss Whedon sings better than he dances (in late episodes of Angel season 2), but that isn't necessarily saying he's good.
Obviously this isn't going to be to everyone's taste - you need to be a Buffy fan, and it helps considerably if you have seen the episode first. Those who haven't seen Buffy season 6 should be aware that the songs include some spoilers for the beginning of the series. But if you're OK on this it's a CD I can thoroughly recommend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is there anything Joss Whedon can't do?, 9 Mar 2004
By A Customer
It should have been horrible - a novelty musical episode using the regular cast's voices - but it turned out to be rather wonderful.
Catchy tunes and witty (sometimes quite risque) lyrics which (for the most part) stand up by themselves away from the episode. OK, some of the voices are noticeably weaker than others (I don't think that either Nicholas Brendon or Alyson Hannigan are destined for a career in music) but most of the cast are quite adequate and three really stand out - Anthony Head, Amber Benson and Emma Caulfield. Mr Whedon seems to have wisely matched the song to the talent so we have Amber Benson channeling Kate Bush in a beautiful, intricate ballad and Nick Brendon doing a sort of 1930s style musical number which relies less on the tune and more on the lyrics (plus he's propped up by Emma Caulfield). SMG does quite well; her songs suit her voice and she only very occasionally sounds stretched. The whole cast singing together works very well.
It is all very easy on the ear and I'm hooked but be warned - you will inevitably start singing these songs to yourself in public during unguarded moments and people will ask you what they are - are you brave enough to admit to your friends and aquaintances that you love the Buffy Musical soundtrack? It's not like you can pass it off as the latest one from Coldplay to maintain some semblance of cool...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The funniest CD ever, 20 Dec 2002
I was spellbound by this episode of Buffy. It was such an original idea to take a fantasy TV show and 50's style musical and combine them. It was especially funny in the episode to see characters (Spike in particular) look annoyed when they start singing and can't stop.
After seeing this episode, I immediatly went out and bought the CD and sheet music book. Some of my favourite tracks are 'Walk Through The Fire' and 'Something To Sing About'.
I was rather shocked to fins out that it was actually the actors singing and not other people. Allyson Hannigan has a terrible singing voice and it was quite funny to hear her one line in 'Walk through the fire' to be 'I think this line's mostly filler'.
I would recommend this CD to any fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but you will appreciate it more after seeing the episode.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheesy but oh so catchy!, 15 Jan 2003
It definitely helps to be an avid Buffy fan to appreciate this CD. Once More, With Feeling is one of my favourite episodes of Buffy and so I was always destined to love the soundtrack. Among its gems are Under Your Spell - a classic love song with a gay twist that's better than most of what gets into the pop charts - and Walk Through the Fire - truly great in the theatrical musical style, with full group harmonies. My only gripe with the album is that I would probably enjoy some parts of it more if they were sung by professionals, for example Sarah Michelle Gellar happily admits that she has more talent for acting than for singing. On the other hand, the amateur and unusual quality of this CD is what makes it special. If you do buy it take the time to read Joss Whedon's passage before the lyrics - it made me realise that Once More, With Feeling has more behind it than the makers of Buffy goofing around. I'd love to see these songs adapted into a full length stage show - come on Joss, think of it as another interesting project!
A word of warning: if you buy this you will love it, but your friends may not, and you may be seen as pretty geeky listening to songs from a TV show. The good thing is, you won't care, because once you own this album you'll be completely addicted. I've got to go now because I haven't listened to it for 15 mins and I'm getting withdrawl symptoms...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun for fans, 24 Sep 2002
Gareth Moore (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
Let's be honest - this isn't really something you'd want to buy if you have no idea who Buffy is, but then if that's you then you're probably on the wrong page anyway. All of the vocal parts are sung by the original cast members and it's clear that some of them have much stronger voices than others, although the end result usually isn't that bad - but if you buy this expecting a typical musical sound then you're going to get a bit of a shock!
The CD actually has some additional tracks not shown in the list above, with two orchestral suites from Hush and Restless and an extract from another episode, plus a demo track sung by Joss Whedon and his wife - and for that alone this might be an essential purchase for many fans. In fact Joss Whedon has a good voice - better than any of the male voices that appear on the album proper, and despite his self-mocking comments in the album booklet he's not a bad piano player either. It's definitely interesting and makes you curious to hear the rest of his demo tracks.
If you haven't seen the accompanying Buffy episode (not yet shown on terrestrial TV in the UK) then this soundtrack probably isn't for you - it's musically varied and more than a little random when taken in isolation, but it works really well as the accompanying soundtrack to the pictures. So who should buy this? Well, anyone who has enjoyed the episode in question and got the songs stuck in their heads (which happens when you watch it too many times - not that I'd know, of course...) - it's a sublimely brilliant piece of television - and anyone who counts themself as a Buffy fan or is interested to get their hands on the bonus tracks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 11 Jan 2004
A Buffy fan? Don't have this album? Shame on you!
Not a Buffy fan? Don't have this album? Even worse a crime, a double whammy for not liking Buffy AND not having this album!
Ok, might have got a bit ahead of myself there. This album is the collective songs off one of the most creative, inspiring, well written episodes off Buffy the Vampire Slayer, perhaps even of any programs out there at this minute. Seen the Operatic last episode of Futurama? This one goes all the way.
I have no idea why I referred to that.
Everything from Bunnies, to Tara's beautiful song towards Willow your'll be singing everyday and in my own experience, no one has been able to get the mustard out of the cuboard without a song!
You don't really need to have seen the episode, but it's a shame you haven't. Basically, if you are a Buffy fan then you have to have this. This just sums up the whole of Joss Whedons imagination and talent: Brilliant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly composed, greatly sung..., 6 Oct 2002
I love Buffy the Vampire SLayer. The program is fantastically written with humor, drama and excitement mixed with an added flavour of danger (sounds like a recipe but it isn't). So when I heard of the episode Once More With Feeling you can understand how happy I was and I definitly knew it was to be a hit. The songs are funny, sad, powerful and original and the cast perfrom superbly! I would however reccomend the biggest buffy fans buy the music from I have noticed that the CD, although pricier contains more tracks including music from 'Hush' and 'Gift' some of the most tear jerking and scary episodes to air on TV. So play the music and play it loud, because it's certainly a master piece Joss has once again produced! YOU GO JOSS (and everyone else on the team)
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