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VINE VOICEon 25 September 2002
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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on 25 January 2005
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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on 24 September 2002
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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on 15 January 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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on 26 January 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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on 24 September 2002
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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on 12 October 2002
What is there to be said about the fantastical and superbly inventive Buffy musical episode that hasn't already been said? This CD may not be as good as watching the full spectacle, with dialogue and visuals, but this way you can listen to the tracks anywhere you want and spread the word about how good the show is! Most non-Buffy fans might think 'Oh my God, a show about a vampire Slayer is corny enough, but a musical?!'. To those people, I'd say 'wake up and smell the genius'. The show is the best, and this episode is definitely one of the (if not, THE) best to be produced. A track-by-track description follows;
1. Overture/Going Through The Motions - The overture, courtesy of Buffy composer Chris Beck, is wonderful music (reminiscent of Disney, perhaps?) that leads into Sarah Michelle Gellar's first song. Buffy is hunting in the graveyard and suddenly bursts into song - a magical tune, good vocals (not excellent but, hey, she tries!), and a great intro to what's to come.
2.I've Got A Theory/Bunnies/If We're Together - The Scoobies join forces on this wonderful three-track medley kinda thing. Emma Caulfield is hilarious during her 'Bunnies' solo, while 'Theory' is rib-tickling and 'Together' is sweet.
3.The Mustard - An in-joke, as the singer is Buffy producer David Fury. Short but funny...
4.Under Your Spell - The famed Tara song, an ode to Willow. Amber's vocals are amazing, much better than most female chart stars, while the song could easily be a radio-friendly hit. Gorgeous.
5.I'll Never Tell - This scrumptiously funny Anya/Xander duet is packed full of one-liners, and is a song that reflects the weirdness of the relationship. There's also a yummy little instrumental thing in the middle (where Anya 'dances crazy').
6.The Parking Ticket - Another in-joke, this time Marti Noxon (Buff producer) being the singer. Good voice, actually, and a fun song.
7.Rest In Peace - James Marsters' solo. Good lyrics, cool music, but (although James has a great voice) not all parts of the song fit Marsters' vocal range.
8.Dawn's Lament - Michelle Trachtenberg isn't a great singer so thankfully this is quite short.
9.Dawn's Ballet - A wonderfully twisted ballet-style instrumental score courtesy of Chris Beck.
10.What You Feel - Enter Sweet, the villain of the piece. Hinton Battle is a Broadway star, so this jazzy number is a class act.
11.Standing - A little bland music-wise, yet Anthony Stewart Head's vocals make it worthwhile.
12.Under Your Spell/Standing (Reprise) - God, Amber and Anthony should sooooooo do a duet. Lovely harmonies...
13.Walk Through The Fire - The dramatic piece of the musical, a chance for everyone (even Alyson Hannigan) to sing a coupla lines. Coolness...
14.Something To Sing About - Not one of my favourites but SMG does a good job and the revelation about Buffy's being in heaven is devastating.
15.What You Feel (Reprise) - More Hinton Battle, more greatness...
16.Where Do We Go From Here? - Yummy! A group effort, and a bittersweet ballad.
17.Coda - As Buffy and Spike kiss, the curtains close.
18.End Credits - A jazzed-up instrumental version of Where Do We Go From Here?
19.Main Title - Should really be at the start of the CD, this is a new version of the theme tune - less rocked-up, more Disneyesque.
20.Suite from Restless - Wonderfully weird music, atmospheric and creepy.
21.Suite from Hush - My fave Buffy episode and some of my fave Buffy music. Chris Beck's Danny-Elfman-like score for this episode is not to be listened to late at night - heart-stoppingly terrifying.
22.Sacrifice - An emotionally powerful score from The Gift episode. As Buffy dies to save her sister, this music plays in the background - hear it on this CD, and cry all over again.
23.Something To Sing About - This version of Buffy's track is a demo version sung by Joss Whedon's wife Kai Cole, as Joss plays accompanying piano. A little rough around the edges (as this is more like a live performance) but Kai has a cool voice. A nice bonus track...
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on 9 March 2004
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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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 31 October 2002
It is great that the music from the 6th season episode (and highlight) Once More with Feeling has been released on cd (the previous Buffy soundtrack cd emanating from the first couple of seasons). This episode is regularly voted one of the best Buffy episodes (along with The Body & The Gift) and listening to the music it is easy to see why.
Buffy creator Joss Whedon had long harboured an ambition to do a musical episode of Buffy- unlike Moulin Rouge, this is a true musical, i.e. it has original songs that advance the narrative and characters- not well known pop songs in a melange of post-modern karaoke!
The complete music from the episode is present here- even the short asides like The Mustard and The Parking Ticket. There are also extra tracks- the main titles, a demo of Something to Sing About and music from the episodes Hush and Restless.
The songs from Once More with Feeling are all great- the highlights are frequent. Sarah Michelle Gellar is great on Going Through the Motions, Walk Through the Fire & her highlight Something to Sing About. Nicholas Brandon and Emma Caulfield are great on their hollywood style duet, as well as the group songs like I've Got a Theory & Walk Through the Fire (though a major highlight is Caulfield's Bunnies). There are a few cheesy bits outside of the episode- Anthony Head's Standing and the end section of I've got a Theory (If We're Together).
What You Feel (and its reprise ) is great- wonder what The Mask would have been like with Tom Waits in it. Rest in Peace is another highlight, James Marsters in fine Bowie does Rocky Horror mode. The majority of the vocalists are fine, though Alyson Hannigan is a bit out of key in Walk Through the Fire. The highlights are Head and the great Amber Benson (who steals the show here). The best song is all Benson's- Under You're Spell is a charming folk song (think Sandy Denny with more pop)that bursts into sublime harmonics which transcend the devotional lyrics (these remind me of Radiohead's Karma Police, for some reason). Amber Benson rules, pity they had to write here out- would be nice if she did an album of her own?
To conclude- it is great that this has been issued on CD, it means I can stop watching the episode endlessly and do the same to the cd instead. Can we have a musical episode of Angel next , please?
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on 12 November 2015
relive all the songs in the season 6 episode once more with feeling the episode represents how much the show has come forward leaps and bounds how the characters have been developed and loved by the fans this episode was one of the best at least top 10 and this CD is no different the song writing and singing are quite good and I love many on here my favourites been buffy walk through the fire, and under your spell which is beautifully sung also track 2 I've got a theory/Bunnies/If we're together.
The episode itself is quite funny and very moving at times thanks to joss whedon creator of firely, buffy the vampire slayer and angel plus director of avengers assemble and avengers assemble 2 also dollhouse excellent writing it fits in perfectly with the buffy universe so in turn do the songs themselves each character has there part to play lifes a show we all play our part!.
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