Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
CELLULOID HEROES AND ZEROES
BLAME IT ON KENNY LOGGINS'S "FOOTLOOSE" OR MTV'S movie-ization of pop music, but movie soundtracks jazzed up with would-be hit singles are here to stay, as much a part of summertime film-gazing as air-conditioned theaters and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here are the high and low notes of this summer's crop of rock-pile soundtracks.
Best Singles: The "Theme from Mission: Impossible," by U2's Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton (Mother/Island), a wild ride of a dance track, and the Primitive Radio Gods' "Standing Outside a Phone Booth with Money in My Hand," from The Cable Guy (Work Group), a somber tune that establishes a cool, funky groove.
Worst Single: Van Halen's "Humans Being," from Twister (Warner Sunset), which sounds like every Van Halen single of the past five years. Like a tornado, it barges in with explosive energy and sucks the life right out of the room.
Best Cover: "Word Up," by Gun, horn Barb Wire (London). This alternative rock version of the old Cameo dance tune is everything the movie wasn't: fun, funny and worth experiencing over and over again.
Most Eclectic: Stealing Beauty (Capitol). This disc mixes everything from Liz Phair to Portishead to Nina Simone, creating the most diverse and consistently entertaining summer soundtrack.
Worst Use of Oldies: Heaven's Prisoners (Code Blue/Atlantic). A movie set in New Orleans features old tracks by Memphis's B.B. King and Chicago's Buddy Guy—there's a stretch. You're better off with a real blues compilation.
Best Gimmick: Cable Guy's Jim Carrey singing Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love"—with an amazing gargle-vibrato at the end. Grace Slick, look out.
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