Itís a week of cartoon-turned-live-action-movie soundtracks!
If you canít get enough of the music from Spider-Man, Columbia/Sony Music Soundtrax has now issued a companion to the pop-rock soundtrack from the movie Ė the Original Motion Picture Score by Danny ElfmanÖthe Lava/Atlantic Records soundtrack to the new Scooby Doo movie leads off with toastmaster Shaggy performing a variation of the well-known "Scooby Doo" theme in "Shaggy, Where Are You?" Since the Baha Men "Let The Dogs Out," they are a natural to turn up with a rappish take on the cartoon dogís name in "Scooby D" ("gimme Scooby snacks and Iíll be rapping all night"). Sugar Ray offers one of its bouncing pop tracks in "Words to Me," and Allstars offer the discís most fun track, the bass-bopping Britney Spears knock-off "Bump In The Night." The disc also includes the manic swing of The Atomic Fireballs, a whiny rock track from Blink 182 copycats Simple Plan, a dance offering from Kylie Minogue, and hip hop from Lilí Romeo with Master P, Little T and One Track Mike, Outkast with Killer Mike & Sleepy Brown and more.
The latest Warner Bros. "Total Hits" collection is Totally Hits 2002. Itís out now, and features Tweetís "Oops (Oh My)," Pinkís "Get The Party Started," Outkastís "The Whole World," Michelle Branchís "Everywhere," The Callingís "Wherever You Will Go," Alanis Morissetteís "Hands Clean," Natalie Imbrugliaís "Wrong Impression," Jewelís "Standing Still," Alicia Keysí "A Womanís Worth" and more.
One of the only things that could have made this Bryan Ferry disc better would have been if it had been a Roxy Music disc (the singer did do a reunion tour with his old band last year; Roxy Music released its last album, Avalon, 20 years ago). While the reunion album didnít happen, Roxy stalwarts Brian Eno and Paul Thompson do turn up, helping Ferry put together his strongest solo disc in two decades with Frantic.
While Ferry has focused mainly on interpreting othersí works over the past 10 years (1993ís Taxi, 1999ís As Time Goes By), Frantic includes a mix of cover songs and new originals. It opens with a strong, upbeat take on Bob Dylanís "Itís All Over Now, Baby Blue," which includes both strumming guitars and subtle but strong strings, not to mention Ferry showing off his harmonica chops. He sings with just a touch of that tremulous vocal style that made early Roxy Music so distinctive and sticks with that edgy delivery for the next, original track, the sinuous, urgent "Cruel." Eurythmics Dave Stewart helps out on guitar and songwriting for a couple tracks, including the Avalon-esque shimmery glamour of "Goddess of Love," inspired by Marilyn Monroe ("Marilyn says ĎI got nothing to wear tonight/only a pair of diamond earrings that catch the light/Platinum blonde Ė is it true that you have more fun?")
Another Dylan cover, "Donít Think Twice, Itís All Right," provides a perfect mid-album rest with its quiet piano and harmonica arrangement, before the big sound of latter day Roxy Music reappears through another Ferry/Stewart collaboration in "Nobody Loves Me." Then itís a short burst of madrigal with a snippet of "Ja Hun Hons Pris," written centuries ago by Richard the Lionheart, leading into another lightly strummed ballad in "A Fool For Love," which lets Ferry croon at his coolest.
"Goodnight Irene" goes for the Appalacian fiddles as Ferry nods his way through a Leadbelly foottapper. And then he moves into moody territory with two more originals — the dark, exotic full tones of the David Sylvian-esque "Hiroshima," and mysterious, echoing creepiness of "San Simeon," which features piano, strings, timpani, background whispers and operatic cries as Ferry recites the songís ghostly poetry: "walk up the driveway endlessly curving/go through the front door itís so inviting/Baronial great hall once so exciting/haunted by shadows faces in hiding/chair by the fire I feel a tremor/silent reminder you used to be there."
Frantic wraps up with "I Thought" which pairs Ferry with original Roxy member Eno for a faintly Parisian nostalgic ballad ("I thought youíd be my streetcar named desire/my way Ė my taste of wine").
With a wide range of textures, writers and attacks, Frantic is amazingly cohesive, and rarely manic, as the title might imply. But it is always vocally intriguing and instrumentally lush. This is Ferryís best disc since Avalon.