The Next Best Thing
Maverick (9 47595-2)
Release Date: 2000
Conducted by Gabriel Yared
|1.||Boom Boom Ba - Metisse|
|2.||Bongo Bong - Manu Chao|
|3.||Don't Make Me Love You ('Til I'm Ready) - Christina Aguilera|
|4.||American Pie - Madonna|
|5.||This Life - Mandalay|
|6.||If Everybody Looked The Same - Groove Armada|
|7.||Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? - Moby|
|8.||I'm Not In Love - Olive|
|9.||Stars All Seem To Weep - Beth Orton|
|10.||Time Stood Still - Madonna|
|11.||Swayambhu - Solar Twins|
|12.||Forever And Always|
|Track lengths not available for this album. If you have track length/time information for this album, please e-mail it to us at email@example.com and we will add it to the database.|
|by Matthew Sheby
on December 2nd, 2004
Jumping immediately into a review of the "music from the motion picture The Next Best Thing, I know there's an important issue I should cover: what did I think of the "American Pie" cover? Well, I liked it, although the beginning of the song was much more powerful than the end. There was a beautiful chime (or perhaps a bell tree) used after each line in the first verse that emphasized Madonna's voice with its sweet, dulcet tone. When the "danceable" portion began with the first chorus, the chime faded. Without this element, the cover lacked any real luster. What about the other songs on the soundtrack album?
Well, there were quite a few songs that did not curry favor with my ears. The first was "Bongo Bong" by Manu Chao. I swear I heard this tune when playing "Dragon Warrior 2" on my Nintendo ten years ago. "Bongo Bong" definitely irritated me with its Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5"-like vocalization. Immediately after that was Christina Aguilera. I won't even talk about this by-the-book pop number, except to assert that Christina Aguilera cannot maintain a note. She can chase a note, but can't maintain one without a tremolo. If forced into possession of this song, try listening to determine if I'm right or not. Beware, though: with the entire chorus FX thrown on Aguilera's voice, you'll be hard-pressed to identify her unadulterated voice. Finally, the repetitious and boring "This Life" by Mandalay actually first made me think it was a Madonna track – I was mistaken. Female voice over synth horn, synth strings, synth bass line, synth guitar, and synth drums. I mention this with sarcasm because the instruments are patently artificial, sounding akin to a Casio I owned around the same time I played "Double Dragon 2".
Not wanting to sound too self-important, I'll now move to songs that I liked. First, the album begins with "Boom Boom Ba" by Metisse. Whether Metisse is the vocalist or her cat, I don't know, but I truly enjoyed the languid, comfortable feel of her voice. Groove Armada, sampling Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest's "1nce Again" in "If Everybody Looked the Same," comes next on my list. This is the only booty-shaking track on the album (N.B.: I highly recommend Tribe's Anthology).
Once again, I mistook a vocalist for someone else. I could have sworn I was listening to one of Björk's ballads when I heard "I'm Not in Love." However, it turned out to be Olive. Who's Olive? Am I completely ignorant? In any case, this tune is a highlight of the album. She has such an interesting accent/inflection that it's a delight to listen; the lyrics don't matter. Unfortunately, the mixers and/or producers didn't have as much faith in her voice; it's drowned out by the drum machine and keyboards, which I consider a real shame.
Also appealing to my ears is Beth Orton. Her song is a ballad, but also contains a formulaic hip-hop beat. (Is it the same as that in Mary J. Blige's "Real Love?" If not, it's similar.) Orton's voice is entrancing. My only complaint regarding this song is similar to that of Olive's. I like techno as much as the next guy, but once again I must register my complaint here with the sheer inability to elevate the female voice above the level of a mere instrument. It should regain its prominence at the front of the mix.
Worthy of neither scorn nor praise, Moby reprises his own work with "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?". As much as I am a fan of Moby's work, this piece is rather generic (relative to his other work) and not worthy of further comment. Also, Madonna's "Time Stood Still" begins beautifully. Unfortunately, it later becomes guilty of indulging in sheer density of sound, which renders it incomprehensible. Similarly, Solar Twins brings us into the esoteric with "Swayambhu." I have no idea what is being sung, but that's okay. I was never fond of ambient music, which is why I mention this tune here.
The last track derives from the actual score. I'm not experienced enough with the ways of scores to elucidate upon any influences or other works by Gabriel Yared, the composer, but I can say that I like it. Heard on the last track is tranquil, relaxing music that brings to mind "tender love scene" or "peaceful self-realization." I'll give The Next Best Thing two stars out of five.
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