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Randy Newman - "Meet the Parents" Soundtrack  Print E-mail
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Bryan Dailey   
Tuesday, 03 October 2000

Music by Randy Newman
Origianl Motion Picture Soundtrack
Dreamworks Records, 2000
| Performance 5.5 | Sound 8 |

Every so often, a movie soundtrack comes along that is so complete that it transcends the film that it is named after. Saturday Night Fever saw the Bee Gees at their pinnacle and became one of the best selling albums of all time. Prince’s Purple Rain is considered by many to be his best work, and was more successful than the film itself.


The soundtrack companion to the film ‘Meet the Parents,’ on the other hand, is the kind of record that leaves you wondering why they even bothered to put the album out at all. With a box office total of $26 million in its first weekend, ‘Meet the Parents’ is the most successful October release to date. The Robert De Niro/Ben Stiller comedy will most likely end up grossing over $100 million, but after seeing ‘Meet the Parents,’ I don’t feel that any of the film’s music is so exceptional that there is a great need to have it on an album. Randy Newman is the featured performer on the ‘Meet The Parents’ soundtrack, contributing three pop songs and co-writing the film’s orchestral pieces. The songs include a bossa nova track called "A Fool in Love," which is straightforward pop, with Randy singing Fats Domino’s "Poor Me" and the classic blues tune "Got My Mojo Working." I’ve never cared for Randy Newman's nasally voice, but over the years, no one can deny that he has written and performed some compelling songs for soundtracks. ‘Toy Story' wouldn’t have been the same without "You’ve Got a Friend In Me," but I think that ‘Meet the Parents’ would have been just as funny and successful without Newman’s track "A Fool in Love." I’m not saying his songs and performances detract from the movie, but there is nothing that is so compelling about them that warrants running out to buy this record.

The middle section of the soundtrack consists of instrumental music that is typical movie filler composition. You’ve heard these same types of melodies, tympani rolls and cymbal crashes before in countless other films. All of these instrumental tracks correspond to their appropriate sections in the film, but Track 6 on the album, "Could you milk ME?", just doesn’t have the same impact that the actual scene did in the film. In other words, here is the music that was in the background during this really funny scene.

After 11 instrumental tracks that span the entire plot of the story, the album closes with three ‘60s pop songs, Bobby Womack performing "I’m Your Puppet," "Ya Ya" by Lee Dorsey and "Big Chief" sung by Dr. John. All three of these are good songs that are a bit of a departure from what you hear in regular rotation on most oldies stations, but again, they are not enough to make this album an essential purchase.

The performances are all above average and the album is as well-recorded as any big-budget Hollywood film. The last three tracks are of course limited to the sound quality that was available back in the day when they were recorded, but the mastering done on these versions adds a little shine and polish to them. Hearing these songs without the compression that is added when broadcast over the radio injects more life into them as well. If ‘Meet the Parents’ is one of your absolute favorite films ever made, by all means, pick this record up, and relive the film again and again. I wouldn’t put ‘Meet the Parents’ on my Top 10 list of films and the music didn’t have a significant impact on me. Unlike the great soundtracks, this album just doesn’t transcend the film in any way.







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