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Various Artists - "Blue Crush" Soundtrack Print E-mail
Tuesday, 13 August 2002

Various Artists
Blue Crush Soundtrack
format: CD
label: Virgin Records
release year: 2002
performance: 6
sound 7
reviewed by: Dan MacIntosh

ImageTo put it bluntly, “Blue Crush” is a movie about chick surfers, so one might rightly expect to hear plenty of songs about surfing, chicks, or even surfing chicks on its soundtrack disc. But these 11 songs end up having little at all to do with this movie’s uncomplicated plot. It is, instead, a collection of mostly emerging artists, all crammed onto one CD, and the only wave it seemingly wants to catch is a swelling upward sales curve.

A cover of Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” by Blestenation (retitled the “Blestenation Mix” here) is about as close as this landlocked release ever gets to coastal fun-in-the-sun soundtrack music. Much like Puff Daddy (or whatever he happens to call himself these days), this hip-hop outfit mostly raps over the original British girl group recording, with little else changed of the track. Then there’s “Party Hard” by Beenie Man -- which is much more serious than fun -- that rolls to a modified reggae beat. Its subject matter is exactly what is suggested by the title, although one hardly needs surf and sand to party this hard. It would have been a far better fit as the block party anthem for an urban flick, instead.

Rather than stocking this disc with sounds that are easily categorized as obvious beach music, Blue Crush contains more than a few variations on reggae beats. Chicken’s “Big Love” is nice and smooth lovers’ reggae, while Damian Marley updates his dad’s “Could You Be Loved?” as “And Be Loved,” with samples from his father’s original as the foundations for his entreating rap.

Many musical references to old school soul also run their way through quite a few of these tracks. Nikka Costa’s “Everybody Got Their Something” is slinky funk, with a percolating, Stevie Wonder-inspired groove that is punctuated by lightly sprinkled Al Green-esque horns at track’s end. Playgroup’s “Front 2 Back (Fatboy Slim Remix)” is a direct descendant of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Let’s Groove Tonight,” and is simply all about dancing and having fun.

Lenny Kravitz is the only big name on this collection, and his “If I Could Fall In Love” sounds like about a million other Kravitz tracks. “If Only He Could Find A New Sound” is much more like it.

A few of the remaining tracks on this disc are as severely out of place as people walking along the beach in formal attire. They include Beth Orton’s sly, come-hither vocal over slightly techno backing on “Daybreaker” and Dove’s dirge-y and ominous-sounding instrumental, “Firesuite.”

This album would have been a mildly enjoyable sampling of a few talented artists, had it not smacked so strongly of commercial tie-in. Listeners are advised to surf through these tracks -- to pick out the few good waves – and then just let the rest roll back to the bottom of the sea.

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