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Various Artists - "Riding in Cars with Boys" Soundtrack  Print E-mail
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Dan MacIntosh   
Monday, 16 October 2006

Columbia Records
performance 7
sound 7
released 2001

It would take a master detective to decipher anything concrete about this new Drew Barrymore movie from its wide-ranging soundtrack album, since it does not draw songs from any one particular musical era or style. But if you're looking a collection of (mostly) happy sing-along tunes, this album belongs at the top of your list.

Soundtrack appearances have given Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" more lives than a cat, and it makes yet one more theatre return visit here. With such lighthearted songs, you’d assume the film is just another "chick flick" but it turns out that it not the case. Riding In Cars With Boys is actually a fact-based story of a Catholic girl who got pregnant at 15, married the father of the baby and left him a few years later when he turned out to be an incurable heroin addict, but you’d never guess that from just hearing the soundtrack.

This decievinly lighthearted mood is also expressed through the Phil Specter-sound of "I Wanna Love Him So Bad" by Jelly Beans, a touch of Tex-Mex from "She's About A Mover" by Sir Douglas Quintet and the upbeat stomp of Rare Earth's "I Just Want To Celebrate."

Such optimistic sentiments are leavened by the class struggle filtered through Billy Joe Royal's "Down In The Boondocks" and Skeeter Davis's heart-crushing "End Of The World." Boy, if any girl needed a little fun, it would be the teary Skeeter.

Like a wedding reception, where it's seemingly required by law to touch upon every musical style known to man, "Riding" uncomfortably runs nearly the full gamut. This is why Vic Damone's lounge-y "Cincinnati Dancing Pig" sits back-to-back with the '70s bubblegum soul of "O-o-h Child" by The Five Stairsteps. Songs may appear hours apart on the movie screen, but soundtrack albums literally join ‘em at the hip.


Just like a gathering of un-like-minded people you would never expect to see at the same party, this grouping of diverse pop hits doesn't interact very well together. But as a grab bag of memorable songs, this would make for one fairly nice oldies station super-set.







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