Pop Goes the Diary

Soundtrack: Bridget Jones's Diary (Island)
Various Artists

By David Lilly

I decided to be fair and at least give this one a try. Having heard enough about movie soundtracks - the kind that are apparently an excuse to make a movie for 14 year olds of all ages - to become cynical, it was with much apprehension that I put the soundtrack of the movie Bridget Jones's Diary into my CD player and pressed play. I'm not sure my level of cynicism is any lower, but this is actually a pretty good collection of songs, even though I've heard of only five of the artists, one of whom is deceased, and some of the material sounds generic. What you have, with a few exceptions, is a CD of pop and R&B songs that is sure to be snatched up by most people who see the movie.

More specifically, Shelby Lynne kicks things off with a catchy little rocker, "Killin' Kind," that is bound to blare from car stereos during many a cruise. About halfway through the disc, she shows up again with the quieter, but just as catchy, "Dreamsome." Through the miracle of technology, Sheryl Crow gets to duet with herself a couple of times on another decent-rocker, "Kiss That Girl."

It's encouraging that big-band music is accepted, if not embraced, by some of today's youth. Robbie Williams does the genre proud with "Have You Met Miss Jones?" He shows versatility later with the positively relaxed pop song "Not of This Earth." Jamie O'Neal pulls off a strong cover of Eric Carmen's emotional "All By Myself," a song most of us can relate to at some point. Tracy Bonham's achingly dramatic "Just Perfect" could almost be a discarded song from the Simon and Garfunkel catalogue (and that's a pat on her back). Gabrielle's "Out of Reach" sounds like a generic pop song about hope. (at least it's preferable to a hate anthem) If "It's Raining Men" isn't performed onstage in a musical somewhere, then something in the world of Broadway musicals is wrong. It has "chorus" and "dance troupe" trumpeting all through it, and it's good, though not terribly original.

The highly respected Marvin Gaye is nicely resurrected with his 1973 duet with Diana Ross on "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)." Listen to Alisha's Attic perform "Pretender Got My Heart" and tell me if you don't need your umbrella. It has a melancholic, standing-in-the-rain-but-I-don't-care feeling throughout. It might've been composed at a séance with the somewhat mellowed spirit of Jim Morrison. The recording finishes with a piece of the film's score.

Overall, mainstream ears will be quite pleased with the soundtrack to Bridget Jones's Diary.