I used to have two running music arguments with my friend Meribeth. One involved her support of any band that could not play their instruments, as she believed that rock and roll was all about a feeling and an attitude rather than musical proficiency. The other involved soundtracks. She hosted a local radio show devoted to reviewing and playing songs from film soundtracks and so, we would discuss the latest releases, their merits and downfalls, and ultimately, what made for a great soundtrack. While I mostly played devil’s advocate with the first argument, all the time really agreeing with her, we usually agreed on most of our opinions on soundtracks.
Upon first glance, the soundtrack for the Owen Wilson / Vince Vaughn comedy The Wedding Crashers seems fairly decent. Filled to the brim with indie hipsters, it might seem like a home run. There are some warning signs that would make one think otherwise, however. The first warning is one that was an easy tipoff for myself and Meribeth, that being the inclusion of the words “Inspired By” in the phrase “Music From and Inspired By the Film.” I can’t imagine that this throwaway comedy (don’t get me wrong, I think these guys are hilarious, but let’s be honest, it’s not a classic) inspiring anything. After all, there’s only one new song on the album, “Mr. Ambulance Driver” by the Flaming Lips, so does `inspired’ imply that the soundtrack producers were `inspired’ to include a bunch of their favorite songs?
That might as well be the case as the `soundtrack’ plays like somebody’s iPod mix of recent indie favorites. Album cuts from the latest Death Cab for Cutie, Robbers on High Street, the Weakerthans, Jimmy Eat World, Spoon, Bloc Party, the Sounds, the Sights (the two New Line nepotisms), the Long Winters and Rilo Kiley albums make one wonder whether it might not just be easier to go straight to iTunes to create their own version.
The fact that I already owned eight of these songs, plus the only real `wedding dance’ song, “Shout” by the Isley Brothers, and finally the idiocy of the inclusion of “Hava Nagilah” supposedly sung by Vaughn and Wilson (who can’t be distinguished at all from the crowd), leads me to steer consumers away from this deceiving CD. Like another wedding themed film and soundtrack before this one starring Adam Sandler, it seems as if the producers are trying to capitalize on style over substance. Sandler’s delivery of 80’s alterna-hits appealed to the retro-loving public and has spawned (gasp!) a musical soon to premiere. The songs on Wedding Crashers have just as little to do with the story of the movie as the songs on The Wedding Singer, they’re merely from a different era. I highly recommend almost every song individually on the album, it is merely the package as a whole upon which I hurl disdain.
Various Artists- The Wedding Singer soundtrack
Various Artists- Wicker Park soundtrack
Any new `alternative’ compilation