When I was in high school, the only CDs I bought were movie soundtracks. Since my budget was limited, I was rarely willing to commit to a whole CD by one artist, and instead enjoyed the variety that comes with a soundtrack. If I loved a movie, chances are good that I’d enjoy the soundtrack. Movie music has a large impact on my emotional connection to the movie. On the other hand, I also strongly believe that a movie soundtrack should stand on its own. I agreed to review the Sex in the City 2 Soundtrack, even though I had no immediate plans to see the movie. With musical talent like Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys, I was pretty optimistic. Unfortunately, if the Sex in the City 2 Soundtrack is any indication, the movie isn’t going to land on my Favorites list.
The Sex in the City 2 Soundtrack starts out strong with Alicia Keys’ version of “Rapture,” a get-up-and-dance kind of number. Dido and Cee Low follow. I’m not fans of either of their musical styles, but I enjoyed both songs enough that I didn’t have the urge to skip them. Next up is Erykah Badu, who can do almost no wrong in my eyes. The highlights of the soundtrack, for me, came from two artists whose names you may not recognize. Natacha Atlas’ “Kidda” and Michael McGregor’s “Euphrates Dream” brought on a lively Middle Eastern beat that definitely had me ready to jump up and dance. Since I’m a fan of belly dancing, I admit to being a bit biased in that area!
The next number is a Liza Minnelli rendition of “Single Ladies.” Now Liza is fab, but she is too far past her prime to do this song justice. The pep is lost and it just feels a bit sluggish. Following Liza, the CD boasts Ricki-Lee’s “Can’t Touch It,” Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind,” and Jenifer Hudson/Leona Lews with “Love is Your Color.” These are all great songs and definitely worthy of their spot in a hit movie soundtrack.
And then it all goes horribly wrong. When Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon break out with “I’m Every Women” I had vision of a bad American Idol audition. It might have been a great moment in the movie, but it held absolutely no place in the soundtrack. The ladies sing ok, but seriously, why would you put them right after Jennifer Hudson? But it gets worse. It is followed by three, yes THREE, numbers by the “Sex and the City Men’s Choir.” Despite my huge love of musicals and musical theater (or perhaps because of it), the addition of “If Ever I Would Leave You” (Camelot), “Sunrise, Sunset” (Fiddler on the Roof), and “Til There Was You” (The Music Man), was flat-out painful. These are beautiful songs, but they don’t belong on the same CD with Alicia Keys’ “Rapture.” Besides which, the Men’s Choir felt overdone – all I could imagine was that “Beauty School Drop Out” scene in Grease with Frankie Avalon. There is only a certain type of movie that can pull off camp like that. Would you believe me if I told you that the madness continues? Well it does – with one last Broadway number: “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” (Pal Joey).
The soundtrack makes a tiny upswing at the end. Liza Minnelli (with Billy Stritch) performs “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” a song much more appropriate for her. Cyndi Lauper pops up out of the blue with “True Colors.” I like the song, but it’s somewhat jarring after the older numbers that precede it. And then the CD closes out with “Divas and Dunes” from Aaron Zigman. This instrumental song is (as the name suggests) something like Arabic music goes Hollywood.
Despite some fabulous songs, the Sex in the City 2 Soundtrack fails in a number of ways. The first flaw is that the producers didn’t quit while they were ahead. They literally could have stopped at song number 10 and had a pretty strong soundtrack. The second is that there is a jarring mix of different genres. While you expect a certain amount of diversity in a soundtrack, we also expect it to flow.
Here’s the good news: If you’re someone who jumbles all of your music together on an iPod or other MP3 player, you might just love this soundtrack. Afterall, you can dump the songs you hate and mingle the ones you love in with your other favorites. I just think it would have been nice if the producers did that part for us.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of the Sex in the City 2 Soundtrack from One2One Network. There were no promises of a positive review, and the opinions in this post are my own.