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MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL: SOUNDTRACK

Iíve long considered U2 to be mediocre musicians, marvellous songwriters. Bono to be an average singer, with an extraordinary voice. But I like them; to me theyíre a shining example of the triumph of creativity over technicality.

Limitations aside, thereís no contemporary singer who can quite emote with the intensity of Bono . . . and come off as sincere rather than ridiculous. So he was bound to deliver a passionate performance on this soundtrack Ė he co-wrote the story.

And impassioned emotive crooning (the songs are pretty laid back) he does deliver. But thereís an edge missing from this soundtrack. Perhaps, itís Edge.

This is a pseudo-U2 soundtrack. Bono has invited an assemblage of guests to book into a provisional Million Dollar Hotel Band. The line-up includes regular U2 producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno; but only three of the sixteen tracks feature the complete U2 quartet.

Not every track is fronted by Bono, either. There is an interesting interpretation by Milla Jovovich of Lou Reedís Satellite of Love. Her delicate whisper is quite a contrast to Louís gruff expressiveness, before someone (not Milla surely?) lets loose with a strident impersonation of a caterwauling feline in the last refrains.

Tom Tomís Dream, Funny Face and Amsterdam Blue feature the romantically haunting trumpet of John Hassell, while Bonoís best moment is undoubtedly The Ground Beneath Her Feet (with lyrics by his friend, and professional fatwa evader, Salman Rushdie).

The soundtrack is awash with the Eno/Lanois penchant for minimalist ambience. There is a distinctive style here that is quite removed from the idiosyncratic U2 "sound". Without seeing the film, I imagine that it provides an apposite atmosphere in cinematic context. In isolation, however, these songs are merely pleasant, not compelling.
Brad Green

Published: November 30, 2000



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TITLE: The Million Dollar Hotel: Soundtrack Album

ID: 542 395-2
Sony Classical

FEATURED ARTISTS: U2, The Million Dollar Hotel Band (Bono, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, John Hassell, Greg Cohen, Brian Blade, Adam Dom, Bill Frisell), Milla Jovovich, Chris Spedding, Brad Mehidau, Tito Larriva

PRODUCER: Hal Willner

TRACKS: 20







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