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WEDDING PLANNER, THE: SOUNDTRACK

"Boy, was I Honestly Devoted to Olivia Neutron-Bomb in my early adolescence. The Girl Next Door can seem like a Sex Bomb to a thirteen-year-old.

The infatuation has since faded, but the admiration remains large. From Hopelessly Devoted to You to Honestly Love You, Livy’s lyrics (or those penned for her) have always been a shade more sentimental than subtle, but that pure, angelic tone has always shone through. Here she is performing Honestly Love You as honestly as an artist can: Live. A 1974 recording that finds her in even better than Olympic form.

It’s one of the retrospective ingredients of a soundtrack recipe that blends the nostalgic with the new; sentimental of course, and sugary as a wedding cake, but tasty nonetheless.

Jessica Riddle, for instance, is another one of those nubile young pop starlets that began to emerge in the nineties and are dominating the early naughties. Her voice is on par with her peers; they all have a hint of soul that is not quite as precociously developed as their bodies. But Riddle’s song, Symphony, which she co-wrote, is a cut above the class. And so is Australia’s own Mishelle Bradford-Jones whose fashionable quirky girly introspection is instantly appealing.

None of the newcomers, however, can quite match the timeless sentiment of John Denver’s Annie. The Country Boy had the most extraordinary capacity to make the simple profound. As with impressionist art you don’t need to go looking for profundity in a song like this, its inherent beauty resonates with sentiment and meaning. Don Maclean shouldn’t be interpreted too expansively; the music doesn’t really die.

Along with the romantic ditties on this CD, there are three cuts from Marc Shaiman’s score. The first is a stunning tango, with accents, rhythmic shifts and a superb concertina / violin dialogue that will defy even the most catatonic listeners to keep their feet and libidos under control. The second is a standard love theme, dripping with gooey strings (well, what do you expect?), and as pleasantly romantic as it is cloying. The third, unfortunately, is a ballad duet that isn’t just schmaltzy, it’s a tragically limp cliché in need of a vat of Viagra just to perform as wedding night bedroom ambience.

It’s certainly a long way from the sultry style of the pop-chart plundering star of the film, whose contribution to the soundtrack is a notable zilch. Maybe J. Lo stays low because her Latin-cum-R&B style is a tad too raunchy for this context. But I am surprised the CD booklet actually declares: "This album does not include a Jennifer Lopez recording", as if her absence is a selling point. I mean, Adam Sandler’s absence was selling point enough for me."
Brad Green

Published March 29, 2001

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SOUNDTRACK CLIPS:
Life is What You Make it - Mishelle Bradford - Jones
Mary and Steve's Tango - Mervyn Warren

See our REVIEW

Read our Matthew McConaughey INTERVIEW

TITLE: Wedding Planner, The

ID: 20616 23152

FMR

FEATURED ARTISTS: Lisa Stansfield, Jessica Riddle, Nikki Hassman, Jessica Sheely, Sister Hazel, Mishelle Bradford-Jones, Nobody’s Angel, Olivia Newton-John, John Denver, Dan Finnerty, Mervyn Warren, Sue Ann Carwell

SCORE BY: Marc Shaiman

TRACKS: 13

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