"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
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
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."
Published March 29, 2001