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3000 MILES TO GRACELAND: SOUNDTRACK

"Three thousand miles? Three thousand light years would be more like it. If the late professional pelvis-wiggler and seriously magnificent crooner who conceived Gracelands becomes aware that he has ended up on an album with some of the nu-metal and electronica heads featured here, he’ll be forced to stop heaving his heavenly hips and start spinning his considerable frame in his grave. Well, he has had 23 years of slim time.

Talking of which, there is an altogether different kind of decomposing on this soundtrack. Hardnox, Crystal Method and Spineshank decimate the art of songwriting, then caw around the carcass like carrion crows who have mistaken themselves for songbirds. No regal epithets for this lot; not even Dicky III was offering a kingdom for this kind of hoarse.

However, there are some princes among the paupers. I doubt that Filter, (hed) planet earth and Nothingface would quite be Elvis’s cup of tea (with hamburger and fries), but they do provide enough glimpses of genuine creativity and tight performance, along with their titanic aggro, to suggest that a phoenix may yet rise from the ashes of heavy guitar rock - systematically incinerated by the grunge, thrash and alternate-rock of the last decade.

Even better, Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s In 2 Deep manages to rediscover the old art of sounding both powerful and pleasing. The guitars and vocals are tough and fiery, rather than harsh and grinding. The rhythm section rocks too, although it is a pity the over-gated drums have all the life sucked out of them. Wouldn’t it have been simpler just to whack a bunch of boxes?

Not exactly fitting the brutal mood, but among the soundtrack’s best moments are a few lighter, kinder cuts. A3 provide some pleasant, if unstartling blues and Uncle Kracker’s repetitive hip-hop is saved by its genuinely cracking chorus - a funky enough groove for an emperor let alone a king.

There is also a single track from George S. Clinton’s score. It features a sinewy, psychadelic guitar line over a slick pop-rock pulse that is reminiscent of The Hooters circa the late-1980s.

And then the CD concludes with the obligatory Elvis. Such a Night is hardly one of the jewels of the King’s career, but it is a great example of how a majestic voice can fashion something tasteful and impressive from the simplest song. Even the best of the new young rockers have a few miles to go yet."
Brad Green

Published May 31, 2001

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SOUNDTRACK CLIPS:
Who's Your Uncle? - Uncle Kracker
Such A Night - Elvis Presley

TITLE: 3000 Miles To Graceland

ID: 16581 69702 7

FMR/TVT

ARTISTS: [hed] planet earth; Filter; Nothingface; A3; BT; Kenny Wayne Shepherd; Uncle Kracker; Hardknox; Spineshank; Bender; Crystal Method; Hednoize; George S. Clinton; Elvis Presley

PRODUCERS: Patricia Joseph, Robin Urdang

TRACKS: 14

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