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SHREK: SOUNDTRACK

"I have always felt that The Proclaimers should have swapped monikers with The Pretenders. More apposite all round. Either that or they should have ditched the geek glasses and hair cuts, gone with the full Scottish regalia, and called themselves Kitch in Kilts. I also was under the impression that their bagpipe-like voices and gauche sing-a-long refrains had taken “a right turning yesterday” never to return. But I’m On My Way just keeps on coming, marching in from 1988 to join a host of more contemporary, but just as gaudy, ditties on this disappointing soundtrack compilation.

The Baha Men hail from across the Atlantic pond, and are 500 Miles and a decade away from The Proclaimers in musical style, but squarely in the same clan when it comes to cashing in on novelty. They have exchanged their Caribbean-influenced rhythms for more of a Latin feel, but retain all the gimmicks. If only someone had shut them in the empty kennels after they Let The Dogs Out.

The biggest novelty of all comes from Eddie Murphy indulging his well-known opinion of himself as a singer. His rendition of I’m A Believer really tests the faith though; I know he is the master of mimicry but this really sounds like a corporate average white rocker, and I can scarcely believe that it is all Eddie. In any case, it is a better effort than many thespians turned warblers, and a better version than the appalling interpretation of this great song by Smash Mouth, which also appears here. As does their 1999 song All Star, one of those garage numbers that sound like they are celebrating both adolescence and moronity.

Stay Home by Self has a more tastefully childlike appeal, but the problem is that it is a slick production looking for a better song. Which isn’t to be found with Halfcocked, who go full throttle in an attempt to rock like Pat Benetar (which they have no hope of doing if they’ve Hit Us With Their Best Shot here); The Eels who drown us in mellow monotony; or the cloying pop of Leslie Carter’s Like Wow! which sounds like it was jettisoned by Britney Spears in favour of Oops . . .

And if Carter is a lesser-Britney, then Dana Glover goes the weak-diva route; she has all the affectations and over-the-top sentimentality of Whitney, Celine and Mariah without the power, range or class.

In fact the only real class on this record (apart from one mock John Williams cue from John Powell’s score) comes from the two tracks with the gloss stripped away. Jason Wade’s fingers a tightly compressed acoustic guitar with a delicate touch and overlays it with a robust vocal alloyed with character; and Rufus Wainwright delves into his folk and theatrical roots for a captivating version of Leonard Cohen’s Halleluja. They are both great tracks, and totally waisted among the fluff filling out the rest of this disc."
Brad Green

Published June 21, 2001

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SOUNDTRACK CLIPS:
You Belong To Me - Jason Wade
Rufus Wainwright - Hallelujah

TITLE: Shrek

ID: DRMF-13712-2

Dreamworks

ARTISTS: Self; Smash Mouth; Leslie Carter; Dana Glover; Baha Men; Halfcocked; Eels; Jason Wade; Rufus Wainwright; The Proclaimers; Eddie Murphy; John Powell

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