Review by Brad Green:
It’s easy to pinpoint where the heart of this soundtrack resides. Chubby Checker
twisting, Chuck Berry rock ‘n’ rolling and a triple serving of The
Platters’ doing their doo-wops take us on a direct route to late 1950s nostalgia.
Chuck and Chubby are good fun, but it’s The Platters’ classics that make you
wish you had a time warp dial on your car radio. Only You, Twilight Time and Smoke Gets In
Your Eyes are timeless tunes performed to perfection. A banquet of harmonies might have
constituted The Platters’ staple fare, but it is the voice of lead singer Tony
Williams that is the piece de resistance. His superlative phrasing, and almost yodelling,
yet totally controlled vibrato bring a unique and tender quality to any song.
The only problem with this CD is that its popular 50s/60s reminiscences only allow for
a few select cues from Mychael Danna’s score. From the little that we hear it is a
fascinating and enchanting work. His minimalist piano cues certainly sound like they come
from a far distant place, although I doubt it’s that ambient under the ocean. A sense
of space not only provides a layer of mystery, but serves to enhance the lush and
dreamlike strings that come to the fore in measured doses, particularly in the cue Summer
Filling out the list of retro hits are numbers from The Crew Cuts, Santo & Johnny
and Percy Faith & His Orchestra, who are in serious endanger of getting right back
into vogue having recently featured on the Ocean’s Eleven soundtrack as well.
It’s not hard to guess what’s going on with this soundtrack even if you
haven’t seen the film. The songs set the period, and the score underlines an unusual
coming-of-age story. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite unfold like a narrative on CD
alone, and if there is a downside to this album it is only that no one can ever help
themselves to enough of The Platters, and once they give way to cues from the score,
we’d like to hear more of that too. At least, you know the offerings are good when
you’re left wanting more.
Published February 21, 2002