LILO AND STITCH: SOUNDTRACK
Review by Brad Green:
Last month marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. Never, since Miss American Pie fell from the skies, did so much music die at once.
Elvis’s output was prodigious and exceptional. Quite simply no one could rock, roll and croon all at the same time quite like The King. Alas, his image has taken something of a pummelling in the decades since his departure. Because he gained a girth and lost a good deal of his smoulder in the latter years, a whole generation has grown up perceiving one of twentieth centuries greatest entertainers, and – all sequins aside, greatest voices – as little more than an overweight cheeseburger fancier who left behind some sort of kitsch-pop Taj Mahal in the middle of Memphis.
But the fickle nature of pop culture has its advantages, and you can’t keep a great hip wiggler down and buried forever. Ocean’s Eleven rediscovered the lost gem A Little Less Conversation, and with a little help from a Nike campaign, Elvis is wooing the youth once more. In fact, in these liberated times, he’s now being exposed to a very young audience – for whom he would have been considered too risqué in his heyday.
It’s somewhat fitting for Elvis to feature on the soundtrack for a children’s animation; most of the films he starred in were more or less cartoons. But they were always pleasing sorts of saccharine, and perfect vehicles for the classic tracks which have been heard in so many manifestations, and can be heard once more on this CD. No obscure treasures here, just the fabulous standard repertoire including the likes of Hound Dog, Heartbreak Hotel and Suspicious Minds.
Of course Elvis was always at home in the film’s setting of Hawaii, and to accompany him here there are a couple of Pacific Ocean-flavoured tracks featuring the pure-voiced Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus. The first of these is simply good fun, but the second absolutely shimmers with their crystal tones. And while it seems unlikely that the plastic-pop of the A*Teens could fail to dampen proceedings, they also have something to offer with a passable rendition of Can’t Help Falling In Love – a truly great song, which doesn’t actually gain anything from all the production polish, but this version isn’t a travesty either.
Finally, there are three cues from Alan Silvestri’s orchestral score. Silvestri is a master at this type of thing, where whimsy and entertainment value are more important than innovation or deep sensibility. His clever montages of mood and melody tuck nicely onto the back of the songs, and no doubt work to perfection in cinematic context.
Still this Elvis’s soundtrack. And as another year since his passing slips us by, it’s worth reflecting that, notwithstanding the shopping mall sightings, even the most delusional devotees are beginning to accept that Elvis hasn’t only left the building, he has indeed left the living. Of course in another way he’ll never die. Long live The King!
Published September 19, 2002
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TITLE: Lilo & Stitch
Walt Disney Records
ARTISTS: Elvis; Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu and Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus
SCORE: Alan Silvestri