William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – Music from the Motion Picture – Review

Romeo + Juliet

by Joshua Brown

Great movie, great music. Not since KIDS has a soundtrack been so unmistakably evocative of the film it purports to represent. In keeping with the film’s purpose, to propose a truce between this generation and its predecessors, we’re treated to a Gospel version of Quindon Tarver‘s current dance club smash “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good).” Heartache and joy are expressed on this soundtrack with equal eloquence through soul music, alternative, hip hop, disco, and folky ballad. The Butthole Surfers wrote a song for the film called “Whatever (I Had a Dream),” on the surface a sappy ballad, but, like the movie, the seriousness is counterbalanced by a not-so-subtle tongue placed firmly in cheek, replete with a tab of some unnamed psychedelic drug on said tongue. Among other songs written exclusively for Romeo + Juliet are Everclear‘s punkishly adolescent “Local God,” former Soul II Soul singer Kym Mazelle‘s cover of the 1976 disco tune “Young Hearts Run Free,” and “Kissing You (Love Theme From Romeo + Juliet)” upheld by Des’ree‘s powerful vibrato vocals, accompanied by lonely piano and lush strings. The soundtrack contains no duds, although some of the more memorable tunes are a trip hoppy mix of Garbage‘s “#1 Crush,” Gavin Friday‘s heart-breaking “Angel,” Stina Nordenstam‘s precious acoustic “Little Star,” and Mundy‘s “To You I Bestow,” a tune that suggests that the “alterna-ballad” may not be a dying artform (except for that one part at the end where they try to sound like A-ha). Nellee Hooper composed this brilliant soundtrack, so we can forgive her for including her own hip hop group One Inch Punch, who perform the album’s worst track (which, incidentally, wouldn’t be half bad judged by the usual criteria – it’s just that she has some fierce competition here). If you have a PC or PowerMac, this is an enhanced CD with film stills and music loops.