- 01. How Shall I See You Through My Tears - Sasha Allen, Steven Cutts and the Company
- 02. Century Plant - the Company
- 03. Here's Where I Stand - Tiffany Taylor and the Company
- 04. I Sing For You -- David Letterle
- 05. The Want Of A Nail – the Company
- 06. Wild Horses -- Daniel Letterle
- 07. The Ladies Who Lunch - Alana Allen & Anna Kendrick
- 08. Turkey Lurkey Time - the Company
- 09. Skyway - The Replacements
- 10. The Size Of A Cow - The Wonder Stuff
- 11. On/Off - Snow Patrol
- 12. Right On Be Free - The Voices Of East Harlem
- 13. I Believe In Us - Warren Webe
- 14. Round Are Way - Oasis
This review copy came without any sleeve notes, so I have no idea as to the identity of the artists, or the place of the songs within the film as a whole. Several of the songs are cover versions but others may be written specially for the film. With no songwriting credits it is hard to tell. This leaves the songs to promote themselves without assistance and the overall preference for torch songs over any other style means the album lacks the necessary contrast to keep the listener’s attention.
The opening number "How Shall I See You Through My Tears" is an unadventurous big opening number with standard lyrics but an overall acceptable tune. The powerful female soloist was noticeably better than the rest of the young cast. "Century Plant" was quite frankly a little dull - not a very memorable song and "Here’s Where I Stand" suffered from being more of the same. This soloist was obviously very young and her voice had a lot of potential, but still sounds inexperienced and reedy at present.
Track four "I Sing For You" is reminiscent of one of those "Kids from Fame" numbers where the "actor who sings a little" gets a chance to prove that they are indeed a better actor than a singer. "The Want Of A Nail" continues the "Kids from Fame" theme with Bruno on piano and everyone having a chance to join in as the whole class improvises a song around a popular cliché. The acting class breaks out and everyone has fun. "Wild Horses" had the advantage over "I Sing For You" in that the Rolling Stones provided better material, but otherwise it felt like a reprise from the same singer.
"The Ladies Who Lunch" is a beautiful bitter song from Sondheim’s Company - ruined here by being sung by someone too young to know what that empty lifestyle is like. I can only hope that in the film, the song is used in the context of someone practising an audition piece and being told afterwards that they are technically competent but completely lacking in the emotional range needed to express the despair behind the humour.
I hope the comedy number "Turkey Lurkey Time" is included to show how not to do a Christmas show. The song is very silly but becomes more fun as it goes on. However the only way to carry this off in performance is to have a deliberately kitsch rendition with the silliest costumes possible.
"Skyway" suffered from the first flat note of the recording. It is a credit to the balance of the young performers’ technical competence that this is the first track that made me wince. As a contrast "The Size Of A Cow" is great fun, a lively boppy number performed with verve and enthusiasm. "On/ Off" however was one of those tracks that make perfect background music. No matter how hard I tried to listen to it, it kept fading out of my awareness as did "Right On Be Free" once the 70’s boogie style opening had settled down.
"I Believe In Us" was at least one torch song too many. It would make a perfectly pleasant Diane Warren song to be sung over the end titles of a movie, but is out of place in this position on this album. "Round Our Way" (or "Round Are Way" as the review copy ineptly spells it) is a good competent song performance by Oasis but scarcely provides the big finish expected from a film musical.
I found myself questioning the purpose of this CD. As a collection of music in its own right, it fails to hang together due to the similarity of too many of the pieces. If it is supposed to act as an advert for the film, I don’t believe it has enough impact to draw in a new audience. However, as a record and reminder for those who have seen the film, it may well hold together, reminding the listener of strengths of performance that cannot be judged from an audio recording alone. Sadly, I cannot comment on its effectiveness in this vein, as it has succeeded in mildly discouraging me from paying money to see it in the cinema.