November 1999 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

Nellee HOOPER, Craig ARMSTRONG, & Marius DE VRIES   Romeo + Juliet Vol. 2   Premiere Soundtracks PRMDCD34[65:35]

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In Volume 1 there was a perfect cross-section of rap, gospel, '70s glam, and indie tracks. It sacrificed any semblance of being a coherent listening experience in favour of cramming in as many audience favourites as possible. Space limitations being what they still are, this second volume was inevitable since the film is almost wall-to-wall music. The reason for that obviously being the huge number of people involved in crafting a soundtrack. You'll be stuck for determining which did what on this disc, since there is no credited breakdown. However, Craig Armstrong's subsequent career (and solo album 'The Space Between Us') make it a fair assumption that the choral "Prologue" is his. It's this cue you'll have heard on numerous film trailers in the last few years.

Like the film, you may feel that the album's first half is its best. The cues are segued together with dialogue soundbites to link disparate elements. The stunted musical telling of the tale therefore follows the same narrative pattern, and it's basically up to the point of the star-crossed lovers meeting and falling in love that the score works its best.

You'll need a focused and forgiving ear to appreciate the chops and changes between styles. Going from the spaghetti western of "Gas Station Scene" to the adagio strings of "Balcony Scene" is quite a stretch. You've got Quindon Tarver's version of Prince's "When Doves Cry" midway for starters.

It's almost a case of too many cooks, but strangely the outcome holds itself together.


Paul Tonks


Paul Tonks

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