Artists - Austin Powers 2 - The Spy Who Shagged
perhaps, that the soundtrack to a movie whose primary plot-point
has its main character going back in time to recover his mislaid
"mojo" should feature modern-day recording artists covering
a passel of yesteryear classics. Here, for instance, we have
R.E.M. doing a run-through of Tommy James and the Shondells'
"Draggin' the Line," Lenny Kravitz making a pass at the Guess
Who's "American Woman," and Big Blue Missile (with former
STP lead singer Scott Weiland, no doubt on his latest furlough
from pharmaceuticals) pointlessly noisifying the Zombies'
"Time of the Season." And, last but not least, here we have
the Spice Girls' oh-so-menacing Melanie G. - who is scary,
indeed - sticking a thin and brittle Britney Spear into Cameo's
once ferociously funk-alicious "Word Up," puncturing it beyond
patching; letting the life out.
above, only the R.E.M. does justice. The rest deserve arrest.
Gag orders. Lethal injections. Anything to shut them up.
the déjà not-so-new continues with Elvis Costello crooning
the Burt Bacharach/Hal David chestnut "I'll Never Fall In
Love Again," with Bacharach himself prostituting himself on
piano. While the recorded result is hardly hellacious, it
cannot hold a candle to the Dionne Warwick and Carpenters'
versions of the '60s and '70s, respectively (perhaps if it
had been the other Elvis… with Liberace contributing campy
somewhat kinder, cuts include Madonna's latest cut-and-paste
- but undeniably catchy - collaboration with William Orbit,
the undisputed Grand Poo-Bah of blips, bleats, and buzzing,
busy fills. Green Day contributes an engagingly spoofy spy-film
instrumental (one that would have been even more engaging
if it had had the good sense to end itself some sixty seconds
sooner, but no use quibbling over spilt milk). And let us
not forget the Lucy Nation (fresh from Madonna's Maverick
label stable; oh yes, how very opportune and apropos for a
Maverick-backed soundtrack), whose lead singer sounds like
an exact amalgam of Sheryl Crow and Shirley Manson, and whose
included tune is just as solidly listenable as it is instantly
go, The Spy Who Shagged Me is hardly the worst and
better than many. But unlike, say, the soundtrack to Todd
Haynes' The Velvet Goldmine, which attempts much the
same modern-takes-on-classic-tracks trick and pulls it off
with a vein-tappingly virtuosic "Voilà!", Austin 2's prevalence
of pale imitations and Cheez Wiz filler makes one long for
the long-dead days of vinyl 45's and 8-track tapes.
hope is not lost. In the whoring halls of Hollywood, successful
sequels have a way of breeding less-successful sequels, and
not every sequel sucks (The Godfather, Part II! The
Empire Strikes Back! Uh… The Godfather, Part II!)
so maybe, just maybe, the third installment of the Austin
Powers saga will be the charm - at least, musically-speaking.
Is that Shirley Bassey I hear spy-styling in the distance?
Eartha Kitt? Nancy Sinatra? Dusty Springfield? Dean Martin?
Dare to dream.
Powers 2 - The Spy Who Shagged Me
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