Remember The Titans
Walt Disney Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/25/2000
I am a man of dualities. I know that I should eat healthier and exercise more, but I live on the rock journalist's diet (that is, Chee-tos and Mr. Pibb) and get exercise when I get up to switch the CDs in the player. I love my dog and child at times, I hate my dog and child at times. In the same vein, I love '70s music (being a child of the '70s), and I can't stand it.
So it shouldn't surprise either you, gentle reader, or myself that when I received the soundtrack for Remember The Titans in the mail, I immediately booked time on the calendar to listen to it, since the bulk of it is tracks from the '70s. It also shouldn't surprise you that I absolutely hated some of these tracks. Yet this is an engaging album which is sure to trigger many memories in people who grew up at this time in history. (The movie, which stars Denzel Washington, is set in 1971, so the music fits the story perfectly.)
So far, it sounds like I'm going to rip this album to shreds, huh? Not so - but let's get the negatives out of the way, while we're on that vibe. If I never hear Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit In The Sky" again, it will be too soon. Sure, it's a nugget of history, but it's so outdated that it's almost funny. The same goes for "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell - cripes, I can't listen to this song without thinking of an "In Living Color" sketch which is almost as annoying. And while I never have listened much to Leon Russell, I can't say that hearing his cover of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" will inspire me to start picking up his discography.
Yet there are wonderful performances on Remember The Titans as well. Cat Stevens (oops, I mean Yusef Islam) has been trying to correct his image in the press these days, but you can't help liking "Peace Train" even after all these years. It's always nice to hear "Spill The Wine" from Eric Burdon & War again (though this is the single edit -- AAAGGGHHH!!! NONONONONO!!!), along with Credence Clearwater Revival ("Up Around The Bend") and Steam ("Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" - looks like we're gonna be hearing THAT one a lot in Chicago real soon). Editor's note: Since I wrote this review, the White Sox have indeed clinched the A.L. Central... meaning this song is required playing around here.
The two gems in this soundtrack come near the end -- one expected, one surprising. Former Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin's seven-minute score "Titans Spirit" is a moving piece of music, almost making me wish that more of the score had been included on this disc. The other, more unexpected gem comes from Buck Owens and his goofily-charming song "Act Naturally". My father and I listen to the oldies station in Chicago when we're hanging around, and why this song isn't played often (if at all), I don't understand. It's a great piece of music.
If Remember The Titans the movie is half as engrossing as the soundtrack, it should be an incredible film, and is one that I truly want to see in the theatres. Until I can hie myself to the multiplex, this soundtrack will do nicely.