Walt Disney Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/13/2000
This is gonna be a tough review to write.
You see, this is a review of the soundtrack for Disney's 102 Dalmations -- a kids' soundtrack for a kids' movie. I have plenty of words I could use to describe my feelings for this disc. But, there's an excellent chance that little eyes have made it to this review -- and some of the things I have to say, aah, wouldn't be so nice. So, you'll excuse me if it seems like I'm sugar-coating things a bit.
Maybe the problem is that I thought a sequel to 101 Dalmations was a bad idea from the start. I mean, why tamper with something that worked well -- like messing with the formula for Coca-Cola? (Oops, I forgot -- they did that back in the '80s.) But there almost seems like there's a sense of desparation from the album producers to make this soundtrack not only work, but also sound modern for today's preschool movie-goer.
The end result? One word: Woof.
102 Dalmations is essentially two albums combined into one: pieces meant to represent characters in the movie, and actual music from actual artists. The mixture is a bizarre one, and it fails miserably.
Let's get the character pieces out of the way first. Tracks such as "Cruella" and "What Can A Bird Do?", they just... aargh... I'm trying to watch my language, but these are just so... bad that it's almost funny. Simply put, this was a bad idea made worse by turning it into reality. Likewise, selections like "The Language Of Dogs" and "Digga Digga Dog" - I mean, what do these have to do with the movie, for Jah's sake? Maybe my four-year-old would get into one of these, but I also tend to think she'd get tired of this real quick. (I also am sitting here, still in disbelief that Disney would sample George Clinton -- George Clinton!!! -- on "Digga Digga Dog." Something tells me the producers never studied Parliament/Funkadelic's back catalog.)
There is one notable exception to this rant: using "Bella Notte" from Lady And The Tramp. Okay, you could argue that this signifies that the boys in Disney's soundtrack department were getting desparate for ideas with this disc -- but I can honestly see how such a track fits in with things. So you won't see me griping about hearing this again.
You'd tend to think that following landmine after landmine, things would pick up with the actual music. Guess again, sucker. Four words: Myra covering "Puppy Love." If you grew up with Donny Osmond singing this stinkburger (no offense, Donny -- you were great in concert a few weeks ago in Chicago), this is gonna give you nightmares. The modern take on a track from 101 Dalmations, "Cruella De Vil 2000" (by George Kamban featuring Mark Campbell) adds nothing to the original version, and while not an absolute failure, is a disappointment.
The further you get into 102 Dalmations, the greater the temptation to just let loose and call this disc what it really is. C'mon, Disney gone disco?!? On "So Fabulous, So Fierce (Freak Out)" by Thunderpuss (featuring Jocelyn Enriquez), and following that up with a hip-hop/disco track from Nobody's Angel, "Whatcha Gonna Do (With Your Second Chance)"? Sorry, gang, but I can't picture Cruella De Vil gettin' jiggy at a London disco. Just ain't happenin' in my two-volt brain.
Again, there is one exception to all the complaints: Lauren Christy of The Matrix performing "My Spot In The World."
I can summarize 102 Dalmations in just three words: euthanize this puppy.