Music From Scrubs

Various Artists

Hollywood Records, 2002

REVIEW BY: Matthew Turk

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/26/2003

At the risk of sounding like a commercial, the NBC sitcom Scrubs uses music far better than any of its peers. The opening theme, and the soundtrack opener, is a song called "Superman" by the fairly unknown (previous to the show) band Lazlo Bane. It's a good opener, with a soft background plucking that contrasts nicely with the slightly megaphone-ish lead vocals and 70's style overdubbing. And is that a theremin in the background?

We have good continuity for the first few songs, with entries from both Shawn Mullins and the Eels. "Fresh Feeling" by the Eels is an interesting choice, and certainly a compelling song, driven by vocals that sound like they were extracted by some tong-like device from the singer's throat.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Leroy sparkled briefly in the sunshine a few years ago, but has since faded mostly into obscurity -- and the song "Good Time" is evidence of why they were so promising. It's a slick, driven song with Fonzie-esque delivery and follow through. This one deserves to be put on repeat (and was, I may note, very well used in the TV show.) It's a snide tirade, and I love it.

We move toward the weakest part of the album at this point, and it becomes more a testament to the pseudo-cool elite rather than an adequate sampling. Colin Hay, former lead of Men at Work, brings us "Beautiful World," which is the only bright point through a good third of the album. It's an acoustic song, with a bit of wry humor, and it sits like a salve on the soul, particularly after listening to "New Slang" by the Shins and "Hold on Hope" by Guided by Voices.

The Butthole Surfers check in with "Dracula From Houston," which is a fun song, a bit of rap-tinted rock without the heavy-metal implications of Slipknot or Korn. It's a fun song even if I have no idea what it means. The album almost recovers from the middle section with "Hooch" by Everything, until it gets slammed back by John Cale's poor try at "Hallelujah," the song recognized by most of the soundtrack-compiling industry as being the single most depressing song in the history of music -- as if this would justify its inclusion in every compilation disc of the last three years. It feels out of place and poorly done.

However, the last two "proper" songs, "Have It All" by Jeremy Kay and "Overkill" by Colin Hay, are excellent. "Have It All" is emotional, heartfelt, and wonderful to listen to. Colin Hay's cover of his own band's song, "Overkill," is outstanding, and deserves to be placed above the original when the final list is made. (As a sidenote, Lazlo Bane covered "Overkill" as well sometime in the early 90's, and it's been regarded as far above both the Men at Work version and the Colin Hay version.)

Music From Scrubs pleases, but it also disappoints through far too much of its length. If you like the show, and want to fondly recall it, I suggest you purchase this music. For everyone else, this soundtrack comes close to being widely appealing, but falls short in the middle section.

Rating: B-

User Rating: B


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© 2003 Matthew Turk and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hollywood Records, and is used for informational purposes only.