Java / Capitol Records, 1999
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/18/1999
I have got to learn to stop reviewing soundtracks until I've seen their corresponding movies. I always seem to think that I'll be able to get some idea of how the plot of the movie is progressing by following the flow of the music. But, no , I always end up getting overwhelmed by the tunes, and give up trying to guess at the plot. (So why don't I go to the films? It's expensive to constantly see movies and to hire a babysitter when both sets of grandparents are busy.)
So, in the case of the soundtrack to Clubland, I'm again left to my own defenses, and have to approach this as a music CD, not necessarily as a soundtrack. And, once the smoke clears, it proves to be an entertaining, quirky little disc featuring many artists you might not have heard before. Then again, that's half the fun of this disc.
The star of the movie, Jimmy Tuckett, performs three of the 17 listed (and one hidden) tracks on this disc. Of them, the highlight is the track "Not Me," where Tuckett shows his talents as a musician. Never mind the fact that all the songs he sings were at least co-written by Glen Ballard, who is starting to turn into another entertainment svengali (the soundtrack is on his subsidiary of Capitol, and he wrote and co-produced the movie). I'm not suggesting the other two tracks, "Away From Me" and "Gemini", are bad, just that "Not Me" sticks with me the longest of the three.
There are many songs on Clubland that I would call "guilty pleasures"; they're the kind of songs that you'll crank up in the apartment when no one else is around. Supple's deadpan rendition of The Bee Gees's "Stayin" Alive" is one such track; it's so sinful that I blush each time I cue that one up in the headphones. Likewise, tracks such as Frisbie's "Here We Go" and Vitreous Humor's "Why Are You So Mean To Me?" are cuts that will have you happily bopping along to the tunes. Citizen Cope's "200,000 (In Counterfeit Fifty Dollar Bills)" also falls under this category, but I thought the track needed a little more musical and lyrical development.
Other artists like Flood ("Watch Her Walk Out"), Zebrahead ("Check") and Radford ("Closer To Myself") also impress, making the listener wonder how long it will be before these artsts start getting significant media attention. Surprisingly, the one song that is being pushed on this disc, John Oszajca'a "Bi-Sexual Chick," isn't really that much to write home about, and its title sounds more threatening than the song actually is.
The difficulty with a soundtrack like Clubland is that the movie is one many people might not be familiar with. Chances are, if you haven't seen the movie, you will be less willing to part with $17 for the soundtrack. This one, however, is a little different. You might want to consider it a collection of the artists who you're going to be hearing a lot more from in the future. Who knows? Once you've listened to the soundtrack, you may try to search out a theatre playing this film.