WWF: The Music Vol. 5
Koch Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/23/2001
OK, I think I've thoroughly explained how this album works on previous occasions. Composer James A. Johnston creates the entrance music for the various World Wrestling Federation superstars. It functions as the theme for the wrestling character - mean bad ass, dark warrior, evil backstabber, etc. - and its very start sends fans into frenzies of cheers or boos. This music is placed on CDs that shockingly proceed to enter near the top of the Billboard charts.
I guess what amazes some is that, as they are continually released; they are more and more popular. Like professional wrestling has become accepted in the mainstream, so has this little compilation album. Now, the WWF has unleashed its fifth edition and I can only say, it's about time. In the time that has passed between Volume 4 and Volume 5, several new wrestlers have joined the WWF and some of the cooler entrance music had been officially missing. (Yes, there were some of these available through Napster, but they were poor recordings made at the live shows). WWF: The Music Vol. 5 finally gives the wrestling fans the chance to hear these.
For me, the coolest track here is "The Game," the entrance theme for Triple H (or Hunter Hearst Helmsley). While the WWF had already given him a new entrance theme in Volume 4, this one is an improvement, if I do say so. Why? It's simply because they went out and got Lemmy Kilmister and Motorhead to record it. If anyone can project mean with his voice and with his music, it's Lemmy and here he delivers it. While the last theme gave Triple H the attitude of breakout, this new one gives him a true sense of mean.
Other big highlights are "If You Dare" (Tazz), "What About Me" (Raven) and "Shooter" (Chris Benoit). This is testosterone-packed mood music, but it's highly enjoyable. From the raven sounds in "What About Me?" to the EEG sounds in "If You Dare," Johnston finds little things that make each track different, unique and cool. Another cool, if goofy, track is "Turn It Up" (Too Cool), which manages to sound as the DJ mix of the cheesiest rappers of all times. Hear it and you will laugh and enjoy it.
Unfortunately, a lot of this music is middle-of-the-road and not really that exciting. "Who I Am" (Chyna), "Get Rowdy" (K-Kwik), "I've Got It All" ("The One" Billy Gunn), and others are only average and don't present as much attitude as they should. This may be due to a lack of focus on just who the wrestler is. I mean, listen to "Out of the Fire" (Kane) or "Shooter" (Chris Benoit) and compare it to "It Just Feels Right" (Lita) or "Bad Man" (Rikishi) and tell me which one exudes more presence. At the same time, there are a few tracks like "Latino Heat (Eddie Guerrero)" and "Medal (Kurt Angle)," which, while not bad, are not as great or as exciting.
Then, there's "Pie." The Rock's recording debut - with guest Slick Rick - is a toss-up. To the millions (and millions) of Rock's fans, this song is great and funny and just brims with his personality. However, its gospel/hip-hop mix might not find a lot of fans with everyone else. It's a mixed affair as far as I'm concerned. Depending on what day I hear it, I either laugh or shut the CD off.
And, as always, I will speak of those tracks that are missing here. While I understand that the entrance themes for the Hardy Boyz and Crash Holly are public property - therefore cannot be placed on a CD - there are several others that should have made it here. Entrance music for wrestlers like the Dudley Boys, the Radicalz, Dean Malenko, and the Disturbed-version of Stone Cold Steve Austin should have all been here. One guesses that these and others are being saved for that upcoming sixth volume.
Coming off the strong third and fourth volumes, there was a lot of expectations for WWF: The Music Vol. 5. I really would have liked for this volume to have been the strongest in the streak of WWF: The Music, but alas, it is not. While some of these tracks are great, others leave me wanting for more.