Shrek 2


Dreamworks Records, 2004

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


First things first: who would've guessed in 1989 that the funniest role Eddie Murphy would have in the next 15 years would be as the voice of an animated donkey?

Stacking the anomalies even higher, who in 1993 would've tagged Adam Duritz and Counting Crows as the authors/performers of the upbeat opening-sequence soundtrack (and hit single) for a quote-unquote kids' movie?

You wise guys can sit down now. Nobody, that's the answer.

There is in fact quite a stir among Counting Crows fans about the band's recent commercial success -- first they team up with Vanessa Carlton for "Big Yellow Taxi," now they cut a song for a big summer movie… and it's an upbeat love song for an animated flick?my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Thankfully there are cooler heads in the crowd who see this for what it is -- Duritz and company taking up a musical challenge and beating the odds. Creeping-towards-forty roots-rock ensembles aren't supposed to make hit records, y'see, but CC just did it twice in a row. Who knows how many more albums of wonderful CC artistry the success of these two songs will earn us fans?

And the bottom line is, "Accidentally In Love" is a terrific song, bouncy and appealing, but with just the right undercurrent of doubt to both illustrate the storyline and give the track itself some emotional depth.

The rest of the soundtrack -- much of which is surprise! actually used in the movie -- is a mixed but mostly interesting bag. Truth be told, the disc is worth it alone for the juxtaposition of Lipps, Inc.'s uber-cheesy disco classic "Funkytown" with the Eels' brooding, plaintive "I Need Some Sleep." (And really, how cute is it that they used one of the handful of songs about insomnia out there that wasn't written and recorded by Counting Crows?)

Other highlights include Butterfly Boucher dueting with David Bowie on his "Changes" -- the Thin White Duke tries out an alternate delivery that freshens up the old nugget nicely -- and Pete Yorn's barn-burning jangle-rock take on "Ever Fallen In Love." The actors get in on the fun, too. Jennifer Saunders of Absolutely Fabulous fame, who voices the Fairy Godmother in the movie, has a blast pouring the megawattage into "Holding Out For A Hero," and Murphy -- who once cut a respectable r & b album -- partners with Antonio Banderas for a pure-silly-fun rendition of "Livin' La Vida Loca."

Strong contributions from Dashboard Confessional, Tom Waits and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds round out the notables on this diverse and frequently entertaining disc. There's nothing life-changing here, but it's reliably frothy, sassy fun -- kinda like the movie Shrek 2, or Eddie Murphy back in the '80s.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Jason Warburg 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 Dreamworks Records, and is used for informational purposes only.