No More Lonely 'Lanta Nights (1/31/2003)
Moulin Rouge Soundtrack Part II (Interscope 2002) - With Chicago receiving 13 nominations for Academy Awards, it's tempting to suggest that Moulin Rouge started a trend. I'm happy to see the musical return to the screen. Yet Moulin Rouge was a crazy-quilt production, notwithstanding the lovely Nicole Kidman, and deserves no credit for the success of Chicago.
At the same time, some of the songs from Moulin Rouge have taken on new life (such as the "Can Can" song in the Coors commercials), showing the repetition does make the heart grow fonder. Soundtrack Part II features more music from the film. While I rate the film a failure (too busy for my tastes), Soundtrack Part II succeeds because it creates memories of the movie.
The movie Moulin Rouge is described as a "Tragicomical Musical" directed by Baz Luhrmann. The film is set in the year 1899 at the Paris nightclub named Moulin Rouge, and ends with the death of a beautiful courtesan played by Nicole Kidman.
Soundtrack Part II focuses on the music from the movie and includes the original film versions of songs like "The Show Must Go On," "Sparkling Diamonds," and "Spectacular, Spectacular." The voices may not be legendary - including actors Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, and Jim Broadman - but at least they are authentic, taken directly from the film. The soundtrack concludes with "Ascension/Nature Boy" and the closing credits based on "Bolero."
Also included is the surreal film version of "Like A Virgin," performed by Jim Broadman, Richard Roxburgh, and Anthony Weigh. I was the first person in the theater to figure out that this was the Madonna song performed by middle-aged men in garish make-up - and I booed.
Soundtrack Part II works better at evoking the movie, because it's based more on the integral musical elements in the film. The busy pop sheen, and the catchy "Lady Marmalade" (which had almost no presence in the movie) are gone. Instead, you get the music from the film. Enjoy it as you first heard it.
Lundy Lewis, I Ain't Through Yet - Here's an interesting indie project. Lundy Lewis, the holder of a PhD in philosophy from the University of Georgia and a professor at the University of New Hampshire, has been making music since he was a teenager. Now settled into his professional career, Lewis harkens back to the music he made in the 80s while living in Athens, Georgia.
Let Lundy say it. "My roots are in the South. My first musical experience was playing in soul clubs in South Carolina when I was 13 or so...The other band members were several years older than I. They had to sneak me beers. After high school, I went to the University of South Carolina. The band continued...I can remember one time when I got back to the University at 8:00 a.m. in the morning with a math exam scheduled for 9:00 a.m."
Continues Lindy. "There has always been a strain between my musical life and my intellectual life. Philosophy is my main interest intellectually...Life was great in Athens. First, I was a cool graduate student teaching philosophy. Second, I left the top 40 prom gigs behind and formed a band called Toyboat. We use to play at the same clubs as R.E.M. Parties started about 1:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m., after the bars closed.
"But I just couldn't pull off the music thing and the PhD thing at the same time. A professor took me aside and told me I simply had to make a choice between a music career and an intellectual career. It was a hard decision, but finally I decided to dedicate myself to philosophy."
Other musicians include Roger French on bass, Eric Blackstone on drums, Jay Daly on trumpet, Richard Gardzina on saxophone, Walt Bostian on trombone, and keyboards by Lundy Lewis and John Paul. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Nut House Studios in Miramack, New Hampshire.
With Lewis on guitar and vocals, the band has a loose-jointed feel, with sole-based horns and blues elements. Also appearing are female vocalists Leah Ortiz, Bethany Slack and Teresa Yasevich, who give a Steely Dan vibe.
From tracks like "Lonely 'Lanta Night" to "Hey All You People Now" to "Papa Love Mama," there is some very likeable about I Ain't Through Yet. Lewis is a talented musician who stays within his bounds, yet knows how to make a party swing.
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- Randy Krbechek © 2003
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