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    1. Spamalot (2005 Original Broadway
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    2. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge
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    3. Garden State
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    4. The Phantom of the Opera (2004
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    5. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005
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    6. Wicked (2003 Original Broadway
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    7. Little Women The Musical (2005
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    8. Ray!: Original Motion Picture
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    9. The 25th Annual Putnam County
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    10. Angel: Live Fast, Die Never -
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    11. Kingdom of Heaven
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    12. The Phantom of the Opera (2004
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    13. Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-72
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    14. The Phantom of the Opera (Original
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    15. Love Actually
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    16. Pacific Overtures (2004 Broadway
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    17. Avenue Q (2003 Original Broadway
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    18. The L-Word: Season 2
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    19. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
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    20. De-Lovely

    1. Spamalot (2005 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007OY2TE
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 16
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com

    As gleefully silly yet wickedly smart as the beloved British comedy troupe and their 1975 cinematic savaging of the Arthurian legend that inspired it, this adaptation ofMonty Python and the Holy Grail by MP's Eric Idle and longtime musical co-conspirator John Du Prez has much more on its feverish agenda than merely trashing King Arthur and firmly upending his Round Table. The film's plot remains largely intact, but its core songs ("Knights of the Round Table," "Brave Sir Robin") and comic thrust have been both expanded and satirically redirected, a musical comedy shotgun that takes dizzy aim at pop culture in general, and Broadway in particular. After typically Pythonesque distractions that somehow find us in "Finland..," stars David Hyde-Pierce, Tim Curry, Hank Azaria and company get busy conjuring the Lady of the Lake with the unlikely help of "Laker Girls..," while cast members Sara Ramirez and Christopher Sieber deliciously skewer contemporary Broadway cliches via the loopy showstopper "The Song That Goes Like This," a tune whose reprise also deliciously sends up every overwrought stage diva from Merman to Minelli. Idle has shrewdly ripped off--well, interpolated--Life of Brian's "Always Look On the Bright Side" for the new show, and even a snatch of "The Lumberjack Song" in "He Is Not Dead Yet." "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" reveals the frankly Semitic secret to stage success, and the French get can-canned on "Run Away!" Meanwhile, our bravest knight is de-closeted on the Manilow-mauling "His Name is Lancelot" before the familiar sound of clomping coconut shells brings down the curtain on the season's goofiest if satirically dead-on comic delight. --Jerry McCulley

    Have Fun with More Irreverent Musicals


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    ... Read more

    Reviews (29)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The review that goes like this
    Once in every Amazon.com page there comes a review like this. It starts out with an intro and ends up with...um...an ending?

    Anyway, "Spamalot" is an outstanding musical, complete with amazing singing, wonderful orchestration, and hilarious farce. My favorite songs are "The Song that Goes Like This" and "Diva's Lament." The former is a love song about singing love songs. I'm not sure that the Lady of the Lake and Galahad are in love, but they sure know how to sing love songs, and to tell the audience how to do it. In the latter (Diva's Lament), the Lady of the Lake has not been onstage since the first act, and she is not at all pleased about it. Another great one is the Laker Girls' Cheer. The Lady of the Lake's handmaidens suddenly turn into cheerleaders to welcome Galahad to King Arthur's army.

    Purists who expect an exact retelling of the movie may be a bit disappointed, as several plot points have been changed. For example, it has been "politically corrected." As far as I can tell, references to God have been replaced by the Lady of the Lake. Considering the nature of the references to God in the movie, I'm OK with that. Instead of searching for the literal Holy Grail as they do in the movie, the grail has turned into a metaphor for the thing that each character wants the most and is seeking to find (thus removing references to Jesus).

    Also, the ending has been changed. Since I don't want to spoil the suspense, I won't tell what happens, but I was happy about that. The movie, though great, is so anticlimactic.

    My biggest problem with the musical is that two characters turn out to be gay, which is not at all in keeping with the legend. (But then, when has Monty Python stayed true to legend?)

    Overall, I think this is a great musical, and it will be enjoyed for years to come.

    "I can't believe there's more. It's far too long, I'm sure. That's the thing about this [review]. It goes on and on and on...

    The [review] always ends like this!"

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is the show that goes like this
    I bought this CD the day it came out and I wish it had come out sooner! This is a wonderful Broadway Score!! Eric Idle certainly has given the Python fans and the Broadway fans something to share. It has some of the catchiest music I have heard in along time. I'm acutally listening to it right now.
    From the opening (Tuning) it starts out with a laugh. Then we move into the overture and Historian's Introduction to Act 1. That track sets the tone for the entire show. You know you are in for a laugh. I really admire people that can write songs like this. I wish I was that talented.
    Now to the music istelf. My favorite track on this CD is "The Diva's Lament (Whatever Happened To My Part)." This really struck a cord with me because, being in theater, I know people like this. I can actually picture them singing this song and being serious about it. Especially the line "Call my agent dammit!" Then she complains about it again in "TWice In Every Show." I really enjoy shows that take the time to make fun of themselves and have a good time doing it. Like Urinetown. Some other songs of honorable mention are "The Song That Goes Like This," "Find Your Grail," "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" and "His Name Is Lancelot." These are humorous songs that (to me) really sell the show. It was also nice to see them use some of the Python songs. "Knights of the Round Table," "Brave Sir Robin," "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and "Finland." Of course some of the lyrics have been changed and others have been added, but they make the songs better in my opinion.
    As for the performers... all do a great job. I LOVE Sarah Ramirez. That woman can belt a song. I truly hope she wins a Tony Award. As for the male cast, I was surprised at David Hyde Pierce. It was nice to see him cut loose and act crazy. Chris Seiber does very weel in his songs, especially The Song That Goes like This. I'd love to sing that song. Tim Curry is good, but sometimes I feel he overplays it a bit. I know this is comedy (and I might change my view when I actually see the show in June) but he really overdoes it on some of his songs. Hank Azaria doesn't do much solo singing but what he does do is great. He was quoted once saying that he was cast in the show for his voices and not his singing and dancing. Well, we shall see when the Tony Awards are announced.
    All in all this is a great CD to add to your collection. It has comedy, great music and a great cast. Don't pass it up.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Broadway show, as only Monty Python can make it
    I saw this musical at The Shurbert Theater in Chicago. At I never laughed so hard at a show period. It combined the chaos of Python with the production values of Broadway. I think it cost more to make the musical than it did in the orginal movie in 1974. Anyway, it was treat because it was the most star studded show I had ever to date. Not including seeing Sally Ringwald in When Met Sally, and David Hasseloff in Chicago, both in London. This show starred Tim Curry as Graham Chapman's role of King Arthur. When he first stepped on stage the theater erupted. So did I, because I always admired Curry. He had an amazing performance which I excepted him to do. Since he was great in Rocky Horror Picture Show. He was well perpard to off the wall crazy. Another star was David Hyde Pierce, Miles of the great show Frasier. He played "Brave" Sir Robin, Eric Idles part, who also wrote the musical. He was also incredible including one number called You Won't Succeed On Broadway(If You Don't Have Any Jew) He did a whole number just spoofing Jewish Musicals. Including Fiddler On The Roof where did the bottle dance, which got him an ovation. The next big name was Hank Azaria. He does like half the voices on the Simpsons. He could definatly do this show, where he played Sir Lancelot, and the French Taunter. Played orginally of course by John Cleese. One note about the show was that Cleese was the voice of God. I'm surprised he wasn't credited. Oh well. THe most amazing thing about the show was that the supporting cast could keep up with the big three and many times stole scenes from them. One BIG example of that was Sarah Ramirez. OMG!!!!! She was commanding and was the typical Broadway diva, which was her all around character, but she played the Lady Of The Lake, The Witch and The Cow!! They gave the cow that the French threw at the knights had its own song! Other great performers like Christopher Sieber,(who played Sir Galahad) Micheal Mcgrath(Patsy) Steve Rosen(Sir Bedevere) and Christian Borle( who for the record was the singing clerk in Thats On E-bay commerical. The songs were great. Of course they took the "Knights OF The Round Table" song. But they also included the " Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, and Hole OF The Universe from different movies. They include most of the famous scenes from the movie. THe black knight, which got an ovation. THe killer rabit, Prince Herbert. The knights that say Nie. The show was amazing the alubm is too. But if you want the full experiance, you might want to see the show.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...
    Take it from a Monty Python fan who's planning a New York trip around this production, this is a must have for an self-respecting Pythonier. This album features the current and original Broadway cast of the new musical (opened March 17, 2005) basedon the infamous "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."Python member Eric Idle co-produces, lovingly ripping off moments and songs from the original. Although there are more than enough new material to make up for such indiscretions, like the inclusion of Life of Brian's "Bright Side of Life."In fact, any fear of redundancy is squished as if by a big Flying Circus foot, when stars like David Hyde-Pierce, Tim Curry, Hank Azaria lend their talents and voices to giving a fresh face to this much revered material. And speaking of fresh faces, with the introduction of the Lady of the Lake, played by Sara Ramirez, who is only referenced briefly in the movie, Spamalot achieves new levels of Broadway satire. For example, Ramirez is featured in the hilarious "The Song That Goes Like This," and "Whatever Happened To My Part?" a shot atstage and divas in general.
    Tim Curry (of Rocky Horror and the recent CD readings of the Lemony Snicket series) sounds terrific, his voice is better now than ever.While this is no substitute for see the production, I think, along with all of its links (like the historian's intros) the albumn creates a great feel for the stage show's energy.So Runnn Awwway to buy this CD.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL ENTERAINING CAST ALBUM
    I just purchased the cast album of Spamalot. Unfortinatly I haven't seen the play, but judging by the cast album it must be a very entertaining musical. I haven't enjoyed a cast album like this in a long time. I've played it over and over and I enjoy it more every time I play it. It's fun, tuneful, and the cast is just wonderful. I guess if you see the play you can actually come out humming songs, especially Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. Listening to this song, it's like having Jerry Herman back on broadway. I highy recommend this CD. ... Read more


    2. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000850IS6
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 9
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    John Williams' lovely and moving score for the sixth Star Wars film brings thirty years of collaborating on George Lucas’ beyond-popular intergalactic franchise to a close. (Is this really the end of Star Wars? Can’t Lucas and Williams work together on a prequel to these prequels? Let us hope so, and that Jar Jar Binks is nowhere near it.) As this music accompanies the most exciting Star Wars film in many a moon, the soundtrack itself is more fun, more evil, more nasty and bumpy. Many of the heroic, anthemic themes woven throughout Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith will necessarily be familiar to any fan of the series, from the "Imperial March" to the main theme. It’s remarkable how stirring the latter can be, no matter how many times you’ve heard it, and even for those who do not have all their money invested in S.W. memorabilia. There is a lot of new music here, and the lush, extensive range of both Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra is on display, most notably in the menacing, percolating "General Grievous" and the rousing "New Hope" end theme. --Mike McGonigal

    The Force Is Also with:


    Star Wars Trilogy soundtrack box set

    Star Wars Episode II sountrack

    Star Wars Episode II, Attack of the Clones

    Star Wars Episode I, The Phantom Menace

    Star Wars Trilogy on DVD

    Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    ... Read more

    Reviews (107)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Strong in the Force, John Williams is!!!
    John Williams' score for Episode III couldn't be better.As with each episode, he has added new themes and tones to enhance the unfolding story elements, most of which are darker and sadder at times and then charged with action energy at others.The Revenge of the Sith action scene music feels new this time, not cut-and-pasted-re-run action music like in Return of the Jedi. WOW - it's amazing!! And to think that so much incredible fervor is scored as strongly in the strings and woodwinds as it is in the brass and percussion. John Williams' brass writing has never been better - the heroic fanfares and punctuated expressions during space battles leave the listener breathless; the noble and warm Force Theme and Luke's Theme heard in the french horns and trombones harkens the listener back to that first scene of the double sunset on Tatooine in A New Hope.

    Although much of this recording is programmatic music, it is still enjoyable to listen to... over and over!The strange synthesizer sounds and eastern vocal stylings in track 8 (Padme's Ruminations) seem at first out of place for a Star Wars soundtrack, but they make excellent sense once seen with the movie, as they illustrate the critical moment when Anakin decides to join the evil Sith. This here is the critical, heart and soul-breaking pivotal point in the entire Star Wars series, and the different music alerts the listener!

    John Williams' new Battle of the Heroes Theme is a winner!It is much like the Dual of the Fates Theme from Episode I, which is a nice bookend/thematic tie for the new trilogy.The choral passages are soaring and passionate, adding a feel of true destiny and drama to the climactic lightsaber dual and fall of Anakin.

    More choral music (from "Qui-Gon's Funeral" in Phantom Menace) isalso very effectively adapted to the end fates of Anakin and Padme.

    Lastly, Williams' joins Lucas in pointing the tragic ending of this episode to the "new hope" found in Episode IV - I could hardly believe my ears as Princess Leia's and Luke's Themes are brought out as the twins are born!And also SO APPRECIATIVE that the end credits are a fresh new recording of music from the very first Star Wars film!The closing track - though a bit cut-and-pasted, and perhaps stretched with some slower tempos due to the huge list of credits - is nonetheless an emotional and stirring conclusion to Williams' fantastic 30-year composition.

    The only strange or disappointing moment happens right after the classic opening scroll music transitions into the opening scene. On the CD it is different (a direct segue to action music) than what is heard in the movie (several moments of war-like drums pounding before the full action music starts). But the CD version is still great, just different!

    Thanks to John Williams for kicking it in and creating new material for this last episode. The only nearly exact re-run found in this score is my favorite track from The Empire Strikes Back "The Dual" (Vader vs Luke), this time heard chillingly accompanying Yoda vs the Emperor.BRAVO!BRAVO!BRAVO!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent finish to the collection of 6 soundtracks
    John Williams ends his saga of Star Wars soundtracks as beautifully as he started it. The Battle of Heroes and Anakin vs. Obi-Wan tracks are the perfect backdrop for the fast paced, intense duel between master and apprentice. The Immolation Scene is similar to the Schindler's List soundtrack, heavy on the strings to convey the sadness that overtakes Obi-Wan on seeing the fate of his former friend, symbolic of the rise of evil throughout the galaxy.

    The DVD is also a wonderful synopsis of the greatest tracks from all 6 soundtracks, set to the environments and characters they represent so well.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Revenge of Recycled music.....
    Even John Williams could not make a good showning with the music for ROTS.It is sadly to say much of recycled themes that he already scored for Episodes I and II.The Anakin/Obi-Won duel theme was sorry to say too long and too drawn out.Much like the Minority Report score....It might have worked for Barnard Herrmann, but not here.Much like the movie was a let down, the music was also.It seems that the CGI effects made everyone off key, includiing Williams. To everyone else who loves the music and the movie, I think You gave all goneCrackers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A worthy final instalment
    Any new John Williams soundtrack will always be compared to his earlier soundtracks and the highest of standards that he himself has set and so, when a soundtrack such as ROTS is produced, it's considered a disappointment by some. ROTS is not as immediate or outwardly exciting as other Star Wars soundtracks and as has been pointed out by some other reviewers, doesn't always feel part of the Star Wars universe but this is no lesser album by any means and I would say far from a disappointment.

    Having listened to ROTS five times now, it's certainly no Empire Strikes Back but it's actually quite brilliant and extremely powerful stuff, and there is a lot of music and orchestration with that overall Star Wars sound and virtuosity. As ever, Williams has written a perfect musical accompaniment for the film he's been given and the tone here is perfect (probably far more artistic than the film deserves) and he reminds us that he is really the only film composer to have maintained such a high calibre of artistry in scoring excellence over so many decades - even at the age of 73 he is still the best composer alive.

    Some reviewers have complained that the new theme Battle of the Heroes is rather disappointing. It's not as immediate as the other famous Star Wars themes but does really grow on you. Beginning with exciting scurrying violas and then developing into an interesting triplet bass rhythm over which the rousing choir is used it is actually really rather exciting -a great concert piece and is again perfect for the cue Anakin vs Obi-Wan.

    The darker tone of the film is represented by Williams' decision to infuse the score with a far more strings heavy sound than is usual and it works well and I feel these moments produce the best tracks.

    Standout cues that must really get a mention are Anakin's Dream, beginning with an effective solo viola playing over the Across The Stars theme which then develops into a truly beautiful string piece before taking on a more menacing mood. Anakin's Betrayal begins and ends with a lovely string and choir heavy passage. The Birth Of The Twins & Padme's Destiny begins with a string, flute, celesta and later harp passage full of the mystery that Williams' does so well. Some reviewers have pointed out their disappointment that Williams chose not to include the themes for Luke and Leia here; well that would have been the obvious thing to do, but Williams has written a far more interesting cue I feel by taking a different direction. The cue then develops into a stunning and very classical choir piece. My favourite cue however is The Immolation Scene, a two and a half minute heart-rending string piece with carefully controlled dissonance which sounds straight out of Schindler's List and is I feel one of the most powerful cues William's has ever written.

    Overall, another superior soundtrack from Williams and a worthy final instalment to one of the greatest bodies of music ever written by one of the greatest composers ever - I wonder whether old masters like Tchaikovsky and Wagner would have written a body of work so memorable...?



    5-0 out of 5 stars Return of the soundtrack
    I am, of course, a huge Star Wars-fan, but especially the later soundtrakcs have dissapionted mebit. Sure, there's been some wondrous themes like "Duel of the Fates" and "Across the Stars", but the soundtracks have all been missing that certain thing to make them perfect. This, however, does not lack anything, and is a pure joy to listen to. After the intro with "Battle of the Heroes" and "Anakin's Betrayal" I was left with a musical hard-on that will last days and weeks.

    This Album is a must-have for anyone even remotely interested in music and/or star wars ... Read more


    3. Garden State
    list price: $12.98
    our price: $8.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002J58LK
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 29
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    Amazon.com

    Writer and director Zach Braff does a masterful job matching the charming, heartfelt tone of classic films like The Graduate and Rushmore in his motion picture debut, Garden State, so it only makes sense that the music he personally compiled for the soundtrack plays just as big a part here as it did in those films. Simon & Garfunkel's languorous "The Only Living Boy in New York" is an obvious thread, but aside from Nick Drake's "One of These Things First," Braff is able to carry the mood without getting tripped up in the past. Frou Frou's "Let Go" and Zero 7's "In the Waiting Line" supply soft techno touches, while Iron & Wine's "Such Great Heights" and former Men at Work singer Colin Hay's "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You" offer understated angst. It's a pair of emotionally racked contributions from the Shins ("Caring is Creepy," "New Slang"), however, that really make this compilation a must-have. --Aidin Vaziri ... Read more


    4. The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (Special Extended Edition Package)
    list price: $24.98
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00065L706
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 121
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    Amazon.com

    For better or worse, Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of Gaston Leroux's gothic horror/romance novel has done for stage musicals what Spielberg's Jaws did for fish stories, with worldwide sales of its original cast album approaching 25 million. While director Joel Schumacher's film turns on his typically ambitious visual verve, its new film soundtrack recording has been paradoxically focused in scope, yet beefed up dynamically via the brawny presence of a hundred piece orchestra and The London Boys Choir. This single disc version showcases all of Phantom's key songs (a deluxe, double-disc edition is also available), with Gerard Butler imparting a welcome, youthful sensuality to his Phantom, making a fine foil for Emily Rossum's ever-conflicted Christine. Original show orchestrator David Cullen has fashioned compelling new contemporary arrangements to frame Webber's songs -- which now conclude with the lilting, upbeat new ballad he wrote for the film, "Learn to Be Lonely," sung by Minnie Driver's Carlotta.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more


    5. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000929AB4
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 45
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    With this giddily entertaining show, David Yazbek confirms that The Full Monty wasn't a fluke--few on Broadway can equal his melodic verve and lyrical cleverness. Based on the 1988 movie of the same name, the show deals with a pair of con artists swindling rich women on the French Riviera. Lithgow brings debonair charm to the Michael Caine part, while Norbert Leo Butz (Wicked) proves to be a comic dynamo in the Steve Martin part. And Yazbek provides them with an array of catchy tunes (adorned in beautiful Bacharach-style arrangements by Harold Wheeler). Butz goes ballistic on the hilarious "Great Big Stuff," which demolishes conspicuous consumption, then pairs up with feisty leading lady Sherie Rene Scott on "Love Is My Legs," a wicked sendup of Celine Dion­style torch epics. Meanwhile, Lightgow nails the tender ballad "Love Sneaks In." A delicious jazz reprise of "Nothing Is Too Wonderful to Be True" by Scott and pianist Bill Charlap shows that Yazbek's songs don't need flashy pizzazz to be memorable. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

    Other Great Musicals of the Season


    Spamalot

    The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

    The Light in the Piazza

    Little Women

    All Shook Up

    Altar Boyz
    ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fun,and enjoyable
    This CD has music that can be very fun and enjoyable to listen to.The score has a bit of a jazzy sound to it.the music is not pretty nor is the singing pretty but it is not supossed to be.This is a CD album for those Musical fan's that are stick and tired of stuff like Hairspary and some of the other corny Musical's out there.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Norbert saves the day!
    This is one of the most embarrassing CDs to exist. It's not completely atrocious because there are about 4 songs that I enjoy, but that by no means makes a great, or even good cast recording. I only feel sorry for Norbert & Sherie because they've really gone backwards from their days of The Last Five Years. The lyrics are by no means witty or amusing. Sample lyrics are...

    "Great big stuff! I really do deserve it!"
    "My hotel gives away free shampoo."
    "My shoes are gone. My wallet's gone. My watch is gone."
    "These pies are French. These guys are French. These fries are French."

    I'm not going to deny that the show was funny (all in part to Norbert). I thought Norbert was fantastic and I hope he wins the Tony. The entire cast sings their little hearts out. But I honestly quiestion why the score was nominated. The CD makes absolutely no sense if one has not seen the production before. The music is pretty weak and the lyrics... well, you saw those samples above. Save your sanity and purchase "Light in the Piazza."

    4-0 out of 5 stars DAVID YAZBEK IS THE COLE PORTER OF OUR TIME!
    First off, I have not seen the Broadway play yet.This review is for the CD, and it is all David Yazbek through and through.He is definitely the Cole Porter of our time, in terms of lyrical wit (and bawdiness), rhyming skills, rhythmic abilities and timing, etc.Musically, this disc picks up where "The Full Monty" left off...with mostly Broadway show-type numbers and lots and lots of humorous and witty lyrics.I encourage all of you theatre goers who also like great pop/rock to check out David's 3 pop/rock discs under his band name, Yazbek.Meanwhile, I've got a fall trip to the Great White Way in my future...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
    I made a vow to myself that, after a less-than-shining experience not long ago, I would never again see a Broadway musical without first being familiar with the show's music.However, while recently in NYC I gave in to temptation and caught a performance of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".I was already a fan of the movie and absolutely couldn't resist the idea of seeing several of my Broadway idols in the flesh.So, I was hesitant but hopeful.
    Yet from the first moment the overture began, I was transported.The mood of the piece is immediately set, and you are swept up in the intrigue and underhanded dealings of our loveable scoundrels.I was delighted from the start.The performances are all utterly top-notch.Lithgow is simply a marvel, and it's such a treat to see him here, I was literally awestruck at his first appearance on the stage.His "Love Sneaks In" is definitely one to pull on the old heart strings.Sherie Renee Scott has always been one of my favorite Broadway singers...her voice is simply unreal for its crystal quality and clear belt, not to mention her ability to carefully and tenderly interpret lyrics (every time I hear her exclaim "These fries are French!" I laugh).Joanna Gleason is a legend.She's got such ease and charm, it's a pleasure to watch and even more so to hear her.
    Of course, he who truly runs off with the production is none other than Norbert Leo Butz.The rumors are true: He's incredible.I've always loved his gorgeous voice, from "The Last Five Years" to "Wicked" to this production.He doesn't get the opportunity to play the swooning love interest like the previous two productions, but the lushness and depth of his voice still shines through.And his miraculous range as a performer is astounding both in person and on this soundtrack.He goes from "Great Big Stuff" to "All About Ruprecht" to "Love is My Legs" (my far-and-away favorite track, it never ceases to make me smile) and manages to infuse each number with so much energy and magnetism.I can only imagine the outcry if he doesn't roll away with the Tony.
    The cast as a whole has one thing which really makes the difference between an okay show and a great one: Joy.Every actor has such a good time up there, it's obvious.And infectious.There's nothing an audience responds to better than the cast that truly enjoys themselves and each other.And you need only listen to "Dirty Rotten Number" to witness the obvious admiration and affection our two main scoundrels have for each other both in and out of character.
    Combine the beautiful music and this stellar cast with the amazingly witty and literate lyrics in each number.Every track must be listened to several times over before all the references and jokes and asides are deciphered.There are still moments of awe when I pick up a line I previously missed or wonder to myself, exactly how DOES a writer pull off something like that?
    In all, this is a truly unique experience.No, it's not laden down with some deep message about life or love.No, it's not scathing social commentary (though there are a few lines in there, most especially the "Bushes from Tex" passage in "Ruprecht", which speak to today's audience: "The Bushes from Tex were nervous wrecks because their son was dim....But look what happened to him!" Let me assure you, the audience went wild!).It's good, (mostly) clean fun, the soundtrack to which I have played innumerable times since I was fortunate enough to receive a free copy before the performance.Of course, there is bonus material on the newly-released soundtrack which makes me wonder if I shouldn't go buy that as well! It's worth the money for the ticket AND the soundtrack.If you're fortunate enough to live in close proximity to Broadway, I urge you to see it.If not, listen to this soundtrack and enjoy thoroughly.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent soundtrack -- and I've seen the show
    I saw this show on Broadway about a month ago and have been waiting for the release of this CD since then.It's quite a good recording of all the show's music.I would probably avoid buying it until you have seen the show, but then again John Lithgow does use Track 17 to humorously warn you that the tracks which follow could give away the plot's twists and turns -- which is awfully gentlemanly of him.The jacket has a great synopsis of the plot and all lyrics included, in case like me you can't quite understand every one of Lithgow's words in the songs with the 'Schiffhausen' accent.My favorite song has to be Lithgow's 'Love Sneaks In', which is short but sweetly done with the emotion that I love from Lithgow in his work.

    The CD also has three demo tracks at the end from David Yazbeck.Two out of three are wastes since he performs them himself -- the production versions of 'Ruprecht' and 'Here I Am' are done much more effectively than these pitiful demos.However, the demo of 'Nothing Is Too Wonderful' with Sherie Scott singing is a different twist on the song which I really enjoyed -- the kind of mellow piano-based tune you'd expect to hear in a jazz bar.Quite nice, in my view.

    Do yourself a favor -- see the show first, which is an enjoyable experience, then get the soundtrack.For the most part, you won't be disappointed. ... Read more


    6. Wicked (2003 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000TB01Y
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 57
    Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    One of the most common complaints about musicals is that the books are flimsy pretexts from which to hang numbers. Wicked runs into the opposite problem: it has a great plot but too often the songs just get in the way. Based on Gregory Maguire's novel of the same name, Wicked tells us what happened between Glinda the Good and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, before Dorothy showed up in Oz. And the show is lucky to boast a pair of ace leading women in the main roles. As Glinda, Kristin Chenoweth delivers a sensational star turn, displaying a crystal-pure voice and sharp comic timing; Idina Menzel lends her powerful pipes to the tricky role of Elphaba. Unfortunately, you wish they had better material to work with. Stephen Schwartz's pop score is often dragged down by overly synthetic orchestrations and sentimental lyrics (think Chicken Soup for the Witch). Still, at its best Wicked is a seductive slice of popular entertainment that could well give a younger audience a lasting taste for musical theater. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (241)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible
    Although I've been a huge admirer of both Kristin Chenowith and idina Menzel for a few years now, I was not sure what to expect upon first hearing this soundtrack. Actually, I ended up seeing the show on broadway, and buying the CD the day after because i couldn't get enough of this music! Stephen Schwartz has made a brilliant creation, and couldn't have gotten better voices to sing it. The vocal harmonies are beautiful throughout. Defying Gravity, the real showstopper (much thanks to Ms. Menzel's UNBELIEVABLE voice), gave me almost as big of a chill when hearing it on the soundtrack as it did in live performance. Ms. Chenowith's lovely voice carries songs as well, and the song Popular is cute and funny, while showing off her vocal talent. Aside from Defying Gravity, my favorite songs are I'm Not That Girl (sung by Ms. Menzel), and the love ballad As Long as You're Mine. It's a fun, entertaining musical more full of emotion than I had expected it would be. Between Norman Leo Butz, and the two leading women, I can hardly put into words the feeling that their voices produce- you have to hear it to know! This is definitely one of the best new broadway shows to come about since RENT, and I hope it has a long, successful run.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Deliciously wicked and most definately wonderful
    Being of fan of the original novel and ecstatic that a musical was made from the book, I bought the CD the day it was available. It is pure and simple magic. Idina Menzel, who's voice blew me away on the OBC of Rent, proves her power and stands right up there with the superb Kristen Chenowith. I've been playing the CD non-stop since Decemeber, and with great fortune and luck, I was able to see the actual Broadway show this past weekend...front row lottery tickets. The power and majesty of this show cannot be conveyed on this CD, but it comes very close. Seeing all these perfomers dance, sing, and act the songs I fell in love with cannot be described. You'll have to see it for yourself. There's not a bad song in the show or on the CD...these songs, standing alone on the CD out of context from the show, are enough to move anyone. From Idina's perfect 'The Wizard and I' to 'No Good Deed,' from Kristen's comic songs to ballads, from their duets together (no two voices have ever matched better), and from Norbert Leo Butz's 'Dancing through Life' to 'As Long as Your Mine,' this CD is a definate to buy and share!

    5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
    If you haven't seen the play... you must go NOW!!! Idina Menzel who plays Elphaba (Wicked Witch) is amazing and awesome to watch... I've seen the play twice and hope to see it again!! If there were such thing as 6 stars... This musical absolutly deserves it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sublime...
    Miss Kristin Chenoweth... If there is a greater star on the rise on the great white way I dare you to name her. I spend my days puttering around in my care listening to Ariella Vaccarino's must-have CD series "Voice Lessons to Go" in preparation for the moment I put the real deal on here and try my best to match the vocal styling of Ms. Chenoweth... and fail (but maybe with these vocal CDs I've been listening to... who knows). Anyway, the woman is a queen of the stage at the moment and this recording is a vocal photograph of a true star in the midst of her prime. I highly recommend buying it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wicked Rocks!
    You wouldn't expect a teenager to love broadway music, but Wicked has me hooked!I can't get enough of "The Wizard and I" and "Defying Gravity".Other great tunes on the cd are "Popular", "As long as you're mine","I'm not that girl", and "Popular". The vocalists are fabulous, the tunes are catchy, and its a fun cd to listen to! If you want to hear a GREAT CD, listen to Wicked! ... Read more


    7. Little Women The Musical (2005 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000929ABY
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 97
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women concerns four sisters in post-­Civil War Massachusetts, but at times it feels as if its musical adaptation should have been called "Little Woman," so focused on a single sibling it is. Both Allan Knee's book and Sutton Foster's natural charisma and energy help constantly train the spotlight onto tomboy Jo. Yet it's not that much of a problem because Foster is strong enough to carry the show. She gets excellent support from the rest of the cast and especially cabaret artist Maureen McGovern, who as Marmee gets two beautiful ballads ("Here Alone" and "Days of Plenty") that are tailor-made for her imperial, burnished tone, and could well acquire a life outside the show. Composer Jason Howland worked as either musical director or musical supervisor on three period-set Frank Wildhorn musicals (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Civil War), which gives him a distinct experience in dealing with the historical setting here. Although the score oftentimes veers to the bland side, Howland also shows encouraging signs of spryness ("Five Forever") and melodic confidence that at one point slyly honors Sondheim ("Astonishing"). Old-fashioned in the best possible way, Little Women makes a good complement to Wicked for those trying to entice a younger audience to the delights of the musical theater.--Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (21)

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Music is pretty standard and lacking
    I am a hugh Musical Fan And I also Buy aot of cast recording.I find this recording to be lacking in depth .The music does not really bring one in it can be a bit boring but overall pretty good.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt Musical Theatre!
    Being a big fan of L.M. Alcott's classic I was sceptical about this CD. Also not having seen the show I was taking a chance buying it. I am sure glad I did. From the moment the music started playing I felt such a connection to it. And overwhelming emotion! By the time I got to "Some things were meant to be" I was sobbing and continued all through the very poignant "Days of Plenty".
    There is such delight in being reminded of childhood dreams and family togetherness, that our fast-paced lives sometimes forget. I don't believe Ms Alcott would be spinning in her grave at all. I bet she is thrilled that the Marchs' has been brought to life for another generation to discover and enjoy. It might be a story set in a different time........but the themes and emotions are timeless.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sutton Shines!
    It is sad that this show had such a short run . The performances by Sutton Foster and Maureen McGovern were pure musical theatre. Sutton's "Astonishing" is simply that and Ms. McGovern had me in tears during "Days of Plenty". Now that the show is history grab the cd and experience what will be missed on Broadway!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Musical CD In Many Years.
    On of the best musical theater CDs I have heard in many years. I find myself listening to "Astonishing" and "Days Of Plenty" over and over again. Sutton Foster's pure, flawless, voice shines as Jo, while Maureen McGovern delivers her songs with the percision of a pop diva. This CD is a must have for any theater fan!

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's Astonishing!
    When I first heard that Little Woman was going to be made into a musical I was really excited. I bought the album the day it came out and received it the next day. Whne I first listened to it, I must say I was disapointed. I thought it was just plain boring, so I put it away for a week. Then, I decided to give it a second chance, so I listened to the whole thing through. I was suprised when I ended up liking a few of the songs. After listening to it a few more times, I ended up liking even more of the songs. And as Icontinue to listen to it, I fall in love with another song each time. Those who write terrible reviews for this CD obviously are closed-minded people who expect to be blown-away the first time they listen to it. Well, unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. Not every show can be as big as Wicked(and even in that CD, some songs take mutiple listenings before you like them.) Soms shows are a bit more quiet, but that doesn't mean it's any less amazing.

    The songs on this CD are amazing. My two favorties are the nothing-less-than inspirational and powerful "Astonishing" and the heartfelt sisterly song "Some Things are Meant to Be". So many of the songs are wonderfully witty such as "Take a Chance on Me", "Better", "Could You?" and the touching "Small Umbrella in the Rain." And of course there are Marmee's two tearjerkers "Here Alone" and "Days of Plenty". Then, there's songs that just make you smile such as "I'd Be Delighted", "Five Forever", and "The Weekly Volcano Press". And then, there's a song that makes you want to get up and sing "The Fire Within Me." "Off to Massachusetts" is a song that NEVER gets out of your head.

    The singers sing beautifully. Period. Maureen McGovern and Sutton Foster have powerful voices, but that's a given. Amy McAlexander as "Amy" has a cute voice that fits her character well. Megan McGinnis as "Beth" really does have the voice of an angel and her voice makes you want to sob in "Some Things are Meant to Be". Jenny Powers as "Meg" has a soothing voice fit for the oldest March sister.

    All in all, this CD is fabulous! It's definitely worth buying! ... Read more


    8. Ray!: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002LE9HC
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 11
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    Amazon.com

    Soul and r&b legend Ray Charles may not have lived to see the success of Hollywood's ultimate tribute to him, but director Taylor Hackford's biopic (featuring a landmark performance by Jamie Foxx as the musical legend) will further burnish his legacy as one of the cornerstones of contemporary American music. Though it stretches from 1953's ecstatic, proto-soul "Mess Around" to a sublime, bluesy live take of "Georgia On My Mind" recorded in Japan in the mid-70's, this 17-track song-score can only be an inviting appetizer to the singer's epochal body of work. Charles' artistry may have virtually defined soul music itself, yet it also triumphed in genres as far afield as blues blues ("Nightime is the Right Time") and country ("I Can't Stop Loving You," "Bye Bye Love") during the 60's, the impossibly rich era from which the bulk of this soundtrack is culled. Crucially, fully a third of the cuts here are live recordings -- including electrifying 1965 performances of "What'd I Say," "You Don't Know Me" and "Hallelujah I Love Her So" hand-picked for the film by Charles himself -- the forum in which the singer consistently operated on a whole other artistic plateau from mere mortals.-- Jerry McCulley ... Read more


    9. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2005 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0009A1AMS
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 58
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    Amazon.com

    When was the last time you heard a musical with a truly hilarious book? Rachel Sheinkin has concocted such a thing for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, one of the most unexpected hits of 2005. Unfortunately, Sheinkin's wit is mostly lost on a cast album; fortunately, the show's songs are by the great William Finn. Set at the titular event, the musical never looks down on the competiting kids (played by adult actors), instead portraying them as endearingly nerdy but also smart, and endowing them with real personalities rather than predictably spelling-bee tics. The cast is uniformly superb, although personal faves include Sarah Saltzberg, playing Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre with a delicious lisp ("Woe Is Me"); Jesse Tyler Ferguson, bringing sweet innocence to Leaf Coneybear ("I'm Not That Smart"); and Dan Fogler, in a breakout comic performance as William Barfee ("Magic Foot," sounding like a sly tribute to Kander & Ebb). This show may be small in scale, but it's a huge winner. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

    Other Great Musicals of the Season


    Spamalot

    Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

    The Light in the Piazza

    Little Women

    All Shook Up

    Altar Boyz

    ... Read more


    10. Angel: Live Fast, Die Never - Music from TV Series
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0008FPJ7Q
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 112
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Album Description

    Fans of Angel have continually hoped to one day hear an album. Their wait is finally over. Live Fast, Die Never: Music from the TV Seriesfeatures * A newly-recorded, full-length version of the main-title song * 3 songs performed by cast members as were featured in episodes of the show (a karaoke bar was a recurring location)* Score by the show's composer, Robert Kral *key songs to the show performed by Vast and Kim Ritchie *notes from Joss Whedon and extensive cast photos from all 5 seasons Angel is Academy® and Emmy® -nominated writer Joss Whedon’s humorous exploration of the twists and turns of adulthood set against a backdrop of supernatural adventure and is seen currently on TNT. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tasty
    I think this is quite an outstanding compilation.The title song is, of course, a staple.Then the next few tracks are all ambience pieces that will make you feel very much like the apocalypse is coming and so is the hot vampire in the long black coat.What makes this compilation really great is the last few songs that all fans will remember.These include Touched, LA Song (that Lindsey performed in Caritas), and a few hits by Lorne, including Lady Marmalade.For fans, this is totally worth the purchase.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Show, Great Soundtrack
    Amazing.For anyone who casually watched Angel this soundtrack is good.For those of us who were obsessed with the show, it is amazing.All of the songs take you back to moments of the show.Each track has a small description of where the music was used in the show, and what emotions the composers were trying to invoke.Music used during fights is great and powerful; songs like Hero and the beautifully sung A Place Called Home bring us back to some of the saddest moments when our favorite characters sacrificed their lives for a greater good.Finally, there is LA Song (a personal fave), performed by Christian Kane.If you listen closely to the lyrics; sky's gonna open, raining fire, people falling to their knees praying, it kinda makes you wonder if this beautiful song from Season 2 was foreshadowing what was to come in Season 4.With Joss and Co. you never know.All in all, a great soundtrack to an amazing show.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I just wish there were more sang songs
    Overall, the soundtrack is excellent, the first track, the extended version of Angel main theme, has been my favorite, while rest of the scores are also very good. The sang songs were excellent, but I was very disappointed not to have Lorne's "If I rule the world" from the last episode of the series. I mean, that was a VERY important song!!! But instead they have the what's-up-with-that song of the Jousting!??? they should replace the jousting song with Lorne's "if I rule the world" then the soundtrack would be perfect.

    the songs and my ratings:
    Angel Main Theme- 6/5 the santuary mix and the beautiful vocal of Darling Violetta worked perfectly. the simple one-line lyric of "You're my sanctuary" is just beautiful and remind us again and again of Angel and his heroism.

    Start The Apocalypse/The End of the World-5/5 beautiful, sad and hunting, one of the best scores on Angel.

    Massive Assault- 3/5 I don't like it very much, but it's still legitamate.

    Home-6/5 This score made me cry as I watch Angel silently and bittersweetly watches Connor in his perfect life that Angel provided him with, knowing that he is forever the outsider. The bittersweet score matched perfectly in this situation, it is truly a feeling of home and the heroism of a parent.

    Hero- 5/5 beautiful vocal. although some part wasn't that good, but overall it reminded us of Doyle and his sacrifice.

    Judgment and Jousting- 2/5 What's up with this score, this isn't even a score so much as it's more like a sound affect for while Angel is fighting the demon. It also isn't one of the high points or best episode of Angel. They really wasted this one.

    The Birth of Angelus- 6/5 Hunting, beautiful vocal, and has a classic-ish element within it. It fits perfectly with the rise of evil.

    Rebellion- 4/5 Very Powerful and dominating

    The Trials For Darla- 4/5 overall it's pretty good, but has some kind of sound affect purpose in it also

    Dreaming of Darla- 5/5 another hunting and somewhat dangerous score.

    Untouched/Darla's Fire- 4/5 It kind of goes with the Rebellion one. Pretty good and enjoyable.

    Darla's Sacrifice- 5/5 so sad and bittersweet yet also glorious and heroic. And the end with the dangerous feeling when Holtz said he will show no mercy is just absolutely fabulous.

    Welcome To Pylea- 3/5 I don't really like this score partly because I have heard many like it from other movies and TV shows, not to mention guest performers to our school, but it's pretty fitting to the episode.

    Through The Looking Glass- 5/5 It has the fairy tale element. full of magic and surealism. It fits perfectly for Angel being the hero out of a fairy tale and saves the beautiful woman, Fred.

    Castle Attack- 3/5 again it's another one of those heard-way-too-many scores. But it has some glorious parts.

    Cordy Meets Fred/Princess Cordelia- 5/5 again with the fairy tale like elements and the heroism of Cordelia. She is truly a princess.

    Farewell Cordelia- 6/5 God I just wish this score was longer!!!!! I cried and cried every time I hear this score. It's bittersweet, parting and powerful sweeping music just fits perfectly for Cordelia kissing Angel goodbye and Angel silently weeps over Cordelia's farewell. Sadly it only lasted one minute

    I'm Game- 4/5 a powerful tune for a powerful beginning of Angel. I love how this was placed last of the scores, it's just like the Angel's DVD covers: the end of the beginning.

    Touched- 6/5 I love love love this song sooooo much I just can't get tired playing it over and over again. it's perfect for Angel with its dark, ironic tunes. Love the chanting in the beginning.

    LA song- 6/5 one of the best songs that ever put on there. I love this song so much. It almost summerized the glory and danger of the whole series of Angel.

    Lady Marmalade- 4/5 I really didn't have much feelings to this song, only that it's Andy Hallett's favorite. I mean, after hearing this song over and over again on the radio sang by Christina Aguilera and the other four girls, wouldn't you get tired?? The song isn't even that good and not really my type. But since I deeply respect Lorne I enjoy it.

    It's Not Easy Being Green- 5/5 beautiful jazz music and perfect for Lorne.

    A Place Called Home- 6/5 another bittersweet song (Angel has soo many of that), it reminds us of our beautiful beloved character Fred as we say farewell to her.

    Overall it's very enjoyable. My only complain, as I said before, is not having "If I rule The World", other than that, it's a perfect collection for Angel fans. It will always remind us of Angel and how much we love him/the show.


    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally...
    During the show, you never really get a good listen to the music in the background as it's usually covered up with the action on the screen.And that's such a shame, it's beautiful music.
    I love the extended Main Theme song, Home and Hero...but my fav has to be "Through the Looking Glass"I love how the recorder solo is quite and shy at the beginning but after a dark and louder session, the recorder comes back strong and powerful.It's beautiful.
    I'm hoping they release another volumn with more of the music that had to be cut out of this album because 'Angel' had some of the most beautiful and moving music on television.

    4-0 out of 5 stars At Last
    After too many years of waiting, "Angel" Joss Whedons "Buffy" spin-off finally gets a soundtrack ("Buffy" has 3).It contains mostly score but is still excellent, the music is haunting and heartbreaking, my faves are Hero (which features lovely vocals by elin hamilton) and Farewell Cordy. The "Angel" main theme is extended and is also excellent. Now I have to say I wish more of the cast kareoke would have been included like Lorne's "I Will Survive", Harmony's hilarious "The Way We Were", Cordy's godawfully funny "Greatest Love Of All", and Angel's "Mandy" (or even the Angel/Connor duet "Jasmine" done to the tune of "Mandy"). However, the songs present are terrific and I can't really complain too much. Buy It Now! ... Read more


    11. Kingdom of Heaven
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00080EUN0
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 111
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Filmmaker Ridley Scott has long been intrigued by historical events and their contemporary echoes, a fascination that evinces itself again here in the violent tale of Balian of Ibelin (Orlando Bloom), a Jerusalem blacksmith who rallies his people against foreign invaders during the Crusades of the 12th century. Breaking with a successful modern collaboration with Hans Zimmer that yielded such eclectic riches as Gladiator, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down, and Matchstick Men, Scott turned here to fellow Englishman/former Zimmer associate Harry Gregson-Williams for his new film's music. The composer, perhaps weary of the electronica-suffused action film cliches he's so often been associated with, rises admirably to the occasion with a sweeping orchestral score that masterfully trades on a wealth of disparate historical and stylistic influences. Gregson-Williams echoes the film's religious and cultural conflicts via the tense musical axis at the soundtrack's core, one that sets the invading Church's medieval choral ecclesiastics on a collision course with the ancient Arabic modalities of the film's hero. The resulting score may occasionally trade on hoary Hollywood romantic traditions, but the composer infuses them with such bracing doses of historical/ethnic antecedents—and his own decidedly contemporary instincts—as to create a compelling new whole. Even the obligatory, pop-oriented version of Ibellin's Theme ("Light of Life") by Natacha Atlas shimmers with Middle Eastern-inflected enticement. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellant soundtrack
    I love soundtracks and this one is one of the best.The music is very emotional and I enjoyed it even before I saw the movie.Now when I listen I can visualize the movie the scene!"The King" is one of the most emotional tracks and without spoiling the movie you will have deep emotion for this character and the music brings you to that place.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Kingdom of Heaven
    To make the long story short, if you have insomnia and need all kind of pills in order to get some sleep, just put the pills aside and listen to this sound track. I guarantee you fall asleep within 3 minutes.
    How in the world could a composer use a huge orchestra and chorus, all kinds of exotic instruments and yet come up with such a boring, dull music.
    Considering we have composers like Hans Zimmer or Howard Shore out there, the question is why they risked Harry Gregson Williams!? I wish I knew the answer.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
    HARRY GREGSON WILLIAMS - Kingdom of heaven.

    The story is known. Its premise was massive and maybe it was hurt by it in the end. Supposedly, the new GLADIATOR coming from the same director, RIDLEY SCOTT, its score would be a great opportunity for any composer who would be aboard, something like a golden egg that is. Hans Zimmer was going to be scoring this, but due to scheduling conflicts and other reasons as well, he swapped projects with the prolific HARRY GREGSON WILLIAMS.

    Now, did Harry deliver? While using a huge whole of valuable collaborators like THE LONDON SESSION ORCHESTRA, 2 choirs, a viol ensemble, a group of Turkish musicians and a vast amount of ethnic instruments like lutes, ethnic / tribal drums, oud, canon and kemence but also hurdy gurdy and electric violin / cellos among other, more `casual' instruments as well, this could be massive. It is dominated by compelling choir work but in an overall of 19 tracks and 1.02.12 of duration, the cues which are really worthy are (hardly) 11 and this is not a good total. The rest is insignificant underscore and what strikes me most is the absence of a (at least one) really distinct, grand, driving theme and the constant feeling that when something big feels like Is going to occur, things abruptly wear off and the piece(s) end there.
    Now, that's disappointing. Yes, there are some very good pieces with sweeping strings, ethnic vocals, pulsing percussion and a couple of compelling themes but it feels `tired' and repressed as a whole and the rest, underscore with ethnic vocals and all, as I said before, is careless (at least on cd).

    I don't want to blame Gregson Williams who is undeniably a very talented composer with an impressive resume, who along with JOHN POWELL and MICHAEL GIACCHINO I strongly think that he'll play a major role in film music's feature. He did deliver an ok, decent score with traces of Zimmer's Gladiator, his own SPY GAME / MAN ON FIRE (he even used some of the same synth sounds as in those works) and some of Brian Tyler's children of dune but I can't help but to think what this score could have been in the hands of GABRIEL YARED, JAN A.P. KACZMAREK (Quo Vadis anyone?!) ALEXANDRE DESPLAT or even HANS ZIMMER. But you know what annoys me more? If Zimmer would do that in the end, you all know that he would come up with a fitting, grand and huge-sounding score with the usual humable heroic themes, some people openly love and others with guild. It would be rousing and yes it would be nothing new and nothing original probably, but at the same time damn entertaining and fun. But we all also know that it would be bashed to the end, with no remorse by the usual army of Zimmer haters, just for the sake of it and that's a situation it annoys me greatly through the last years, in the film music business. Not only with Zimmer, Horner and many other composers are also subject of this but that's a completely different discussion.

    As for the other 3 (and I am sure, many other brilliant composers could be there as well) names I mentioned, I strongly believe that there's no need for me to mention what brilliance would have been, if they have stepped above. I don't know the background of the work, maybe Harry was forced, firmly guided or didn't have the time and freedom to do what he wanted but in the end, to me, this is an organic and interesting score indeed, surely a very important addition to his resume, but at the same time, it's lacking of that `something' that would boost it to that next, higher level. In a total of all these pieces and the long duration, 10 -11 significant cues in all, it is a disappointing whole for me and I vastly wonder where did some reviewers find 5 whole stars for this work ; in the end, it's their opinion. Only, I won't buy.

    * * * 1/2

    3-0 out of 5 stars Of course, "Vide Cor Meum" is not on this CD...
    ...because it was composed for Scott's own HANNIBAL and can be found on that soundtrack!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Stirring and inspiring...
    After watching the movie, the stirring music that accompanies the scences quite well made me want to listen to this soundtrack. It's undoubtedly good, though i wont compare it to Hans Zimmer's works. Wllliams did a great job here. i loved most of the tracks,only 'Saladin' seem too quiet to listen to it on its own.

    'Crusaders', 'A New World' and 'Ibelin' are some nice tracks. Particularly 'Ibelin' which is [in my opionion] the only happy tune in the album, which is sung at the end of the album. 'Battle of Kerak' is exciting, 'To Jeruselem' gives the feel of entering a great city, and also the soothing vocals in 'Path to Heaven' are brillant. 'The King' has a sad theme but is beautifully written.

    What i missed from this soundtrack are the three tunes that are not in the album. The one when the movie starts before Crusaders come, the song Vide Cor Meum and the last "merry" song at the end of the movie before credits roll.

    Overall the music was great and it suited the film well. ... Read more


    12. The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $12.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000654YWY
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 854
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    Amazon.com

    For better or worse, Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of Gaston Leroux's gothic horror/romance novel has done for stage musicals what Spielberg's Jaws did for fish stories, with worldwide sales of its original cast album approaching 25 million. While director Joel Schumacher's film turns on his typically ambitious visual verve, its new film soundtrack recording has been paradoxically focused in scope, yet beefed up dynamically via the brawny presence of a hundred piece orchestra and The London Boys Choir. This single disc version showcases all of Phantom's key songs (a deluxe, double-disc edition is also available), with Gerard Butler imparting a welcome, youthful sensuality to his Phantom, making a fine foil for Emily Rossum's ever-conflicted Christine. Original show orchestrator David Cullen has fashioned compelling new contemporary arrangements to frame Webber's songs -- which now conclude with the lilting, upbeat new ballad he wrote for the film, "Learn to Be Lonely," sung by Minnie Driver's Carlotta.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more


    13. Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-72
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0009299JC
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 558
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Imagine yourself sitting in Stephen Sondheim's living room as he sits at the piano and sings 19 of his songs, some still in the gestational stage.That's the gist of Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-1972, the first installment of what promises to be a large collection of private recordings Sondheim made "for fun" at the home of a friend.Naturally they're from shows relatively early in Sondheim's career, such as Company, Follies, A Funny Thing..., Anyone Can Whistle, and A Little Night Music.But just because the songs were written for those shows doesn't mean they made the final cut, so the selections range from the ultra-familiar "Send in the Clowns" and "Broadway Baby" to the less-familiar "Pleasant Little Kingdom," "Marry Me a Little," and "Love Is in the Air."Of course anyone who's the least bit versed in Sondheim song collections probably already knows "Marry Me a Little" and other such fare, but more rare is "No, Mary Ann" (from a never-produced movie called The Thing of It Is), "Truly Content" (a single song from The World of Jules Feiffer), and "The Lame, the Halt and the Blind" (cut from Anyone Can Whistle).A further element of interest is that some of the songs are different from their final stage versions.The changes are minor--a word here, a line there--but they offer a glimpse into Sondheim's working process.The beautiful booklet reprints all the lyrics as sung here, with notations for where they were eventually changed and to what. It also includes historic photos and detailed notes by Sondheim archivist Peter E. Jones.

    And how is Sondheim the performer?Broadway fans are well aware that performances by songwriters can be valued for their insight and passion, but not necessarily their beauty.There's a 1971 quote from Sondheim: "For those of you who have not had the pleasure of hearing my voice before, I tend to sing very loud, usually off-pitch and always write in keys that are just out of my range."That's a self-deprecating exaggeration, but it's probably best said that Sondheim is a good pianist who as a singer won't make anyone forget Barbara Cook.Sondheim Sings is a product of PS Classics' non-profit wing, and proceeds from the recording will go to Young Playwrights Inc., which Sondheim founded to support playwrights under 18.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Treasure!
    What a great treasure it is to hear Mr. Sondheim sing these great songs, although I'm disapointed they included more from Anyone Can Whistle and his unproduced shows than his more popular ones, they are still great. I'm exited to see the next edition of this series.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sondheim Brilliance Captured on Remastered Demo Tapes
    He has an unfair reputation for penning songs people cannot sing along with, but I have to admit I'm a sucker for a Stephen Sondheim tune, even the overplayed ones like "Being Alive" and "Not a Day Goes By". So for me, it's a treat to hear a thirtyish Sondheim himself sing his own compositions accompanying himself on the piano. Granted he talk-sings in a very modest range and often veers off-key in spite of his best efforts, but his buoyant enthusiasm and keen intellect are so infectious throughout that I eventually became indifferent to his marginal singing talent. The other pertinent fact is that Sondheim is a superb piano player pounding the keys effortlessly as if he's composing and improvising his performances on the spot. He just turned 75 earlier this year, so PS Classics has collected 19 of his demo tapes from 1962-72 and digitally remastered them for this special recording. It was a fertile period for Sondheim, and this disc provides evidence with selections originating from seven of his shows from this decade - four unqualified hits ("Company", "Follies", "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "A Little Night Music"); a failure that has justifiably gained stature over the years ("Anyone Can Whistle" which has the most songs here - five); and a couple of obscurities ("The Thing of It Is" and "The World of Jules Feiffer"). Several of the songs here never made the final productions, much less the cast recordings, which makes this unvarnished compilation recording especially valuable. It's also just great to hear an unedited Sondheim so unfettered, exuberant and maddeningly clever.

    Sondheim produces a bouncy gem in "Pretty Little Picture" from "Forum", which offers smart, densely written lyrics over a hyped-up sea chantey melody. From "Jules Feiffer", "Truly Content" is a sweet ode to an unrealized dream of becoming a movie star that even includes the opening notes of "The Star Spangled Banner" as a finale interlude. Who else but Sondheim would mention Fay Wray and George Brent as his screen idols? He captures a frenetic romanticism on "Multitudes of Amy" and "Marry Me a Little", both from "Company", two of the most astute songs about being in love and obsessively infatuated I've ever heard, the latter particularly affecting with the rolling piano keys propelling the melody. The title tune from the failed "Anyone Can Whistle" has a loping open-heartedness that sets the mood of the show beautifully. The same can be said about his touching rendition of the familiar memory lament "Losing My Mind" from "Follies", where he unexpectedly changes his pitch when he moves into the chorus. Also from "Follies", "Don't Look at Me" vividly displays his sharp wit and high sense of personal drama, as does "Pleasant Little Kingdom" with its driving rhythm. From "Anyone Can Whistle", Sondheim really captures the aura of a carnival sideshow with "Miracle Song" and continues the spirit with shifting tempos and revivalist character changes interrupted by pilgrim murmurings on "The Lame, The Halt and the Blind".

    And here's a great example of the typical creative process behind a Broadway show - with its stern opening chords, "Invocation" was intended as a more clarion opening number for "Forum", but then it was decided to replace it with the pliant soft-shoe number "Love Is in the Air", but both were finally jettisoned in favor of the well-known "Comedy Tonight", which is not included here. "The Glamorous Life" demo is particularly fascinating for Sondheim's ongoing explanations of the plot developments and character's vocal turns in "A Little Night Music", as he sings in front of an attentive audience. Sondheim also sings a fine, unadorned "Send in the Clowns", refreshing for the lack of dramatic excess usually associated with the song. With his skilled grasp of melody and his dexterous use of changing imagery, this just provides proof that he composes music for the ages. There is also a 32-page booklet included with complete lyrics, historic photos and a brief background story.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
    If you're absolutely obsessed with Sondheim, you'll possibly like this recording. I find him a genius, but he has one of the worst voices I've ever heard. Don't turn up the volume while playing it or you'll have every dog in the neighborhood howling.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars!
    Just shy pf perfection- i mean- what is perfect? Great, great, music here- I must reccomend!

    5-0 out of 5 stars There is a God!
    ...and, as a very accurate member of Finishing The Chat promptly pointed out, he's publishing his demos! ... Read more


    14. The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast)
    list price: $37.98
    our price: $30.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004YTY2
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 151
    Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (261)

    4-0 out of 5 stars "Let the specacle astound you!"
    I can get a pretty good sense of what a theatrical experience this show must be from listening to its London cast recording. All that thundering, overpowering, eerie but beautiful music, which is actually pretty good and may very well be Andrew Lloyd Webber's best. The above-average, occasionally beautiful and touching lyrics to such songs as "Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," and "Point of No Return." The fine performance of Michael Crawford as the Phantom, which does a great job of conveying the character's passion and pain and thankfully doesn't really conjure up memories of his best-forgotten days as a juvenile lead in such fimusicals as "A Funny Thing..." and "Hello, Dolly!" The beautiful voice of Sarah Brightman as Christine. The supporting cast, from Steve Barton's Raoul to Rosemary Ashe's stunning Carlotta to the two theatrical agents, Andre and Farmin (or something like that). All contribute to the enjoyment and, yes, spectacle of this recording, and no doubt did and, in the case of the music and lyrics, still do contribute to the success of the stage show. All are reasons for buying it, so why not?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not the best recording ever. . .the ONLY recording ever
    Alright, let's get this straight. It's a simple math problem; even a first grader could get this. Michael Crawford=Phantom. Phantom=Michael Crawford. That's just how it is. In the title song, when he sings "The Phantom of the Opera is there"...oh its brilliant. Especially that funny thing his voice does on the "Phaaa" part of Phantom. Normally it might be a little awkward, but in this role its absolutley perfect. He really makes us sympathize with him and almost makes you bawl in the Finale.

    Sarah Brightman does a great job with Christine. Most peolpe absolutely screw up the vocals at the end of the title song (ah-hem, 1992 Japanese Version and Sandra Joseph on Broadway. Hate to say it, but it doesn't work with their voices. Yeah, they can sing, but just not that. They do very well otherwise though) I like the way she screams out "I'll go MAD!" in Notes II.

    The only bad part about this (but it's quite minor) are Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet. Buquet's voice is kind of breathy and the vibrato takes over and Madame Giry's voice is a little breathy also, but nothing major.

    The orchestra in this is beautiful. In most recordings, the orchestra cuts short in the intrumentals before Hannibal and after the Auction (which is one of the best parts) but in this one is it really powerful. It gives you goosebumps because it blends so well together. Especially when the horns come in!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Recording
    I simply love this recording. I have never seen Phantom performed on the stage and this is the only recording I have ever heard of the Phantom of the Opera, but I was delighted to hear its music. I have had this CD for only a week and cannot stop playing it for some reason! It has quite a musical score, and the story is very sad. I have never read the book (although I am waiting for its arrival from Amazon after ordering it), so I cannot tell you whether it is true to the original story. The story is that of a man who has been abandoned by all mankind and must live in a labyrinth under the opera house. He falls in love with Christine Daae and becomes her tutor. She believes that the Phantom is the Angel of Music sent by her deceased father. The Phantom loves her so and wants her career in the opera house to advance. He sends notes to the managers, telling them to give her main roles instead of the prima Donna Carlotta. It is a heart wrenching story because you really feel sorry for the Phantom.

    The cast is strong. MICHAEL CRAWFORD plays the Phantom on this recording and is argued by many phans to be the best phantom. I have heard no other recording, so I can't argue that point. The role of Christine was written for SARAH BRIGHTMAN, so naturally she does well. There are many high notes and her role can be compared to that of COSETTE in LES MISERABLES because it seems that the majority of her parts are high. RAOUL is played by STEVE BARTON, and his voice is marvelous. ROSEMARY ASHE plays CARLOTTA. I don't like the part of Carlotta, but that isn't Ashe's fault!

    Some of the music in this sounds familiar, like from CATS (I'm talking about a couple bars of music, not like a whole song or anything), so that is very interesting. If you like Andrew Lloyd Webber, you will love this rock opera! I like "Angel of Music," "Phantom of the Opera," and "Music of the Night."

    Buy this CD because it is worth every penny!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Just as good the 100th time!
    This is truly a great recording. Overall, I am totally in love with it, but I am here to give a review, not to push my personal biases on others. So, from the standpoint of a musician, actress, and singer, here goes. First of all the actors...
    MICHAEL CRAWFORD: Overall, Awesome. Truly the best cast member. His voice is easy to listen to, and very expressive. He IS the Phantom. No questions asked. Technically, not perfect, but this is theatre, not technical type singing. Sometimes, he sounds like he has a bad cold, and tends to slide into the correct note on the higher notes, but overall, this detracts very little from his outrageous awsomeness.
    SARAH BRIGHTMAN: Not a huge fan of Sarah's, I'm afraid. Vibrato is one thing, but when you sound like a chipmunk singing while sitting in one of those massage chair things, you're using a little too much. She hits all of the notes beautifully, but you would too if your husband wrote the part for you. Her acting skills and expression are below par, and her inunciation is like she's singing with dental equipment in her mouth. She should definately practice singing more forward, as she gets caught in the back of her throat frequently. Her solos can wear on the nerves, but overall, you could do worse, she's not completely devoid of vocal talent, and she sounds fine when she's singing with someone else.
    STEVE BARTON: Not much to say about him. No surprises here, but easy to listen too, expression is on par, and he is technically the best out of the three leads. No complaints, but I've heard this voice a million times before.
    OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT: Carlotta is excellant, and beautifully annoying, all though she does have one moment in NOTES where she slips out of character for a phrase. Meg sounds like she's singing while trying to breath through an oxygen tube, in other words, barely audible. I would have liked to hear her more in the harmony on Angel of Music. Everyone else: Fine. Cooly. No complaints.
    AS FOR THE MUSIC: There is a lot of it, and it rocks. The orchestrations are fabulous for Broadway, and the melodies are beautiful, if frequently repetitive. Don't buy this if you don't like the tune of Angel of Music, it shows up in practically every song. The chorus numbers are ass-kicking and funky harmony-full.
    THE FINAL VERDICT: You can't go wrong here. Even if you despise Sarah Brightman, everyone else more than compensates for her, erm , lack of pronunciation. Crawford is at his best, and the melodies are some of the most memorable in musical history. Even newbies to the Phantom world will rejoice. Go ahead, throw away your money here. You won't be dissapointed.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Overblown, but still worth a listen.
    I am not one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's greatest fans. But still, this is a good show. People that give this negative reviews claim that it is overated. And they are correct. But there are very good melodies in this show, although the lyrics are not top quality. There are also so many layers of the phantom that Gaston Leorux wrote in this character that are not explored in the lyrics. In this show we have little reason to sympathize with the main character. But in Sondheim's"Sweeney Todd" we are told in sometimes Gruesome detail why Sweeney has those killing sprees. But these shows are completly different animals of the theater. Phantom is a show that takes you to another world, while "Sweeney" makes you think. In my opinon, this is Andrew Lloyd Webbers last good show. ... Read more


    15. Love Actually
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000DZ3IG
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 33
    Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (65)

    3-0 out of 5 stars One obvious omission...
    I couldn't get enough of this movie (have seen it 5 times already), so I just HAD to have the soundtrack. Some tracks immediately brought me back to certain scenes in the movie, others were more subtle. I didn't place them until I saw the movie the second or third time.

    Kelly Clarkson's "The Trouble With Love Is" is wonderful! I've hit reply on the CD player hundreds of times.

    It's also great to have "Christmas Is All Around" and "All I Want for Christmas" included on the soundtrack--highlights of both the movie and the CD.

    One obvious omission from the soundtrack, however, (both the US and UK versions) is "Bye Bye Baby" by the Bay City Rollers. That song was part of a very poignant scene in the movie (at the funeral of Daniel's wife) and it also segued into the next scene as it was played at the wedding reception of Peter & Juliet while they were dancing. If that had been included this soundtrack would have been complete.

    So while I enjoy the CD, some songs more than others, it always leaves me wanting just a little bit more.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic soundtrack, but stuff is missing
    I loved this movie and especially the music. I felt that there were songs on this cd that were not in the film (and I've seen it six times), and that there were songs in the film that should have been on the cd.

    I ended up getting the UK soundtrack as well. The UK version has a different version of "Jump for my love" (a really rockin' version!!!) that is by "Girls Aloud", it has the whole song of "sweetest goodbye" (for some stupid reason the US version cuts it off halfway through to go into some other song), it has some other song I don't remember from the flick called "sometimes", plus two orchestral themes that are not on the US soundtrack.

    What kills me is that neither soundtrack has the opening theme, the one that branches off from the "christmas is all around" recording scene. It's such a great piece! But then, I'm a music freak and most people probably don't even care or notice. But I miss it and it drives me nuts that I can't hear it without going back to the theatre.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very moving
    If you liked the movie, you will enjoy this soundtrack. It has some very good and memorable cues from the film, especially Track 14, "Glasgow Love Theme". Always reminds me of the scene in the movie itself... and I would have to recommend this piece the most out of any track. Billy Mack's "Christmas Is All Around" also will make you re-live the Christmas Eve moment. I highly recommend this soundtrack, and especially Track 14!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Actually love this music...
    I really liked this movie when I saw it and I especially loved the way music played such a big role in the story. I knew I needed to have the soundtrack. The tracks listed are beautiful but I have to confess, it's just better in the movie. The music lost some of its magic from the record store to my home. I find myself constantly skipping over some of the middle songs which, to me, are just not that important or even likeable. I couldn't even remember where they came in the movie.

    However, there are some in there that hit the nail on the head and bring the scene back to you EXACTLY. You'll find the very great "Both Sides Now", "Jump" (insert images of Hugh Grant dancing here), "All You Need Is Love", the beautiful "Turn Me On", the hilarious "Christmas Is All Around", and the awesome, AWESOME cover of "All I Want For Christmas".

    I have to say, it's a worthwhile cd after all and I recommend it to anyone who admires the nice mix of songs (take note though, Amazon only lists 14 tracks of the 17 actually included) and to anyone who liked this great movie.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent CD, has ALL the tracks I wanted!
    I wasn't sure if all the tracks I wanted would be on this one, but they are! There are 17 total, including All I Want for Christmas. This is a wonderfully put together soundtrack. ... Read more


    16. Pacific Overtures (2004 Broadway Revival Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0009299J2
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 218
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Pacific Overtures opened on Broadway in 1976. It didn't do that well, but neither did it completely flop--quite a feat considering it's one of Stephen Sondheim's hardest-to-penetrate musicals. Set in the mid-19th century, the show describes the arrival of Americans in Japan and their influence on that country. Sondheim said he wanted to keep the lyrics simple, so they're haiku-like, with few rhymes. Meanwhile, the music gets increasingly Westernized as the show progresses, to underscore the progressive Westernization of Japan. This revival was performed in Japanese at the 2002 Lincoln Center Festival, before being adapted for an English-speaking Broadway opening with an Asian-American cast. The small orchestra does justice to the score, although one may wish for echoes of the original production's fuller arrangements. Toward the end of the CD, two consecutive tracks neatly show up Sondheim's versatility. The comic "Please Hello" features American, British, Dutch, Russian, and French admirals, and Sondheim subtly honors each country's tradition as each admiral takes his turn (if only the cast's accents were as good). The song segues into the somber "A Bowler Hat," in which the Westernization of Kayama (Michael K. Lee) is examplified by his owning a bowler hat. (B.D. Wong shows his customary assurance as the Reciter.) Narratively speaking, the song may well be among Sondheim's best. The CD ends with a 1975 demo recording of Sondheim and director Harold Prince performing the cut number "Prayers." --Elisabeth Vincentelli

    Other Recent Sondheim Releases


    The Frogs (2004 Cast)

    Sondheim Sings (vol. 1)

    Assassins (2004 Cast)

    Sweeney Todd (DVD)

    Bounce

    Mostly Sondheim (DVD), Barbara Cook
    ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece that deserves better.
    "Pacific Overtures", Sondheim and Weidman's epic masterpiece, has always deserved to be appreciated, and the recent revival certainly had potential to finally be praised by critics and enjoyed by audiences.Unfortunately, as this recording shows, the limits of the production makes one wish for more.

    Sondheim's beautiful and complex score is watered down in order to be performed by an extremely small orchestra (only 11 musicians), causing this recording to pale in comparison to the original cast recording.While the cast is excellent (B.D. Wong's voice is excellent and he does a great job as the Reciter), often performing far better than the original, the instrumentation does not even come close to the lush and textured performance of the original.The pulsing and tense percussion and strings of "Four Black Dragons" is now played by a piano, which simply cannot capture what I believe to be Sondheim and Tunick's original intentions.

    Even so, this CD is a must for any Sondheim fan.The songs are incredible, almost all of which have a distinct Japanese feel despite being very accessible.The CD, like the recent recording of the revival of "Assassins", is more complete than the original cast recording, and includes the lovely song "Prayers" as a Bonus track as well as some dialogue to better connect the songs.

    "Pacific Overtures" is a masterpiece, to be sure, but one that needs a far better recording. ... Read more


    17. Avenue Q (2003 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000BZK1R
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 208
    Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Avenue Q will only fuel the frustration of those who think that Broadway has given up on sophisticated entertainment geared to adults. "Whatever happened to Cole Porter's witty rhymes and mature subject matter?" they'll say. Well, it's hard to deny that Avenue Q's main frame of reference is Sesame Street and that its humor can be very broad--yes, there's profanity and puppet sex. But the show also displays heart("The More You Ruv Someone" typically begins with "Why can't people get along?") and a pretty satisfying zany streak. Musically, the score is rooted in 1970s pop, with nods to the aforementioned Sesame Street. The excellent cast, dominated by John Tartaglia and Stephanie D'Abruzzo, does it justice, milking the humorous numbers for all they're worth and finding pathos in the more straightforward ones. Not bad for a childish show.--Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (89)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Seseme Street Puppets + Sex & Profanity = Brillance!!
    While "Rent" tries to explore Generation X's challenges and dissapointments when it comes to love, employment, poverty, friendship, and success, "Avenue Q" does it even better, and with puppets!

    The songs, which have the happy bounce of Seseme Street-like tunes, have some of the wittiest lyrics of any Broadway show. Listen to "If You Were Gay," "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," "The Internet is For Porn," "Special," "You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want," "My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada," or "Schadenfreude" and try not to laugh. I think as long as your not some prim and proper conservative you'll be rolling on the ground. The show also has some touching songs, notably "There's a Fine, Fine Line" and "I Wish I Could Go Back to College."

    And besides the hillarious songs, "Avenue Q" has a delightful cast of young musical theater up-and-comers. As Avenue Q's everyman, Princeton, John Tartaglia showcases his superb pop-style voice, and as stuffy investment banker Rod, Tartaglia shows he can do character acting as well. As Princeton's love interest, Kate Monster, Stephanie D'Arbuzzo is charming and sweet, but as Lucy she shows she can belt a hot, sulty night-club number. As Rod's roomate, Nicky, and the porn-addicted Trekkie Monster, Rick Lyon reveals he is a master at comedic characters, and Natalie Venetia Belcon is a riot as Gary Coleman (yes, THAT Gary Coleman).

    "Avenue Q" is without a doubt the funniest and most politically incorrect show since "The Producers" and may be the only worthy competition "Wicked" sees for the Tony Award for Best Musical of 2003-2004.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant, off-the-wall send up of Sesame Street!
    Yes, the new musical, "Avenue Q" looks like an episode of "Sesame Street," but be forewarned parents, the "Parental Advisory Warning" isn't there for no reason. This brilliant new Broadway show takes a cast of foam characters, who look suspiciously like the Muppets, and uses them to tackle decidely adult issues such as sex, pornography, racism, homosexuality, drug use, cruelty and cynicism. Ironically, this musical's most recent forebear is "Rent," and while that show told its story through rock opera while this one tells it through bouncy, cheery songs that sound like children's music but are in fact raunchy, vulgar, and most importantly, wickedly clever and satirically dead-on parodies (Think of the music to "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut" and you'll get the general idea.), the shows' subject matters are remarkably similar, even if their overall tones couldn't be more divergent. Monsters who masturbate? Two male roommates who bring the supposed gay subtext of Bert and Ernie into the forefront? Songs that teach us such valuable lessons as "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist," "The Internet is for Porn," and "You Can Be Loud As the Hell You Want When You're Making Love"? Sesame Street this ain't. Absolutely hilarious it is. If you're in New York, you MUST go see this show, which is funnier than "Urinetown," "The Producers," and "Hairspray" combined. If you aren't, buy this cast album to get even just a small idea of the warped and wonderful world of "Avenue Q."

    2-0 out of 5 stars Am I missing something!?
    Its funny how a whole bunch of people can swear by a CD and you buy it with the hopes that it meets or exceeds your high expectations..and then, wham! You play it and your left scratching your head and wondering what on earth all the fuss is about!?
    First off all, the songs are funny...I will give it that. But to me it seems this show actually tries too hard in making you laugh. This CD lacks a solid story, a bit of something to keep you listening. And after ten minutes, my fiance was literally begging me to turn the "sesame-street-gone-wild" CD off. It actually gets quite annoying with songs like "My girlfriend who lives in Canada" and worse yet, "Im not wearing underwear today" (which would be OK, if it werent sung by a cookie monster sound-a-like with a cold, I simply cant get past the awful voice.)
    Of course, with any album, including musical theater, there are great songs that leave you wishing for more...
    I loved "Purpose" and "Mix Tape" and "Everyone's a little bit racist". I suppose you have to take the good with the bad... but Im not sure I will ever listen to this again. Maybe I am missing something...but skip this buy. Borrow it from a friend or something, or if you really want it I'll happily give you mine. (My fiance will be greatful to get it out of the house!)

    5-0 out of 5 stars You'll Laugh, You'll Cry, You'll Be Offended!
    Avenue Q is one of the better shows that is currently running on Broadway. The sleeper hit ended up winning the Tony Award Triple Crown, Best Book, Best Score, and Best Musical! And it won most deservedly! When someone asks what Avenue Q is about, it is hard to describe. I just tell people that they have got to experience it! It is funny, touching, and extremely entertaining. I just love the edgy comedy this show has. No matter who you are, you are bound to be offended by at least some joke in this show, and undoubtedly feel a little guilty for laughing. But the show is so funny, that you are willing to drop that. Avenue Q is great!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Silly, Sophmoric, Incredibly Rude...and I Love Every Note!
    Sometimes good things happen to good people...like when the truly terrific "Avenue Q" won Tony Awards for best musical (surprise!) and best score. And here's the cast album to prove why. I've seen the show twice now and have recommended it to numerous people, all of whom have had a terrific time. The show works better onstage than on this recording (mostly because you can't see the magical work of its puppeteers), but it's still a highly enjoyable way to pass a perfectly un-PC hour or so. Full of catchy tunes with unprintably raunchy lyrics, "Avenue Q" isn't your grandmother's Broadway musical...unless your grandmother happens to be someone like Bette Midler. This is not going to be to everyone's taste, but I find it intelligent and very, very clever stuff. Subversive and rude, "Avenue Q" is the perfect musical for anyone who grew up wondering if Bert and Ernie ever got it on. (And maybe hoping that indeed they did!) ... Read more


    18. The L-Word: Season 2
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00070EBS0
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 487
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    While the soundtrack to the first season of Showtime's lesbian-themed dramatic series set the tone for the show's emotionally-rooted, if ever-eclectic musical sensibility, the choices here often have a more nervy, contemporary edge. Dusty Springfield's ‘60s blue-eyed soul classic "Just a Little Lovin'" offers an alluring lead in, but quickly fast forwards to the Siouxsie-channeling, retro-new wave spunk of Organ's "Brother," the electrobeat sass of "Playgirl" by Ladytron and Martina Topley-Bird's spare, moody "Ilya." Heart makes a similarly intimate contribution via "No Other Love," while Shawn Colvin's familiar "Sunny Came Home" and Iron & Wine's "Naked As We Came" offer islands of relative calm in the midst of more electric fare like the club-punk of LeTigre's "On the Verge" and slinky, post-modern melodrama of "Where Do I Begin" by Shirley Bassey and awayTEAM. BETTY's alt-pop fueled, snark-smart show theme closes the set, and BETTY also collaborates with Pam Grier on a sexually dizzy cover of "Some Kind of Wonderful." --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Call Me Greedy But . . .
    ...I want more! With anywhere from eight to fifteen songs in each episode, the song selection is an embarrassment of riches. I could easily just drown in the new song snippets BETTY does each week, and only two songs by BETTY are represented here on this soundtrack. But look at all the other superb performances, including: Le Tigre, Jane Siberry, Martina Topley-Bird---oh, and Dusty Springfield? (I'm swooning). Great selection! This is a lovely compilation of fifteen of the terrific songs from Season 2, and now I am ready for an entire 10 CD set. Great job producing by ezgirl a/k/a Elizabeth Ziff, and what a nice job she's done on all the musical compositoin this 2nd season. Bravo!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Better than the first season soundtrack!
    This CD was really awesome.It had a better variety of songs than in the first season which was great.I love track number four.-- And to comment on the review made by "jeremy"...if you were so surprised to hear the people singing to say lesbian on the CD then you shouldn't have bought it and they shouldn't be ashamed of themselves for anything, I mean what did you expect when you bought the CD? lol.Anyways you supported them by buying it so I guess no harm done!!....xoxo

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!!
    I watch the L word every Sunday, can't miss it and neither can my friends, not because we're all lesbians, some of us are and some aren't but because the issues they deal with in the showare the same issues that we all deal with in real life. I would even throw men into that mix (see Shane, Bette). It's great that this years soundtrack came out early.We can now wonder what scenes the songs will be in.I love that it features more of a rockergrrl feel yet still has beautiful and heart-wrenching songs like No Other Love and Love Is Everything (I HAVE BEEN FANTASIZING ABOUT WHAT SCENES THESE SONGS WILL BE FEATURED IN) I bet (& hope) these two will be Bette and Tina songs.I also loved last seasons soundtrack and still play it in my car to and from work at least once a day!It's also a GREAT date CD, I think last years was a soundtrack for loving and this one is a soundtrack for _______ ..... well, I'll let you fill that last word in once you get the soundtrack!

    5-0 out of 5 stars VERY nice
    I just love the new soundtrack for the second season of "The L Word". My favorite songs are: "Just a little lovin'" (Bette and Candace in Bed) and "Llya" (Tina gets a Lap Dance - HOT!).
    Oh and the new Opening Theme by Betty is great, too! Love the lyrics from it.
    Every "The L Word" Fan should buy this cd.. btw, nice cover!

    2-0 out of 5 stars No comparison
    I was sadly disappointed with the season 2 soundtrack.I LOVE the show and have out played the season 1 soundtrack over and over again.But I must say that I was not impressed.I pre-ordered the CD knowing that I would love it...unfortunately I didn't. ... Read more


    19. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0006JMLI4
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 131
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Director Wes Anderson's jewel of a comic-character study revolves around the quirks and obsessions of Bill Murray's titular Cousteau-esque deep-sea adventurer and his motley crew of associates. As they did for the director's equally sublime Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson and music super Randall Poster stitch their eclectic source material into a warm, subtly focused new cinemusic whole. Mark Mothersbaugh's original Casio-baroque cues are the perfect complement for Australian film composer Sven Libaek's compelling slices of vintage exotica, while Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie largely provides the musical subtext, either directly or in earnest, through live acoustic renditions by Brazilian troubadour/film costar Seu Jorge. Seasoning the mix to near perfection are smart, vintage Britpop contributions by Scott Walker and the Zombies, Iggy and the Stooges thrashing "Search and Destroy," the evocative Iberian fire of Paco DeLucia, and Joan Baez's dramatic read of Morricone'sSacco & Vanzetti theme, "Here's to You." -- Jerry McCulley ... Read more

    Reviews (37)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Staralfur?
    What an amazing film, soundtrack. Bowie's words move the film from scene to scene through one voice or another. Amazing, truely. As to why the beautiful Icelandic ballad, Staralfur was relieved from being the final track on this masterpiece of a compilation, is beyond my knowledge and reason.Yet, Bowie maintain the true emotion and meaning held so tightly by this film and it's creators.5 stars none the less.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I couldn't help myself
    Wes Anderson is amazing, his films are spectacular and hilarious and beautifull and akward and representing everything that is good in the world.His soundtracks never fail to amaze me in thier ability to weed out wonderfull songs compiled from what sounds like a garage full of cardboard boxes filled with an enormous collection of 60s/70s records, ranging from legendary to obscure, and random mixtapes from friends lying around in his bedroom.The result is a compilation of songs that are sometimes beautifull, sometimes fun, but always quirky and offbeat in arrangement with eachother.And as Wes fans know, quirky and offbeat is Anderson's expertice. I don't think that Sigur Ros' "Stellafurr" would have thrown off the flow of the soundtrack, because Wes' flow isn't suppose to be a steady even beat and "Stellafurr", as beautifull as it is, is fantastically out of tune within the context of the film and soundtrack.The songs always work out in his master plan, perfectly representing the rythm and mood of his films.Mark Mothersbaugh's score is as usual, strange and funny enough to make me grin a little, standing it's ground even without support from the film (although used to a hilarious effect in the overall story) and Wes, never settling for predictable, linked the whole film up in association with David Bowie's music, obviously suggesting it to be the general music of the film by always having a portuguese singer playing Bowie songs in Brazilian in the background for no apparent reason, but doesn't Seu Jorge just make the songs seem new again?He pulls a fast one on you, but you'll love his chilled-out renditions and view Bowie's music through a totally different perspective. If that doesn't prove to the world just how cool Wes is, then I don't know what will.So, in closing, "The Life Aquatic" is a brilliant energetic leap from the mellancolly (but still hilarious) "The Royal Tenenbaums"."Bottle Rocket" was Wes' fast-paced take on summer, "Rushmore" represented the moody shift of light to dark and coping with being pushed into fall, "Royal Tenenbaums", his sad and heartfelt Winter (no seriously, the seasons they take place in even), and "The Life Aquatic" is the redeeming breathe of Spring.I can't wait to see where his new film, "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" will take us next. Of course, Wes can do anything and everything and make it look good.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sensible Music.
    I really enjoyed THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU.As visual-appealing and emotional-moving the film is, one of it's best things about it is the soundtrack.About half the songs on the album are David Bowie songs.Most of those are re-imaginings performed by Brazilian musician, Seu Jorge.Seu Jorge's performances have become the key selling point of this delightful album, but has so much more to offer.As much as I enjoy the Seu Jorge songs, I actually like the instrumental pieces composed by Mark Mothersbaugh better.There's something addicting to the keyboard-filled tunes.In fact, my favorite song on the entire album is the instrumental "Ping Island/Lighting Strike Rescue Op".A close second is the album's closing piece by David Bowie, "Queen Bitch."Add in a tune by Devo, some shark attack music by Sven Libaek, and a famed piece by The Zombies and it adds up to one very quirky and original soundtrack. Overall, this is a delightful soundtrack from an endearing movie that's worth the price to own.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant soundtrack for a Wes Anderson film
    I am totally enchanted by the music in Wes Anderson's films.Somehow, the chosen music is able to elicit such an emotional response.I've never been a fan of Devo, but the song fits the film so well that I've listened to it again and again.Seu Jorge makes David Bowie's somewhat harsh music soothing and soulful.Mothersbaugh's electronic tracks would not have had the same impact had I heard them without seeing the film.My only complaint is the lack of "Space Oddity" and "Ziggy Stardust" from the soundtrack.I really enjoyed Jorge's renditions of those songs in the film, and they were sadly absent from the soundtrack.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Question
    Does anyone know what song was playing at the very end of the movie when Steve has the boy on his shoulders? ... Read more


    20. De-Lovely
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $12.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00023GGHQ
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 126
    Average Customer Review: 3.42 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    At first glance, the approach picked for De-Lovely will be familiar to those who already own Red Hot + Blue: A Tribute to Cole Porter. On both albums, contemporary pop stars cover classics by Porter. But many of the interpretations on Red Hot + Bluewere modernized, whereas the approach on De-Lovely is more traditional---it's the soundtrack to a biopic about Porter, after all, so a classic (though not quite period) sound prevails. What's surprising is how well many of the singers deal with the songs without the crutch of a contemporary pop retooling. Who would have thought that Alanis Morissette had such a natural affinity for "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)," for instance? She fares equally well in her screen cameo, whereas Diana Krall sounds superb on "Just One of Those Things" but looks horribly uncomfortable in the movie. Other good surprises include Robbie Williams's "It's De-Lovely" and Kevin Kline as Porter, coming across as a more-tuneful Rex Harrison. Elvis Costello, meanwhile,confirms he's a better songwriter than singer, and as Linda Porter, Ashley Judd is hesitant at best. In a nice touch, a recording of Cole Porter himself performing "You're the Top" provides the album's coda. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (38)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshing Cole Porter
    The sound track of DE-LOVELY features some of the greatest standards of the American Songbook, sung by such contemporary artists as Alanis Morissette (Let's Do It); Sheryl Crow (Begin the Beguine); Elvis Costello (Let's Misbehave); Diana Krall (Just One of Those Things), and Natalie Cole (Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye). All of the tracks, except Cole Porter singing "You're the Top", are newly recorded for the sound track of this telling of Cole Porter's life story. Kevin Kline, who plays Porter has a couple of well-chosen cuts as well.
    If the film is as good as the recording, this could be one of the better films for adults and show-biz fans for the summer.
    Ashley Judd portrays Porter's wife Linda and she, too, has a few songs.

    3-0 out of 5 stars I'll see the movie anyway.
    I haven't seen the movie yet because musical movies come late to this overrated tinhorn resort town where I live, in the redneck state of Arizona. But I did buy the soundtrack. I am speaking as an old lady who has loved musicals all my life. I remember when Cole Porter's songs were on the Hit Parade (the Top 10 of the '50s). I memorized his lyrics when I was a teenager.
    With the exception of Natalie Cole, my experience with most of these singers is name recognition only (Morissette, Crow, Costello, maybe Williams; I've never heard of Krall, Lemar, or Hucknall).
    Now that I've heard them actually sing, I think they must be rejects from American Idol. Their voices are terrible; they're only reciting the lyrics, not singing them as if they have any idea what the words mean (listen to Frank Sinatra). And now I know why I dislike most of today's popular music: so much of it is in a minor key, like Crow's embarrassing rendition of "Begin the Beguine." Whoever had that idea should have been outvoted. Porter must really be spinning.
    In my opinion, only four tracks did the music justice: "Anything Goes," sung by Caroline O'Connor, who mercifully did not go overboard in suggesting the performance of Ethel Merman; "Love for Sale," beautifully sung by Vivian Green, perhaps the best version of that song I've ever heard; "Be a Clown," sung by Kline, who obviously appreciates that he's playing an intelligent, sophisticated man of the world and one of the finest Broadway and Hollywood composers and lyricists ever; and, of course, "Ev'ry Time We Say Good-bye," sung by Natalie Cole, who learned how to put over a song from one of the best singers: her father, Nat ("King") Cole.
    I'll still go to see the movie, if it ever opens here, but generally I was disappointed with the arrangements and the singers.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Movie: 5, Soundtrack: 2
    Great movie... BUT... hearing ONLY the soundtrack it is a 2... why? Because the music is some of the most melodic and beautiful ever written and several performances are neither authentic of the time, or not sung in a way the beauty of the song can be heard. This music is NOT about the performer... it was about the song! Most of the original recordings which featured a singer did not even have the singers name on the record! That is because the song was beautiful and did NOT need a song "stylist" to make it "all about the singer"!

    Having said that, most of the songs in the film are not bad... and standouts include Natalie Cole and Diana Krall. The sad renditions are worst with Sheryl Crow TRYING to sing "Begin the Beguine" and Elvis Costello who butchers "Let's misbehave."

    Get these tunes on CD from some great people who sang them in the past... like Sinatra, Torme, Clooney, Bennett and Vaughn.

    5-0 out of 5 stars New Life to classic tunes
    With quite a few negative reviews here, I must put a positive hand up for this movie and for its terrific soundtrack.
    Many great songs, in new - sparkling arrangements, sung by todays artists give so much emotion to the movie, setting the scene, and telling the story - musical dialogue in effect... I especially enjoy "Begin the Begine" with Sheryl Crow. The instrumentation includes a Bass Flute which adds a sultry sheen to this moody performance. Cole Porters wonderful songwriting lifts these songs - decades later, for a new audience to appreciate.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Stop
    You just saw the movie, loved it, and now you want to buy the soundtrack? Stop. Instead, buy either "The Very Best of Cole Porter" or "Cole Porter: A Centennial Celebration". Of these two, I would recommend "A Centennial Celebration" first because it contains three original Cole Porter recordings.

    I don't think that there is a perfect Cole Porter collection out there. They all seem to either leave out an important song or they allow someone to butcher one of his songs. However, either one of these is far better than the movie soundtrack which simply strays too far Cole Porter's original work. ... Read more


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