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ZOOLANDER: SOUNDTRACK

Supermodels may be anything but average, but they say it’s an accumulation of little bits of average that make them paragons of pulchritude. Average angles, average distance between the eyes—ok, maybe plastic surgeons would encourage a little bit of an above-average boost in some regions—but you get the picture: the picture that most attracts is the image that we know.

Pop music is much the same. Give me the familiar, and I’ll give you a hit. None did it better than Eighties New-Wavers like Wham! and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Familiar melodies, bopping beats and polished production—perfect for radio, or the catwalk.

Here, original cuts from such popsters are joined by the latest in techno-sampling and some seemingly tantalising covers. And I say "seemingly" advisedly. "Don’t judge a book by its cover" probably doesn’t wash to well with glamour pusses of the fashion set, but like most tried and trusted adages it can be extrapolated: "Don’t judge a cover by its CD booklet".

Interpretations of Call Me by the irresistibly funky Nikka Costa, and He Ain’t Heavy . . . He’s My Brother should knock us out like a supermodel’s smile, but they fail to glitter. Both artists are far too talented to deliver mediocre versions, yet they are disappointing. Wainwright’s voice was a standout on the Shrek soundtrack, and even sparkled among the many jewels of Moulin Rouge, but this seems the wrong number for him (great song though it is). The piano chops and harmonies are grand, but he sounds a little whiney carrying the tune.

As for the vanguard stuff: Moby does awful things to Michael Jackson—yes, even worse than Jacko’s plastic surgeon—and you really have to wonder about an era when a DJ who chops up Eddie Van Halen’s incredible Beat It solo and simply washes it with reverb is more venerated than any virtuoso guitarist who can actually play such music. Meanwhile groove merchants The Crystal Method provide plenty of energy, and a typical lack of melody with their electronic beats, and Orgy deliver a super post-grunge/metal track that has the usual lack of subtlety of its genre but is as artful as it gets within the confines of ball-busting aggression.

Further variety includes the opening track of the Wiseguys with Start The Commotion, replete with some rather tasty brass work and flute embellishments; and a very smooth version of Love To Love You Baby by the evermore impressive No Doubt.

So, a bit of a grab bag of musical fashion that is compromised by the failure of its most promising tracks to live up to their potential. I haven’t seen the film but I believe it’s based around a supermodel out to prove that there is more to him than appearances. Unfortunately, in some ways, this soundtrack is just the reverse.
Brad Green

Publication Date: November 1, 2001

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FEATURE

TITLE: Zoolander
ID: FMR

FEATURED ARTISTS: Wiseguys; Frankie Goes To Hollywood; Nikka Costa; No Doubt; Wallflowers; Rufus Wainwright; Wham!; Herbie Hancock; Michael Jackson; BT; Orgy; Freestylers (featuring Navigator); The Crystal Method; Powerman 5000.

TRACKS: 14







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