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Forget the homework and the parents, the only thing that matters is the freedom of a convertible, the roar of the highway and the radio up LOUD. Because John Stockwell’s film is a concentrated character study of its key players, it uses a savvy device to avoid tedious construction of its late-teens milieu. Between dramatic scenes the young lovers and friends are in video-clip-style transit: driving fast, making out on the back seat and always propelled by a high energy soundtrack.

It doesn’t matter that one is a rebel and one as straight as a flagpole, we get swept up in every young adult’s first taste of transient freedom: moments of escapism that become treasured—in different guises—for a lifetime.

Now, the need for big speed and big beats does not ensure good taste. Quite often the opposite in fact. Yet, here, the melting pot of edgy, alternative, contemporary styles not only runs the spectrum from Spanish rap and Latin hip-hop to urban rock, but boasts some fine songs; as well as cross-cultural significance.

Seven Mary Three’s Wait, the soundtrack’s first single, is an easy radio number. Its wash of clean, reverberant guitars and pensive vocal doesn’t exactly add up to U3 but it’s a good example of the broad influence of that Edge/Bono sound on pop at large.

Although there aren’t any spectacular flamenco or Latin-jazz moments on the Spanish tracks, some smooth Spanish guitar passages provide them with a solid foundation. And the featured song Siempre (Every Time) by La Ley appears in both Spanish and English versions.

The mainstream centre of the soundtrack is best identified by Maren Ord’s Perfect. It lives up to its name in a pure pop context, with solid acoustic guitars, strong vocals and a catchy chorus—always infallible ingredients for an aural confection.

A harder edge is added by some guitar rock from Fastball, and an ambitious amalgam of rap-metal and funk by The Pimps. More aggressive still, but far less successful, is the album’s lowest point and highest voltage track: Osker’s Alright. It starts with a power chord that could be hark back to The Who, but takes only a couple of bars to descend into the sort of thrash-trash that can only be defined as: Why?

The Dandy Warhol’s Sleep nestles a pop-lullaby of a melody on a cosy bed of guitar arpeggios. It is a gentle and unpretentious track that lifts some weight from the fierce rhythms of its neighbours. As does Lori Carson and Paul Haslinger’s dreamlike I Want To Believe In You, and the leisurely funky She Gave Me Love by The Getaway People.

So there’s nothing extraordinary on this CD, but considering the diversity, it’s commendably consistent. Recommended for the sane, crazy, ugly and beautiful people who have youthful ears, and powerful car stereos.
Brad Green

Published November 15, 2001

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ARTISTS: Mellow Man Ace; Lily Frost; Emiliana Torrini; Seven Mary Three; La Ley; Serraide; Remy Zero; Delinquent Habits (featuring Michelle); Fastball; The Pimps; Osker; The Dandy Warhols; The Getaway People; Lori Carson & Paul Haslinger; Maren Ord


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