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AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER: SOUNDTRACK

Review by Brad Green:
It takes about three beats for Beyonce Knowles to kick my mojo into overdrive. Beyonce Baaaby!… you’re so funky you could have Roger Moore getting down and groovy. And so classy that Austin Powers himself comes off smelling of James Bond suave. 

Goldmember or not, I’m quite surprised Mike Myers’ one-joke creation has demonstrated so much staying power. Certainly worth a chuckle for a flick or two, it’s a bit dubious whether the world is prepared to wear the spy with the mega-kitsch wardrobe indefinitely. But for so long as he fights for world freedom and male chauvinism with such fabulous music in the background, he should be encouraged to keep the double entendres coming until wide collars and mop-tops come back into fashion 

Knowles’ Work It Out opens this CD with the stuttering, staggering riffs and rhythms of superior hip-hop, and overlays them with continuous spurts of vocal dynamite that explode hip-hop’s limitations. 

More squarely in the Austin Power’s time-lock are Earth, Wind and Fire whose classic brand of funk sounds as brilliant as it does dated. Dated? Hmmph. While we mightn’t hear the muted guitar riffs and horn blasts of Shining Star on too many contemporary techno tracks, I’d like to wager my mojo on which music will survive in the long run. 

And it’s artists like Angie Stone, with her mighty range and musical might that keep alive the best of the soul-funk tradition. When she cries “Groove Me” over a pulsing but deftly intricate arrangement, she isn’t so much issuing a command as a self-description. 

The only disappointment here is the remix of the Rolling Stone’s best song, Miss You. Brilliantly straddling the funk-blues line in its original form, it is totally emasculated by a lumbering dance beat that is about as helpful to its purpose as a kick to a shagadelic spy’s crown jewels. 

More welcome is Smash Mouth’s Ain’t No Mystery, which realises the potential evident in some of their other tracks: that the New Millennium might yet offer an alternative sound that marries the grit and grunge of the nineties guitar-wielding bands with the artistry of funk and progressive rock. Britney Spears offers no such vision of course, but there’s no doubt that the girl can sing, and her obligatory dance ditty isn’t humbled among the superior performances. 

Finally, we groove down a gear as Susanna Hoffs gives Austin the Alfie treatment. Hoffs has one of the pop world’s most distinctive voices: girlie and golden, vulnerable and confident, residing somewhere between Shirley Temple and Shirley Bassey; and she does so well here that it is easy to forget that this is tongue in cheek, or at least gold member in corner pocket.

In any case, you don’t need a gold member qualification to get down and groovy to this winning and accessible compilation. A couple of ears will do. 

Published September 19, 2002

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TITLE: Goldmember
ID: 9362488102
Warner
FEATURED ARTISTS: Beyonce Knowles; The Rolling Stones; Britney Spears; Pharrell Williams; Angie Stone; Earth, Wind & Fire; Foxy Cleopatra; Smash Mouth; Soul Hooligan; Diana King; Oakenfold; Dr. Evil; Ming Tea; Susanna Hoffs 
TRACKS: 12







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