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VIEW FROM THE TOP: SOUNDTRACK

Review by Brad Green:
Any young lass with a predilection for glamour and romance naturally dreams of becoming a flight attendant. It is surely the perfect job for a girl whose feet are already firmly planted in the air. This soundtrack to an unpretentious comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow as a small-town hopeful whose idea of fulfilment is to get her head in the clouds and her body into a neat, chic stewardesses outfit, is as routine as they come.

We get off the ground with some light rock and chart an unadventurous course through country pop and lite jazz territory, without a moment’s turbulence and absolutely no risk of being hijacked by innovation or even a male vocal. Heavens to Murgatroyd, bit sexist ain’t it? Surely there’s at least one guy wheeling the coffee tray down the fuselage and in need of a theme song. Macho man perhaps.

But no, it’s a lightweight glide all the way through girly head space. A compilation of little paeans to life-shaping ambitions was never going to reach the heights, however hardly any track crashes and for an undemanding listen it’s all rather pleasant. And there is one extraordinary bonus track; but sit tight and we’ll get to that later. 

The opening cut, Suddenly, gets things off to a snappy start. It’s performed by Leanne Rimes who seems to have acquired a one-way ticket out of the country sound that launched her to teenage stardom. This isn’t country crossover it’s pure pop rock, with crisp guitars and the kind of familiar, corporate-central chorus that makes radio programmers want to get down on bended knee and propose a long term relationship.

Jo Dee Messina (is that how you spell Jo-die when pronounced with a slow southern drawl?) certainly is country crossover, which of course is modestly melodic, terribly popular and completely inoffensive. More interesting is a track by “teen sensation” Kaci who sings competently around a cleverly designed arrangement of chintzy pop embellished with random slices of faux funk and faux hip-hop. The lack of authenticity doesn’t undercut the fact that it’s a super cute production.

There’s no less than thirteen different fem vocalists on the soundtrack and what is most notable is that they’ve nearly all got great technique and just as little charisma. You’d be hard pressed to distinguish a bogus note, and almost as hard pressed to distinguish one artist from another. I was happy to hear every one of these songs in full, and just as happy to let most of them fly by forever. However I wouldn’t mind giving another whirl to the strippeed-down jazz with a country twang of Anna Wilson’s Bus Ride and the Platters quality (well almost) vocal work of Sincerely by G.G.. 

At the tail end of proceedings Tamara Walker’s Everywhere I Look, There’s You is subtitled as the title track, and while the tune’s OK, if it’s meant to be a flagship number the lyrics are downright embarrassing: “When I wish upon a star/A pot of gold was never far.”

Finally, there are three “bonus tracks”, including a remix of the Leann Rimes opener that is appalling even by dance remix standards, and Tickle Me by Danielle Spencer which is nothing short of scintillating -- by any standard. Imagine Tori Amos and Kate Bush trying to one-up each other bar by bar and you might have half an inkling. I have previously spied a Spencer solo piano performance and was mightily impressed, but this is something else. In fact this one track of Mrs Russell Crowe’s gives the whole CD new wings, although it’s worth noting that it’s lifted from her own album White Monkey. I don’t know how the rest of that record stacks up, but I intend to find out faster than you can say “30 Odd Foot Of Grunts”. Her husband may be an Oscar-winner and a competent moonlighting muso, but I’ve got a feeling the less famous Crowe has the even greater talent. I’ve also got a feeling that any future little Crowes are going to have not only the name but also the genes to fly far higher than your average flight attendant. 

Published November 27, 2003

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REVIEWS

TITLE: View From The Top
ID: 399700 109870
Mirimax/Curb
ARTISTS: Leann Rimes; Natalie Grant; Jo Dee Messina; Kaci; Sixpence None The Richer; Plumb; Sofia Loell; Tamara Walker; Anna Wilson; G.G.; Katie Cook; 
BONUS TRACKS: Danielle Spencer; Jo Dee Messina; Leann Rimes
TRACKS: 15







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