Valentine’s Day Soundtrack10.02.10 # Soundtrack # 36 Comments
The Valentine’s Day soundtrack. Valentine’s Day is one of those all-star portmanteau affairs – a strain of film-making until recently regarded as the fluff sitting in the cinematic navel, but which now seems to be undergoing a minor revival. Why is that? Because they’re cheap to churn out and make plenty of cash. While it might have barely registered with the frenzied sentinels of geek who maintain such aggressive guard over the internet movie news agenda, last year’s He’s Just Not That Into You (its intersecting relationship-based narratives, big-name cast, and presence of smuggy smug smug smug Bradley Cooper designating it as the obvious precursor to Valentine’s Day) managed to squirrel up nearly as much green at the box-office as the hyped to the seven heavens Watchmen, and on a fraction of the budget too.
With Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride) at the helm, and such 21st century show biz ultra-blandies as Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner and Taylor Lautner in the cast, it is probably safe to assume that Valentine’s Day doesn’t offer a particularly deep, truthful or incisive look at how messy and messed-up affairs of the human heart are in reality. ‘Frothy’ is more the level one imagines that Marshall and his collaborators aspired to, and that’s pretty much where the soundtrack album is pitched too.
To genuinely reflect the Valentine’s Day experience, you feel a record would need to run a full gamut of sonic emotions, from How Soon Is Now? for the tragic no-date wallflowers left weeping into their microwave lasagne, to Bills Bills Bills for the saps left holding the overinflated tab for that 14 Feb dinner, to the Monks’ I Hate You for all those couples who finally make the time to spend an entire evening together, only to come to the realisation that they actually loath every single last atom of one another’s corporeal being. Yes, Valentine’s Day is as much an occasion of pain is it is of pleasure. Just ask any of the Chicago wiseguys given a fatal perforating in the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. Or Saint Valentine himself – beaten, beaten and beaten some more, before having his noggin lopped off. The latter of which might well be judged a lucky escape by those who suffer through the Valentine’s Day soundtrack in its entirety. Because Christ almighty, if it isn’t a honking great load of old monkey nuts.
Putting in a prominent appearance are those kind of nice, squeaky clean, nice, pretty, nice female singers who nicely strum nice acoustic guitars or nicely play a nice piano and nicely trill nice ballads about nice boys being nice to them. And why wouldn’t the nice boys be nice to them? They’re so goddamn nice after all. Jewel turns up, delivering her empty, saccharine brand of country-pop, and the every bit as sappy Diane Birch is present too. Queen Drip in this harem of sogginess though is Taylor Swift, who contributes two slabs of chaste Dawson’s Creek super-crap, Today Was a Fairytale and Jump Then Fall, as well as acting in the movie itself as Taylor Lautner’s abs-stroking, blank-eyed concubine.
If we can muster one scrap of feeble defence in favour of Birch, Jewel and Swift then it is that at least they only butcher their own material, rather turning their evil sights to the hard work of others. Were that only all the culprits, sorry contributors to the Valentine’s Day soundtrack as merciful. Sausilito Foxtrot sick up a version of Buddy Holly’s Everyday that couldn’t be a bigger affront to the jitter-rocking emperor of geek-cool than if the never-heard-of-em pap peddlers had exhumed what remains of his corpse and defecated into his skull. From one pop casualty to a pop casualty in waiting: Sam Cooke’s Cupid is given the Amy Winehouse treatment, now with an added ska-reggae element that is about as welcome as Winehouse herself would be were she to show up on your doorstep at 3am, beehive askew, half-drained bottle of vodka in hand. But whatever we make of Winehouse roughing up Cooke, what you can say about Maroon 5 covering Frank Sinatra? It always seems unfair and petty-minded to wade in Maroon 5 simply because they are so often a lightning rod for snooty jerks who gleefully pick fights with shamefully easy targets, while in the same breath raving about some beardy-weirdy dreck that scored 8.7125789 on Pitchfork. Having said that… Maroon 5 are useless cretins who make records for people who hate music and life and the world, and their take on The Way You Look Tonight is flat, phoney and smells of donkey droppings.
Is there anything remotely generous that one can find to say about the Valentine’s Day soundtrack? Well, Ben E. King and Nat King Cole both chip in, neither with one of their better numbers admittedly, but at least the dudes can sing. Willie Nelson’s lightweight, jazzy On the Street Where You Live is just about okay, albeit with the old boy sounding a bit too close to Kermit’s nephew Robin for comfort. What else? Er, uh, erm, well, Joss Stone might normally be pretty useless but in this appalling company she doesn’t sound so terrible, like Dr. Crippen showing up at a party attended by Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin. Boy-girl duo Steel Magnolia could potentially please those with a hankering for either, or both, of Starship or Michael Bolton. Gossip Girl actress Leighton Meester’s contribution Somebody to Love is not very good, but its electro-pop stylings do at least offer the vaguest of sops to the contemporary musical landscape. And? And?! That’s it. No, perhaps the nicest thing anyone can reasonably say about the Valentine’s Day soundtrack is nothing at all. So let’s do that then.
Valentine’s Day Soundtrack (Songs) (OST) – Track List
1. Today Was a Fairytale – Taylor Swift
2. Say Hey (I Love You) – Michael Franti
3. I’m in the Mood for Love – Jamiriquai
4. On the Street Where You Live – Willie Nelson
5. Everyday – Sausalito Foxtrot
6. Stay Here Forever – Jewel
7. Amor – Ben E. King
8. Cupid – Amy Winehouse
9. The Way You Look Tonight – Maroon 5
10. 4 and 20 – Joss Stone
11. Valentino – Diane Birch
12. Te Quiero Dijiste – Nat King Cole
13. Jump Then Fall – Taylor Swift
14. Shine – Black Gold
15. Keep On Lovin’ You – Steel Magnolia
16. Somebody to Love – Leighton Meester
17. I’m Into Something Good – The Bird and the Bee
18. Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours – Anju Ramapriyam
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