De-Lovely Soundtrack, Import
At first glance, the approach picked for De-Lovely will be familiar to those who already own Red Hot + Blue: A Tribute to Cole Porter. On both albums, contemporary pop stars cover classics by Porter. But many of the interpretations on Red Hot + Blue were modernized, whereas the approach on De-Lovely is more traditional---it's the soundtrack to a biopic about Porter, after all, so a classic (though not quite period) sound prevails. What's surprising is how well many of the singers handle the songs without the crutch of a contemporary pop retooling. Who would have thought that Alanis Morissette had such a natural affinity for "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)," for instance? She fares equally well in her screen cameo, whereas Diana Krall sounds superb on "Just One of Those Things" but looks horribly uncomfortable in the film. Other good surprises include Robbie Williams's "It's De-Lovely" and Kevin Kline as Porter, coming across as a more tuneful Rex Harrison. Elvis Costello, meanwhile, confirms he's a better songwriter than singer, and as Linda Porter, Ashley Judd is hesitant at best. In a nice touch, a recording of Cole Porter himself performing "You're the Top" provides the album's coda. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
The album is a mix of contemporary musicians and cast members from the film performing new renditions of classic Cole Porter songs. Despite the modern musical talent, all of the songs retain the style and sound of an era long gone, yet they still seem relevant. At least half of the tracks - especially Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love) (#2), Be A Clown (#5), Night and Day (#6), Anything Goes (#11), and Blow, Gabriel, Blow (#16) - stand out with addicting melodies, appropriate instrumentation, and smooth vocals. The rest are good, but not great, sometimes falling a little flat due to uninspired singing, like True Love (#7) and Love For Sale (#13). Regardless of the musical quality, though, Cole Porter's clever, nuanced lyrics shine in every song, evoking laughter through wordplay and piquing curiosity with numerous cultural references. Undoubtedly, the highlight of this soundtrack is the very last track, You're The Top (#18), performed by Cole Porter himself in a voice that seems to be brimming with mirth.
Before watching De-Lovely, I knew nothing about Cole Porter except his name and his profession. Through the film, I not only discovered that I was already familiar with various versions of Cole Porter songs, but I also became familiar with his distinct style. I am fairly young and not a musician, but I adore the wit and musical talent of Cole Porter that completely outshines the processed and formulaic tunes popular today. For a refreshing change, try the De-Lovely soundtrack.