Compilation and Soundtrack (F) reviews

The Flinstones (soundtrack)

This soundtrack has some really funny tunes, including the theme song (performed by the BC-52's, who also do the Bedrock Twitch), Anarchy in Bedrock (by Green Jelly), Hit and Run Holiday (performed by My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult), Rock with the Caveman (Big Audio Dynamite), and the classic Bedrock Anthem (Weird Al, which is a parody of Under the Bridge and Give it Away by Red Hot Chili Peppers).

Fight Prime Time

The title of this compilation is an apt description for the motivation behind this compilation. It's about making a statement without the aid of MTV or commercial radio. I personally think a lot of the problem isn't with the commercial radio or TV networks---it's with the listening public, but I digress.

This compilation has some excellent tracks. A majority of the tracks appealed to me, which is a bit strange given that a majority of the tracks also sound like what's played on the radio today and I happen to dislike a lot of stuff that's on commercial radio. This is not due to overplay, and not due to the fact that it's on "commerical" radio, but simply because I feel a majority of the artists lack creativity and innovation. Yet there must be something in the music on this compilation that's not present in the songs played on commercial radio. I have come to the conclusion that this is good pop music. Although the amount of musical experimentation here is limited in most cases, the songs have a freshness to them that's not there in what's played on the radio.

After about half-a-dozen listens of the CD, I realised that almost every song reminded me of a contemporary artist, and so I decided to write my review describing each song in terms of artists you're already familiar with. I want to emphasise strongly that even though I see similaries, I don't think the songs here are rip-offs. I just find it a lot easier to say what it sounds like then to describe that sound. There is something unique in many of these groups, but it is hard to pinpoint given that there's only a single song by these groups on this compilation.

The musical styles range from Metal to Industrial to Pop. There are tracks which have great commercial potential in today's market. I think some the bands on this compilation have the right sound to become as big as Alanis Morisette or Hootie and the Blowfish, given the current climate and some luck: Piewackit's Edith Keiller sounds like a sophisticated Sheryl Crow with a bit of Tuscadero thrown in and is incredibly catchy. The Darkest of Hillside Thickets' Burrow Your Way to My Heart is fast, tight, and aggressive. Floyd's Ordeal's Rat Race is reminiscent of the Pogues, Black 47, and They Might be Giants. Gate 18's It Don't Matter reminds me of a cross between Melissa Etheridge and 4 Non Blondes. Jester's Crown's After the Rain mixes Progressive and Classic Rock, along the lines Marillion and Genesis, effectively. Richard Tower's Wasted Lives is an haunting track which brought to mind Glass Tiger. Naked Harmony's Planet Earth is grungy pop-punk (can you say Rancid?) that is just the right sound for today's airwaves. Many these tracks are catchy, hummable, and have a nice groove. Those that lack one or more characteristics still possess the sound, I think, to become commercial successes.

Then there are tracks which could be called "commercial radio-unfriendly": Trackstar's Pop Culture Booze brings to mind the poppy side of Beck and Ween. Repulse's Java, with its noisy overtones, reminded me Alice in Chains, although the song structure is more complex than the average Alice in Chains song. JP Gottrock's Bad News has some cool guitar work, but be warned that the vocals are a definite acquired taste. Cute's Honey Cake sounds like a combination of Melt Banana, Sonic Youth, and Shonen Knife. These tracks, were at least for me, a definite acquired taste, but I liked almost all of them.

Some other tracks are catchy and cool, but I think have a difficult chance of achieving commercial success given that the current power-pop (with emphasis on power) trend that has been in the forefront for the last five or so years. Some of these tracks are among my favourites in the album, and with the Moog synthesiser making a comeback, who knows what else is in store. Attila Kovacs' Never Say Forever reminded me of a cross between Julian Lennon, Styx, and Don Henley. The Oracles reminds me of early Madonna and Sabrina, with a tinge of ABBA. Richard Mortimer's track is a ballad titled Joselyn, which has its moments.

A few of the tracks don't fit into any of these categories: John Osebold's guitar work is really cool, and the track Hey, Friend has a great lo-fi feel to it. 162's Sands of Time is one of the tracks I really liked. Great ambient/noisy sound, even if it's somewhat repetitive. Desar's Her Fate is highly reminscent of David Bowie and I get the impression somehow the vocalist is sneering at the audience (à la Billy Idol) as he sings it---pretty cool. Shimmyo's Reflection is probably the favourite track of mine on the album, with some excellent guitar work along the lines of Blue Öyster Cult and Black Sabbath. Toddio's Radio Montage (KKK Bitch) is a song I was already acquainted with and it is an excellent montage indeed!

A lot of the tracks have distinct commercial potential, but may never realise it. Many of them will probably never make it to MTV, your local radio station, or your local record store. This compilation just reaffirms my beliefs from reviewing dozens of demos that there're some excellent musicians out on the Internet today.

Music ram-blings || Ram Samudrala ||