June 1999
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Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Maverick/Warner Bros.)

A review by Courtney Knopf

Over the past few years, the soundtrack has been on a steady decline. Mostly throwaway tracks by crappy bands or previously released songs that just form a mishmash and donít seem to have much to do at all with the film theyíre attached to. While the soundtrack to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is no Pulp Fiction or even Singles for that matter, there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel - even if itís the size of a pin prick.

Madonna contributes an original track called "Beautiful Stranger," another collaboration with super-producer William Orbit that combines a touch of 60ís psychedelic rock with her own trademarked blend of 90ís dance pop. The song is fairly catchy, and surely stands to be overplayed by radio by the end of the summer, but better this than a replay of last yearís "I Donít Want to Miss a Thing," right? Plus it seems to be a momentous occasion any time La Ciccone contributes a song to a movie she isnít in.

Another shining moment on the disc is R.E.M.ís unexpected cover of "Dragginí The Line." A sort of dreamy take with multitracked vocals and a synth that sounds like a trumpet. Also standing out is the sublime Burt Bacharach/Elvis Costello collaboration on Bacharachís own "Iíll Never Fall In Love Again." I think as a collective population, we should get down on our knees and thank our lucky stars every day that these two ever decided to work together. And also due credit goes to Mike Myers for helping to resurrect Bacharachís career with the first Austin Powers flick.

The lesser moments on the soundtrack include the painfully overwrought cover of "American Woman" by Lenny Kravitz. Something tells me that this guy needs his ass kicked, and pronto. Also forgettable is Scott Weilandís collaboration with Big Blue Missile (who?) on "Time Of the Season." Yeah Scott, whoís your daddy?

So what have we learned from this? Covers of 60ís pop songs sound not be attempted merely for kitsch value unless Michael Stipe or Burt Bacharach are involved. Trust me on that.

Also popping up is the novelty track "Just the Two Of Us," a parody of the Will Smith song, which finds Dr. Evil rapping about how important his diminutive clone Mini-Me is to him. In the just plain weird category, Melanie G. (AKA Scary Spice) does a more decidedly drum and bass version of Cameoís "Word Up." One has to wonder who told her that was a good idea.

While itís not destined to be a classic, and the remix of Quincy Jonesí "Soul Bossa Nova" is damn near sacrilege, in general itís nice to see that Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me doesnít suffer entirely from soundtrack disease, and at least a few of the tracks have some sort of correlation with the actual film. Yeah, baby.

C+ [78%]

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