Volume 95, Issue 64

Friday, January 25, 2002
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Nothing is Blue with these dogs around

Disc of the Week

Under the Volcano lies heavenly sweet treats

Shits and Giggles

Disc of the Week

Various Artists
I Am Sam Original Soundtrack


It's tough to love a soundtrack.

Usually, there's a few big hits, a lot of big misses and, though you may enjoy a few songs from the movie, the experience generally involves a lot of fast-forwarding through tracks.

It's even tougher to love a soundtrack of cover songs, especially when the songs are from possibly the most covered band ever The Beatles.

On the soundtrack for I Am Sam, old Beatles' favourites are reborn thanks to the musical talents of Eddie Vedder, The Black Crowes, Ben Harper, Ben Folds, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan and more.

There's little to complain about on I Am Sam, except perhaps for Nick Cave's rendition of "Let it Be." But, thanks to songs like Ben Harper's melodic, upbeat take on "Strawberry Fields Forever," at least 16 of the 17 songs are great.

It's fascinating to hear Eddie Vedder's near-exact reproduction of "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" and even better to hear great voices like Aimee Man and Michael Penn's innovating and fresh revamp of "Two Of Us."

Songs like Paul Westerberg's "Nowhere Man" barely sound like Beatles' songs, while Sarah McLachlan's "Blackbird" surprisingly does, but these differences in performance are what make the whole 55 minutes worthwhile.

The female artists on I Am Sam keep the disc upbeat and exciting. Heather Nova's "We Can Work It Out" and Sheryl Crow's "Mother Nature's Son" show that Beatles' songs are just as great when sung by women and prove it's too bad there aren't more female vocals on the disc.

By taking on the impeccable compositions of Lennon and McCartney, these artists are inviting criticism, but the broad range of voices and backgrounds brought together are so diverse that all attention is better focused on the unique combination of old and new.

Usually, it's the movie that provokes one to get the soundtrack, but this time, it's the soundtrack that makes I Am Sam worth checking out.

–Molly Duignan

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Copyright The Gazette 2001