Shrek Soundtrack Various Artists * * (two stars)
DreamWorks has a long way to go before it can catch Disney. The studio, which Jeffrey Katzenberg spun off after being dissatisfied with the family entertainment mogul, recently released the animated feature Shrek to rave reviews and a number-one opening weekend at the box office.
The soundtrack, however, leaves much to be desired. While Disney cartoon soundtracks usually provide collaborations with major artists and catchy songs from the film itself, the best that Shrek can muster is the Baha Men (Who, thankfully, are not asking the identity of the men responsible for releasing the dogs).
There are two standout songs on the album. Smash Mouth covers The Monkees "I'm a Believer", adding a horn section to the song and crafting a decent track. Also covered is Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", for which Rufus Wainwright crafts a beautiful four-minute piano ballad -- by far the album's best track.
The rest of soundtrack is a hodgepodge of artists signed to the Universal label, which released the album. The album seems to be more of a shill for Universal artists than any coherent music from the film.
While this may be good marketing, it does not make for a good soundtrack.
All of the predictable radio-friendly pop is here. Leslie Carter, sister of Backstreet Boy Nick, sings "Like Wow", which features such poetic lines as "When you're standing next to me, It's like wow!" What is scarier is that line is actually in iambic pentameter. Then there is Dana Glover, who sings "It Is You (I Have Loved)" overlaying what seems to be music taken from a Nintendo game circa 1987.
As bad as the album is, it could have been much worse. The album closes with a reprise of "I'm A Believer" sung by Eddie Murphy. Thankfully for the listener, that painful song has one good attribute: It only lasts for one minute, 12 seconds.