Review Summary: the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmanm's Moulin Rouge works very well without the film.
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is to love and be loved in return."
I know... I know. It doesn't get much cheesier than that particular line. But isn't it true? No matter how wealthy or materially consumed we are, the most important things in life are the relationships we've cultivated; the people we've touched and who've touched us in return; and above all things - committing yourself and giving all that you have to one specific person, one person who you thoroughly love to no end. Given that we're the only living animals on earth able to contemplate our mortality, we have the capacity to yearn for and love one another. Stated thus, Moulin Rouge's central thesis is that of love, which is well portrayed throughout both the soundtrack and its 2001 theatrical adaptation (which some people will be surprised to know actually dates back to 1889's cabaret by Joseph Oller). The story tells the emotionally harrowing tale of a young English poet who falls deeply in love with a highly regarded star of the Moulin Rouge, who we later find out is terminally ill.
With those set parameters, the soundtrack conveys a range of emotion from fun, up-beat hits from the likes of Christina Aguilera, to emotionally gripping ballads, such as the lovers duet "Come What May". The album overall is slickly produced and features the talents of the aforementioned Christina Aguilera, as well as David Bowie, Pink, Fatboy Slim, Valeria, Bono, Beck, and more. If you're anything like me, then your initial reaction to seeing a line-up of so many artists who have nothing in common musically or stylistically would be one of skepticism. However, they (mostly) work surprisingly well in conjunction, (mind you, all of these songs - save for "Come What May" - are cover versions).
Now, I may have somewhat falsely lead you to believe that this album specifically adheres to love (and most of it does), but it diverges somewhat as Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya, and Pink present a more provocative take on Patti Labelle's "Lady Marmalade". Unless you've been living under a rock, there's no way you haven't heard this song. It's the one with the flamboyantly sung chorus of 'Giuchie, giuchie, ya ya dada (hey hey hey)'. It's extravagantly lustrous and fun, despite radio stations butchering it by way of continuous plays. Valeria duly adds to this favorable pattern with "Rhythm of the Night", which is incredibly infectious and ambitious. It sounds comfortably familiar, almost like something you'd hear from an artist like Janelle Monae.
A lot of the rest is in stark contrast to these zealous openers and features mostly Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman in uplifting orchestra-backed versions of sappy sentimental classics. Who honestly would have thought that Nicole Kidman had such a mellifluous voice? Or that Ewan McGregor, the Scottish actor we've come to know and love could hit such high notes? Certainly not I. There's something very organic and magical about their performance together; it's anything but contrived, and flows as naturally as a waterfall atop lofty mountains. This is most perceptible in the indomitable "Come What May", which epitomizes their love for each other. This is their most 'complete' sounding duet, as both stars truly take flight and sing along to the melodic music and strings. It slows things down to harken back to the musical's focal point: love, in all its splendor and glory.
The musical is unfortunately not without flaw, and its greatest atrophy lies in its conversion from film to soundtrack. As stated, most artists work well together, but out of context there's a discernible lack of consistency at times. Granted, some songs are pleasurable and enthralling, but imbalanced when played chronologically, rendering certain songs like "Children of Revolution" redundant. The stylistic mingling of Bono, Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer sounds awkwardly misplaced. Somewhat similarly, Beck's indie interpretation of Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" is unsuited for the atmosphere of Moulin Rouge, despite it being emphatically beautiful and undeniably creative. These are small flaws and are admittedly nit-picky of me, but they do exist and to some they will be noticeable. Still, something enchanting has been crafted here. Despite certain aspects being overly cheesy, it's still graceful and exciting. If approached with an open mind, people may find the emotions tangible and take something away from this. Whether it be the delectable pop numbers or the shock of Ewan McGregor as an exceptional baritone, there's something here for most people if they dive into this album with a positive frame of mind.
And there's no mountain too high, no river too wide
Sing out this song and I'll be there by your side
Storm clouds may gather and stars may collide
But I love you until the end of time.
Come what may, come what may
I will love you until my dying day
This review is actually about 800 words, the song listing on the right is just incorrect. The official release only includes the first 15 tracks. I've tried to edit it, but I think it has to be approved by mods first, Idk.
No matter how wealthy we are or materially consumed, the most important things in life are the relationships we've cultivated; the people we've touched and who've touched us in return; and above all things - committing yourself and giving all that you have to one specific person, one person who you thoroughly love to no end.
...I love you Gyro.
Bad jokes aside, this is a good, solid review. I don't know what you were talking about when you said it wouldn't be a good piece of writing - it flows alright, and is vividly descriptive (particularly for someone who hasn't watched the movie OR heard anything beyond "Guichie guichie" or whatever that line is). The only thing I would criticize is that the whole thing feels a bit "forced", particularly in lines like "This is their most 'complete' sounding duet, as both stars truly take flight and sing along to the melodic music and strings. It slows things down to harken back to the musical's focal point: love, in all its splendor and glory", and also "Valeria duly adds to this favorable pattern with "Rhythm of the Night", which is incredibly infectious and ambitious." My guess is that it's the repeated use of adjectives that cause the sentences to pile up a little.
But again, solid effort from you. Keep it up mate.
Nagarok: I'll get around to it eventually (I hope, haha).
Irving: lol, thanks man, I appreciate it. As far as flow goes, I thought it worked well enough and I wanted to be as detailed as possible with this one. I'm actually quite happy with the final result, but I acknowledge your point. I just kind of let all flow out at once onto paper, but I think after this beast I'll try to be more thrown-back and relaxed. Thank you for being thorough.