Like William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet before it, Alfonso Cuaron's contemporary update of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations was designed to win a new, younger audience, which means that the soundtrack is filled with alternative and post-alternative groups, since they would theoretically appeal to that audience. Artists like the Verve Pipe, Reef, Poe, Mono, and Fisher provide alt-rock that sits alongside the softer adult alternative of Duncan Sheik and Lauren Christy as well as a pair of oldies from Iggy Pop ("Success") and the Grateful Dead ("Uncle John's Band"). That leaves the four songs that make the record especially interesting: new cuts from Tori Amos, Chris Cornell, Pulp, and Scott Weiland. Amos and Pulp both collaborated with the film's composer, Patrick Doyle, and while Amos' "Siren" sounds a little like traditional film music, Pulp's "Like a Friend" is a terrific, theatrical tour de force with a typically nuanced, vicious Jarvis Cocker performance. "Sunshower" is Cornell's first effort since Soundgarden's breakup, and its layered guitars and subtle melody find him at his best. "Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down" is Weiland's first release since the Stone Temple Pilots imploded, and its carnivalesque, ersatz Tom Waits feel may take some fans by surprise, but it indicates that his forthcoming solo album could be full of delightful, left-of-center pop like this.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine