Rather than just slapping together some pre-existing, heartwarming tunes, the soundtrack to the songwriters-in-love rom-com Music and Lyrics features custom-written songs that lovingly send up the sounds of '80s and 2000s pop. In fact, pop is so important to Music and Lyrics that "Pop!" is the name of the '80s group that Hugh Grant's character is a former member of, and Pop!'s sound is a fusion of New Romantics like ABC and Spandau Ballet mixed with a healthy dose of Wham!'s giddy but more mainstream new wave. On "Pop! Goes My Heart," Grant's voice bears an uncanny resemblance to ABC's suave frontman, Martin Fry. Meanwhile, "Meaningless Kiss" -- which was penned by Fountains of Wayne's chameleon-like songwriter, Adam Schlesigner -- is a terrific send-up of Wham!'s "Careless Whisper" that works because it gets all of the nuances right instead of going for obvious parody. Schlesinger also penned the soundtrack's main love song "Way Back into Love," which sounds especially charming in the demo duet between Grant and Drew Barrymore. Music and Lyrics also takes affectionate aim at the sound of 2000s pop with two Britney Spears-esque songs: with its twangy guitars and Middle Eastern-inspired melody, "Buddha's Delight" plays like a more demure version of "Toxic," while "Slam" nods to the Neptunes' slinky, percussive production on "I'm a Slave 4 U." Even with the inclusion of two songs that weren't created for the movie (the Sounds' "Tony the Beat" and Teddybears' "Different Sound"), Music and Lyrics feels more like the soundtrack from a musical than a romantic comedy, and only a few of the songs ("Bootytown," "Don't Write Me Off") feel like obvious parodies -- these are the best compliments that you can pay to this kind of project.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares