The soundtrack to Richard Linklater's Jack Black-starring film School of Rock more or less lives up to its name, collecting textbook examples of what it means to rock out from some of the bands who wrote that book. The Who's "Substitute," the Doors' "Touch Me," Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," and Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" form a pretty solid curriculum, with T. Rex's "Ballrooms of Mars" and the Ramones' "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)" added on for extra credit. The soundtrack also nods to some newer bands such as the Black Keys, whose "Set You Free" is a fine piece of bluesy garage rock revivalism, as well as the Darkness' proudly glam metal "Growing on Me." Not surprisingly, Black performs on several of the soundtrack's songs, with both the School of Rock band and No Vacancy. Coming up with material for not one but two fictional bands seems to have been a challenge for the soundtrack's songwriters; while Black gives songs like "School of Rock" and "Fight" his all, they don't come close to his work with his own band, Tenacious D. However, School of Rock's cover of AC/DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top" is faithful both to the band's vision -- Black looks and sounds like a plus-size version of Angus Young -- and to the movie's playful spirit. Likewise, the cover of the Stooges' "TV Eye" by Wylde Ratttz -- aka Don Fleming, Thurston Moore, Steve Shelley, Mark Arm, Mike Watt, and Ron Asheton -- which also appeared on the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack, is another affectionate yet creative cover. School of Rock may not be the most visionary of soundtracks, but it is a fun souvenir from a fun movie.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares