Original Soundtrack

Wild Wild West [1999 Original Soundtrack]

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It's easy to complain about big-budget soundtracks to big-budget blockbusters, whining that they're as calculated as the film to reach a certain audience. That's always true -- as much as it is true of the film itself -- since whenever there's a lot of money involved, a certain amount of calculation is inevitable. The key is whether the artists behind the expensive machinations have enough charm and showbiz flair to make you forget the calculation and just smile, thrilled that you're being taken for a ride. That's the case with the soundtrack for the Barry Sonnenfeld-directed, Will Smith/Kevin Kline showcase Wild Wild West -- it's shiny and commercial, but it has enough craft and humor to keep it entertaining, even during the slow spots. Like in the film itself, Smith takes the center stage, once again proving that he's an entertainer of enormous charm. His title track -- which shamelessly borrows from Stevie Wonder and Kool Moe Dee (who also is on the cut, along with Dru Hill) -- is giddy, irresistable summer fun that sets the pace for a record that feels breezy even though it clocks in at an hour. Sure, there are some slow moments on the record, but not enough to bog down the momentum set by such highlights as BLACKstreet's seductive "Confused," Enrique Iglesias' appealingly lightweight "Bailamos," Dr. Dre and Eminem's cartoonishly menacing "Bad Guys Always Die," Faith Evans' smooth "Mailman," and Slick Rick's typically stunning "I Sparkle." These may not rank as major moments for any of these artists, but they're all entertaining and elevate Wild Wild West to a fine summer party album.

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