Gustavo Santaolalla

Amores Perros [Original Soundtrack]

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Argentine producer/musician Gustavo Santaolalla has compiled a soundtrack that's almost as groundbreaking as Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's remarkable debut, Amores Perros. The Oscar-nominated film has been compared to the work of Quentin Tarantino, Krzysztof Kieslowski, and Luis Buñuel. Just as Iñárritu, a former DJ, has smoothly woven together three seemingly disparate stories of passion, desperation, violence -- and dogs -- in contemporary Mexico City, Santaolalla has smoothly woven together pop, rap, techno, and other styles of music from an array of international talent (including legendary Cuban vocalist Celia Cruz) into a surprisingly cohesive whole, which, like the movie, is possibly longer than necessary -- but never boring. Most of the selections are performed in Spanish, with the exception of Santaolalla's gentle guitar-based instrumental interludes, British band Hollies' 1971 hit "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)," and Spanish rock group Dover's "Love Is a Bitch" (a loose translation of the film's title). Highlights include Control Machete's funky "Si Señor" and Titán's catchy, Michael Franti-produced "Corazón," with the repeated (Carole King-credited) lyrics "yo te quiero/mi corazón" set to a sample-heavy beat (like Iñárritu, both groups hail from Mexico). Disc one features music from the film, whereas disc two features music inspired by it (and includes a few of the same artists). If the first is more successful, the second works better than the concept might indicate -- most of the pieces specifically refer to dogs, include samples of barking, etc. -- and represents an even wider variety of modern Latin musical styles.

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