CBS-TV's crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was the top-rated network television series in the U.S. in the fall of 2002, when this soundtrack album was released. At least a part of that success could be attributed to the music used on the show, which is featured here, starting with the theme song, the censored single edit of the Who's 1978 Top 20 hit "Who Are You," on which one of the few curse words that still cannot be uttered on network television is replaced by one that can, resulting in the taunt "Who the hell are you?" instead of the more obscene version heard on the band's Who Are You album, which frequently slips by on classic rock radio. The Wallflowers single "Everybody Out of the Water (New Frontier)" is also featured, available six weeks before its release on that band's album Red Letter Days, and proves to be a typical effort from them. Following that introduction, the various-artists album is filled with electronic dance-rock music by the likes of New Order, Hooverphonic, and Bliss, useful no doubt in both action sequences and moodier moments on the show. The sequencing causes the music to get softer and more dominated by instrumentals as it goes along, ending in two excerpts from composer John M. Keane's actual soundtrack cues for the show, "Investigation Suite" and "Grissom's Overture." To those who have something else to do at nine p.m. on Thursday nights, the result may seem like a miscellany, but fans of the show are bound to recognize tunes associated with favorite episodes, which is what a TV soundtrack album is all about.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann