Original Soundtrack

Lean on Me

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AllMusic Review by

Though it has a fairly constant musical and lyrical theme running through it, the Lean on Me soundtrack still comes off as a hodgepodge. The slick, synthesizer-heavy version of "Lean on Me" that starts the album verges on treacly, and then gives way to the nihilistic bile of "Welcome to the Jungle," which makes for a jarring transition. Most of the cuts, however, are R&B and hip-hop songs of the era, and some have aged badly as the '80s have faded into history. The album, however, does do the service of unearthing a truly lost classic from the neglected Stetsasonic. "I Ain't Makin' It" is not only the album's best song (apart from "Jungle"), but a groundbreaking rap-rock fusion that arguably beats both the Beastie Boys and Anthrax at their game. Roxanne Shanté's "Skeezer," which does appear on other compilations, is still another classic from the era. The remainder is middling, even the Big Daddy Kane cut, which is a real disappointment since good tracks that match his lyrical talents with good production are hard to find. This isn't it. Nonetheless, even though so much of this soundtrack sounds dated, none of it is truly unlistenable, the presence of "Jungle" and "Skeezer" is always welcome, and the Stetsasonic song is definitely worth seeking out.

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