Baz Luhrmann's 2001 musical for saccharine-loving ATD sufferers certainly has its share of admirers - hell, it even got nominated for Best Picture, proving that you can indeed fool people with a cinematic shell game - and some of those even praised the garish musical collage that represented most of the soundtrack. That gaudy patchwork is what the entire enterprise was built on - and it's the reason why it was so repulsively cringe-inducing for those who love rock & roll, those who love everything from the Stones to the Strokes, plus Elton John; everything the movie claimed to embrace, but didn't. That was the music and aesthetic that pulsed through the first soundtrack for the movie, not the other, more typical movie music that was featured in the film. That's because that first soundtrack was intended to sell the film as a phenomenon - something it did quite well with a trashy, all-star cover of "Lady Marmalade." So, this second one is for songs like "The Pitch (Spectacular Spectacular)," "Come What May" and "Like A Virgin," plus some instrumentals - music that played a big part within the film. Though this still has some of those covers that misunderstood both rock and movie musicals - such as Jim Broadbent's swaggering "Like A Virgin," which, while still embarrassing as an audio-only track, at least doesn't have the horrifying breast-shaped jello to scar impressionable and already-formed minds alike -- but on the whole, this is a better soundtrack because it delivers music that was actually in the movie, while cutting down on those ugly, self-aware pastiches that defenders of the film clutch to their hearts. Which means this is probably the one to hear if you're not a fan of the film (but, really, hopefully you would just turn to the stunning Hedwig & the Angry Inch instead).
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine