Perhaps appropriately for a film produced by MTV Films, Dead Man on Campus sports a self-consciously hip soundtrack, filled with names and sounds that scream 1998. That is both a blessing and a curse. The Dust Brothers were hired as executive producers, but they weren't responsible for the artist selection. In fact, they had their hands in only a handful of songs. If they had produced more songs, perhaps the soundtrack would be a bit more cohesive -- as it stands, it's fitfully entertaining, with only a handful of cuts being of much interest. There's too much cookie-cutter post-grunge rock, for starters, but even promising tracks, such as the Propellerheads' remix of Soul Coughing's "Super Bon Bon," fall a little flat. In particular, Marilyn Manson's Dust-produced cover of David Bowie's "Golden Years" is an embarrassment -- a pretentious, trip-hop flavored recasting of one of the Thin White Duke's finest moments that is all too predictable and only highlights Brian Warner's inability to sing. Blur's "Cowboy Song" is equally ridiculous, but Damon Albarn's contrived melody, which bounces from baritone to falsetto, becomes addictive in its own artifice. Of special interest to Brit-pop watchers, Elastica returns with "Human," their first new song in four years. It starts out rather familiar, borrowing a riff from Wire's "Low Down," but the Donna Matthews-written tune is darker than anything from their debut -- it's also less tuneful and a little directionless, which unfortunately marks "Human" as a disappointment. Supergrass' re-recording of the B-side "We Still Need More (Than Anyone Can Give)," thowever, is a delight -- their irresistible melodic pop-punk benefits from the Dust Brothers' detailed, layered production. A few cuts are also enjoyable -- Jonathan Fire*Eater's "When the Curtain Calls for You" and Audioweb's "Sleeper" stand out from the pack -- but the entire soundtrack doesn't quite follow through on its promise.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine