At its best, Randy Newman's Parenthood score is soothing, unassumingly melodic, and even witty (on "Kevin's Party," for example, he manages to arrange the strings with comic timing). At its worst, though, the music is lightweight, sentimental, a bit too suitable for airplay in elevators. The orchestrations at times have all the emotional resonance of an electronic keyboard. Newman's Oscar-nominated original song, "I Love to See You Smile," sounds rather like all of Newman's other Oscar-nominated songs: it's an agreeably tuneful, playful piano number featuring the author's own eccentric, barely on-key warble. Fans of the song are doubly rewarded for buying the soundtrack: the song appears twice, in identical versions, at the beginning and end of the album.
by Darryl Cater