This album is not so much a soundtrack to the film Peaceful Warrior, based on Dan Millman's book Way of the Peaceful Warrior, as it is an audio companion. None of Bennett Salvay's score is included, but the disc does contain 14 "uplifting songs," as the press release puts it, among them a new track by David Gray and Yes singer Jon Anderson's "Under the Sun." In between each of the songs is a brief spoken word excerpt from the book read by Millman. These "affirmations" are said to be nuggets of "Eastern wisdom"; Millman himself calls them "fierce wisdom." Less sympathetic listeners might prefer the description "simple-minded claptrap." But then, that's the conundrum of the self-help movement. Any set of positive aphorisms, whether taken from an ages-old religious document or last week's bestseller, may be useful to any given individual, as long as it doesn't lead to fanaticism and suicide bombing. The problem comes when this sort of thing is passed off as "wisdom" even though it barely constitutes common sense. Some may find Millman's pronouncements revelatory; many others are liable to yawn. The songs often reinforce the spoken musings, as when Bird York, in "Had a Dream," sings, "Where logic ends, faith begins." Elsewhere, the performers seem to be illustrating the emotional and spiritual torment Millman's thoughts are meant to alleviate. Certainly, Gray doesn't sound much like a "peaceful warrior" in the downcast "Long Gone Now." Others, such as Kelly Sweet and Michelle Featherstone, settle for being Sarah McLachlan wannabes. There is, thus, only minor relief to be experienced by programming Millman out of the CD player, although that can be accomplished by playing only the even-numbered tracks.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann