The soundtrack to the feel-good movie Radio features two very different types of feel-good songs. The album's newer material, like India.Arie's "Eyes of the Heart," tries to make the listener feel good by pouring on the saccharine. Arie gives the song as much dignity as she can, but with lyrics like "In the eyes of a child, we are all the same," it's too gooey to save. Fortunately, most of the soundtrack features music that makes the listener feel good simply because it sounds good. The '70s soul and rock that make up the bulk of the album are so genuinely exuberant that the newer songs sound all the more pitiful. It's hard to deny the power of Stevie Wonder's "We Can Work it Out," the Isley Brothers' "That Lady, Pt. 1," the Spinners' "I'll Be Around," Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "If You Don't Know Me By Now," and even the Doobie Brothers' "China Grove." Al Green's "Sha La La (Make Me Happy)," the Spinners' "The Rubberband Man," and William DeVaughn's "Be Thankful for What You Got" are very nearly as uplifting. Radio also features excerpts of James Horner's score, which, like the rest of the movie's original music, tends toward the treacly. It's well-crafted treacle, though; "Radio's Day" manages to be more heartwarming than sickening, although some cues, such as "Resignation" and "Being Left Behind," are slightly overwrought. Chuck Brodsky's "Radio" closes out the soundtrack, essentially telling the story of the real Radio with less overstated sentiment than the movie itself does. Still, the parts of the soundtrack that work do their job, creating a nostalgic, and genuinely emotional, atmosphere.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares