At the very least, director Baz Luhrmann has created something different here. His modern-day musical weaves new cover versions of songs from the past three decades into one story about a brothel in turn of the century Paris. Its an odd combination to begin with, and the soundtrack itself bounces back and forth between very hip, modern tracks from artists at the top of their game and big Broadway-style ballads from the cast of the film. Some of the most well-respected names in music signed on for the project, including Beck, Bono, Timbaland, and David Bowie. Fatboy Slim created a "Can Can" for the next generation with "Because We Can," and Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Pink, and Mya teamed up for a surefire hit with their naughtier version of Patti Labelle's "Lady Marmalade." In stark contrast to these edgy tracks, the album spends the rest of its time on love songs from Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman. They perform big-voiced, orchestra-backed versions of sentimental favorites like Elton John's "Your Song." The "Elephant Love Medley" strings together some of pop's sappiest hits, including "Up Where We Belong," "One More Night," and "I Will Always Love You." Perhaps to many people's surprise, Kidman and McGregor can really sing, and maybe in a different environment it would be easier to take these songs seriously, but standing here outside the context of the film and next to Beck covering David Bowie, they seem more comic than creative.
Review by Brad Kohlenstein