Various Artists

Spider-Man 3 [Music From and Inspired By]

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Spider-Man has come a long way in five years. First time around, he was mired in modern-rock murk, following the punk-pop and neo-grunge trends of 2002, but now that he's on his third film, he's chosen to surround himself with the sensitive, mopey neo-indie rock that's in vogue in 2007. That may make him a savvy trend-chaser, yet it doesn't necessarily seem opportunistic -- after all, such flights of contemplation would seem to suit the most introspective of superheroes, especially for a film where the plot involves the rise of his dark side. This may seem to be a good match on paper, but in practice the soundtrack for Spider-Man 3 -- which, as the subtitle makes clear, is "Music from and Inspired by" the three-quel -- feels a little oppressive in its earnest, stylish soul-searching. As an album Spider-Man 3 spends too long wallowing in the darkness or, worse yet, in slow, meandering tunes where there's a lot of immaculate moaning but not a lot of hooks. Of course, there are some songs that break out of the pack (as there should be with any 15-track soundtrack), such as the Killers' desperately anthemic "Move Away," the Stripes/Sabbath beserker freak-out of Wolfmother, Jason Schwartzman's Coconut Records turning in the light breezy "Summer Day," the forced whimsy of the Flaming Lips' "The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How to Be in Love," and, most incongruously, Chubby Checker's "The Twist" plopped into the middle of the disc (surely, it must serve some function in the film). This certainly boasts a higher indie-cred factor than the first Spider-Man soundtrack -- highly touted indie bands like Snow Patrol, Rogue Wave, the Walkmen, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Simon Dawes, and Black Mountain rub shoulders with such fashionista wannabes as the Oohlas -- nor is it nearly as crass as that previous disc, which was filled with Chad Kroeger, Sum 41, Alien Ant Farm, and Injected. But Spider-Man 3 could sure use a dose of bad taste or at least a monster hook or two to make it more fun. As it stands, it feels more like a giveaway sampler at Urban Outfitters than the soundtrack to a summer blockbuster.

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