I found the film "Moulin Rouge!" to be uneven, but ultimately very compelling and enjoyable. One of the best things about the film was its unbelievably diverse and daring musical soundtrack. The soundtrack CD, while incomplete, is superb. It's filled with excitement, palpable emotion, and great vocal and instrumental performances.
David Bowie opens the show on a somber note with "Nature Boy." This leads into the outrageous urban funkiness of "Lady Marmalade," performed with irresistible zest by the multicultural diva quartet of Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya, and Pink. Also fun is Fatboy Slim's hyperactive "Because We Can." Other great selections include the tender, world-weary voice of Rufus Wainwright on the melancholy "Complainte de la Butte," and the freaky, beautiful "Hindi Sad Diamonds" (featuring Alka Yagnik).
But like the film, the CD really depends on the two leads: Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman. They are outstanding. Kidman is fierce and sexy on "Sparkling Diamonds," romantic and authoritative on "One Day I'll Fly Away." McGregor is especially impressive on "Your Song" (featuring Alessandro Safina). Who would have thought that Obi-Wan Kenobi had such a fantastic singing voice? As excellent as Kidman is, I really think it is McGregor who gives both film and soundtrack their heart and soul.
When Kidman and McGregor come together on the "Elephant Love Medley," the most potent magic of the whole CD really becomes evident. This medley of segments from a diverse bunch of songs ("All You Need Is Love," "Don't Leave Me This Way," "Silly Love Songs," "I Will Always Love You," etc., etc.), combined with dialogue, showcases the chemistry these two performers shared. The "Medley" is ultimately a soaring, triumphant, even inspirational tour de force of arrangement and performance.
Yes, I loved the "Moulin Rouge!" soundtrack. I rank it right up there with such classic song soundtracks as "Purple Rain" and "Saturday Night Fever."