on January 19, 2004
This soundtrack is a very classy collection of standards, without a single clunker. It also has the added bonus of an outstanding new song. "The Heart Of Every Girl" is one of the most romantic songs ever written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The arrangement, featuring lush strings and brass, perfectly compliments Elton's piano. Elton's voice has deepened with time, and his singing and piano playing have never sounded stronger or more assured.
The musical arrangement and Seal's vocals on the song "Mona Lisa" sound so similar to Nat King Cole's original that its scary. Chris Isaak croons a passionate rendition of "Besame Mucho," making this cheesy standard sound sophisticated. Tori Amos particularly impressed me, turning in two great performances. Her vocals on the ballad "You Belong To Me" are perfectly understated, while she playfully sings the bouncy "Murder He Says." After listening to this soundtrack, I would urge Tori Amos to record a whole album of standards.
on January 4, 2004
What a CD! It's so much better than the movie. You definitely do not have to see "Mona Lisa Smile" to enjoy these covers of '50 songs.
For the movie, a number of contemporary artists covered '50's songs. The beauty of this CD lies in hearing one great interpretation of a classic after another.
Seal covered "Mona Lisa"--at first, you think it is Nat King Cole. Then you hear and appreciate the subtle differences.
Tori Amos (who appeared in the movie) covers both "You Belong To Me" and "Murder He Says." I was humming "Murder" all day. Her voice gets very deep and gravelly.
Celine Dion (whom I normally can't stand) sings "Bewitched." I didn't even recognize her voice when I heard it the first time and I was stunned when I read her name on the jacket. She should do an album dedicated to this era.
Macy Gray covers "Santa Baby." Now there are a lot of versions of "santa baby" out there-hers may not be the best but it is definitely very interesting.
I have only included a sample of the treats in this CD...I know it sounds cliche but if you only buy one CD (this week, this year etc) then make it this one.
on December 8, 2003
A gorgeous, sweeping cd to complete a poignant film, I adore this soundtrack.
1. Seal's rendition of "Mona Lisa" is oddly reminiscent of Nat King Cole, as one reviewer noted, and is a terrific opener for the CD. After hearing it, you anticipate the CD being as great as the opener. And it is.
2. Tori Amos has covered "You Belong to Me" with a wonderful result. The introduction of the song with its chorus of "ba das" is fabulous, and Amos purrs the lyrics without hesitation, sounding every bit the classic 50's crooner, and leaving you wanting to hit 'repeat'.
3. Celine Dion covers' Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered' with a voice smooth as silk and sings with such emotion as the music swells that I'm lead to think that it's not Celine, but rather a singer from long ago.
4. Elton John's new song "The Heart of Every Girl" is a bouncy, jazzy tune that has sweet lyrics and a great rhythm.
5. Usually I can't stand the raspy voice of Macy Gracy but her 'Santa Baby' has grown on me. I particulary enjoy the opening chorus with it's "ba boom" throughout the whole song.
6. Tori Amos' "Murder Baby" is catchy song with clever lyrics and a range of vocals. Amos pulls it off without pause, switching from a slow ballad to a beat-ridden song with wonderful accompaniment.
7. My favorite song by Chris Issak is "Wicked Game" and Issak brings the same raw sexiness in his voice to "Besume Mucho" and leads you wanting more.
8. Mandy Moore performs a soaring and sweet cover of Doris Day's "Secret Love" with a wholesomeness like that of Day herself.
9. Perhaps my favorite track, Alison Krauss sings Irving Berlin's "What'll I Do?" with a sadness in her voice and brings forth a breathtaking ballad.
10-11. The Trevor Horn Orchestra's "Isanbul" is a great new arrangement of the song, with the same chorus as the other tracks. And a lovely female voice sings "Sh Boom ( Life Could Be a Dream )" along with the orchestra in track 11, a fitting tribute to the tone of the film, particulary the dancing scenes.
12. Kelly Rowland, of Destiny's Child fame, strikes out on her own with "I'm Beginning to See the Light" a jazzy, upbeat melody that is is perfected by her soft voice not interrupting into high volumes, but rather staying the sweet lilty voice throughout the whole song.
15. Rachel Portman of "Legend of Bagger Vance" among others, has composed a haunting suite to this film that only reverberates the time and characters of the film.
on December 3, 2003
When I first heard this in the bookstore where I work, I didn't know that Seal was the person singing the first track on the album, "Mona Lisa." I thought it was Nat King Cole because, as an act of impression or as a tribute, Seal's voice is amazingly like Cole's on the track.
Looking at the rest of the album and seeing that it allowed several modern musicians an opportunity to channel singers from the 1950's, I was impressed at how dead-on a lot of the songs were.
Tori Amos' "Murder, He Says," originally performed by Betty Hutton in one of the old MGM musicals, is an amusing, catchy tune. Celine Dion manages, with "Bewitched," to remind me of how talented she is - though her solo albums are frequently overproduced, tacky and annoying. Kelly Rowland and Mandy Moore offer up stunning, period-evoking covers of "I'm Beginning to See the Light" and "Secret Love," respectively. Chris Isaak's "Besame Mucho" is lush and romantic. And Macy Gray's "Santa Baby" catches the right mood, echoing sensuality and good humor.
I've recommended this to all sorts of people. With the flux of swing-revival albums coming out lately, from Rod Stewart's to Cyndi Lauper's, the soundtrack to "Mona Lisa Smile" deserves special attention. It's spectacular.
on November 28, 2003
The "Mona Lisa Smile" soundtrack is really an
amazing achievement for its producer, Trevor Horn.
Although it features contemporary artists (with
the possible exception of Barbra Streisand, whose
career began in the 60s), it sounds for all the
world like a long-lost tape of a Top 40 radio show
recorded off the air one day in 1953.
This is American pop music as it was just before
rock-and-roll began its takeover of the Top 40
charts. In other words, it is
traditional "classic pop" with big-band
arrangements, including the usual string and
woodwind accompaniment. But the version of "Sh-Boom"
by the Trevor Horn orchestra is an augury of things
to come. Although done in a period style, it's still
an uptempo doo-wop song, with a (subdued)
rock-and-roll beat and a bouncy, danceable rhythm.
It is gratifying to find out that there are at
least a handful of contemporary pop stars (in this
era of widespread lip-synching) who actually have
vocal talent and can conform perfectly to the style of
the "classic pop" era. Contrary to my initial
expectations, none of them over-sing or try to show
off at all. Even the often-histrionic Celine Dion
just sings straight-ahead melody (to put it another
way, sings it the way it was written) on her faithful
rendition of Rodgers & Hart's "Bewitched, Bothered &
Bewildered"! Among the other performances, the
combination of the purity and clarity of Mandy Moore's
voice with the haunting, soaring melody of "Secret Love" is certainly one of the highlights. And I would add that Alison Krauss' angelic voice makes her version of Irving Berlin's
"What'll I Do" one of the most memorable on the
album as well.
But on the other hand, it makes me a bit sad to
realize how far downhill American pop songwriting
has gone in the past half-century. It just seems that
the vast majority of the songs on the radio today
simply aren't in the same league as the Duke
Ellington, Rodgers & Hart, and Irving Berlin
compositions on this CD. (To be fair, there is also a
new song by Elton John, "The Heart Of Every Girl",
which I do like.) As Moore said in a recent interview
with the Associated Press, "there's a lot of crap out
there - and I was part of it." I honestly don't think
I've ever been more in agreement with the words of a
19-year-old pop star!
on April 12, 2004
I just recieved this cd for my birthday yesterday, and have listened to it 4 times since.
THe songs are fun, great remakes with popular pop singers doing them. This is a great cd for anytime. From
Istanbul Constantinople with it's bouncy saxaphones and dizzying lyrics.
To Murder he says, this sounds weird at first taste, but listen to it, and you'll find quirky lyrics with a twist. A delightful song.
To even The Heart of Every girl, mind you I dont usually like Elton John, but he did a great job with this remake.
Kelly Rowland does an excellent job with this remake, You would never know. It's wonderful
THen Lisa Stanfield does a wonderfully sexy version of Sinatra's I've got the world on a string. Her voice just extenuates the positives of this song.
There are just too many songs on this cd that I like,Well you get the point. Get the cd you wont' regret it.
on June 1, 2004
I have not heard this soundtrack aside from the bits and clips from the movie but I do STRONGLY remembering Les Paul and Mary Ford's "How High the Moon" a CLASSIC song from the 50's which was not even featured on the soundtrack!
How can an entire song be played through a portion of the movie and not make the cut for the soundtrack?
I am a little disappointed as I grew up listening to Les and Mary and have always been a big fan! I recommend getting one of their greatest hits albums for the best and most memorable of their tunes.
I don't beleive I will be buying this soundtrack because of the lack of this and a few other songs I felt were rather important to the mood and setting of the film on top of the fact that they were the few I actually REMEMBER from the film.
on December 24, 2003
As a young woman born in the late 1970s, I can still find the beauty in this soundtrack, which contains various songs from the 1940s and 1950s performed by modern artists. All of the artists gathered for this CD seem to be channeling their musical counterparts from several decades back. All of the songs come together beautifully on this record; it has not left my CD player since I purchased it.
Highlights from this CD are: Seal's "Mona Lisa," in which his smooth crooning is comparable to Nat King Cole's; Tori Amos, who alters her voice in both songs she performs to sound just like she stepped out of the 1950s era (side note - she appears in the movie); and Elton John, Mandy Moore, Alison Kraus (always welcome), and Kelly Rowland all give wonderful performances.
on January 7, 2004
I was actually pleasantly surprised by this soundtrack.
At first glance, the unusual suspects on the this soundtrack singing these classics may turn some people off. For instance, pop artistes such as Macy Gray, Mandy Moore and Celine Dion.
However, once you start listening, the magic of this recording unfolds. Most impressive was Mandy Moore's Secret Love. I'm not a great fan of teen pop but I was certainly very impressed by her rendition of this song - gentle, even and comes across as musical-esque.
The rest of the soundtrack is equally amazing. Celine Dion's Bewitched was flawless and Seal's Mona Lisa had a really nice 50s jazzy tone to it.
It's a pity though that some of the songs in the movie were left out in this soundtrack.
Take care of you
on April 17, 2004
This cd is extremely soothing and it flows nicely from one song to another. My favorites are The Heart Of Every Girl by Elton John, Bewitched Bothered And Bewildered by Celine Dion, and Secret Love by Mandy Moore. Tori Amos's songs are okay on this album, but her voice is sort of high - pitched and noisy that it gets on my nerves. The Heart Of Every Girl is upbeat, fun to dance to and has a somewhat jazzy feel to it. The songs by Celine Dion and Mandy Moore are so comforting and relaxing. Istanbol (Not Constantinople) by The Trevor Horn Orchestra is another fun one. I'd recommend this cd. It's relaxing, soothing, and has a jazzy feel to it.