ONE WAY Recommends [Issue
Original Sound Track Various Artists
Why should I be
recommending an album of Cole Porter songs in a pop music publication? Im
recommending it not just because it features a bevy of contemporary artists,
but because these songs remind us of what a debt popular music owes to Cole
Porter. Combining a classicists skill for complex yet memorable melodies
with modern, even hip, lyrics, Porter wrote songs that have appealed to pop
artists from the Four Seasons to Pete Townshend to U2. De-Lovelys soundtrack
presents not rocked-up interpretations of Cole Porter, but faithful-to-the-period
renditions by popular singers who appear in the movie tricked out in 1920s-30s
outfits. Mick Hucknall of Simply Red even gets to play and sing the role of
Nelson Eddy, MGMs musical star. Fortunately, Hucknalls sweet high
voice is easier to take than Eddys. Unfortunately, he gets to sing one
of the least inspired Porter tunes, I Love You, written to prove
to Louis B. Mayer that Cole could write conventional love lyrics.
But wilder, wittier, Porter classics are performed with panache by singers you
might not expect to hear them from. Elvis Costello doing a cheerful Lets
Misbehave is an obvious choice, but get ready for Sheryl Crow abandoning
her usual squeakiness for a pure, bluesy performance of Begin the Beguine.
Alanis Morissette is in a happier mode than usual with Lets Do it,
Robbie Williams for once concedes his penchant for notoriety with an authentic
20s crooners rendition of the title song, and Diana Krall does a
smooth Just One of Those Things. A special shout-out here goes to
newer Columbia artist Vivian Green, whose moody take on Love For Sale,
is the albums high point. Kevin Kline, who plays Cole Porter, gets into
the spirit with the energetic Be A Clown and an assist to John Barrowman
on the admittedly difficult-to-sing Night and Day.
De-Lovely will be enjoyed by those who may have been put off by the 1989 rock
star Cole Porter tribute, Red Hot and Blue. For those who dont
know his work, this will be a delightful, de-lovely introduction.