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I Like what I hear!
a Magnolia Soundtrack Review
Andrew Goletz

"I'm not even supposed to be here!" The famous quote from Clerks is never more appropriate than it is for me here. Music is not my forte. While I'm open to a variety of genres and there isn't anything I wouldn't listen to, I wouldn't call myself a musical expert by any stretch of the imagination. But when fellow GH staffers dropped the ball and didn't submit any music reviews, I was left with a dilemma: do a review myself of skip music reviews altogether. Obviously I decided to do the review. And since I am no expert, I decided to call this column/review 'I Like What I Hear' because I'm not going to review anything but what I really like and feel no music lover's collection can be without. 

This is also a three part interview, because I can't do anything short or easy. The continuation of this article can be found in the Rants section of this magazine under 'Not All Actors Can Sign, but All Singers Can Act' and to be concluded in a few weeks with the release and review of Magnolia on home video and DVD. Now on with the show.,, 

Every movie becomes better with a great soundtrack. Were Saturday Night Fever, Dirty Dancing or Bodyguard brilliant movies? No. They were average at best, with suburb soundtracks backing them up that elevated each of these movies to an entirely new level. We think we like these movies, but in reality all we really want to do is hear the songs in them again. 

When you take a great movie, like The Graduate and provide them with an equally wonderful soundtrack a perfect mix of film and sound is created. It's happened again with Magnolia and its soundtrack. Magnolia was easily the best film of 1999 and arguably the best film of the decade. The soundtrack is without flaw and it's due in large part to the presence of Aimee Mann, who handles 9 of the 13 tracks on the CD. 

Eight of the songs are originals written by Mann, and the other is a cover of Harry Nilsson's 'One'. Aimee Mann's version of this song is more haunting and soulful than I could ever thing possible after being so familiar with the original version. At least with Mann's interpretation the song sounds like a depressing ballad, the way it was meant to be. 

Each track builds on the other, seemingly telling a story as if they're doing a different interpretation of Magnolia entirely. Aimee Mann deserved her Oscar nomination for Save Me, and it's a travesty that she did not take home the gold. Truth be told, she should have had a few more of her songs nominated along with Save Me. 

It's nearly impossible to pick a favorite or even a couple of favorite from the selections on the soundtrack. Do you go with quirky, faster paced Momentum which builds to a climax like the name of the song implies? The Oscar nominated and only song featured in heavy rotation by MTV, Save Me? Or should we choose Wise Up, a song that was integrated into the movie so seamlessly that for a few minutes Magnolia turns 
into a musical in a wildly unique and believable way? I can listen to all of these songs over and over, and it's my own personal choice for what I like to listen to when I write. But if I had to pick my favorite song on the soundtrack, it would have to be Deathly. 

We're in the process of publishing a comic here at GH and without giving too much away, I've essentially renamed Deathly 'Leigh's Theme' to act as the theme for one of the main characters. This is the song about a woman in love who can't act upon that love and she's acting the person, the object of her affection, to help her in forgetting about him. At least that's my interpretation. The opening lines of this powerful song speak volumes: "Now that I've met you- Would you object to- Never seeing each other again". 

The other selections included on Magnolia are all familiar favorites to most. Goodbye Stranger and the Logical Song by Supertramp (who doesn't love Supertramp) and Dreams by Gabrielle, which like the film itself, lets the listener leave the experience feeling hopeful and optimistic about the future. 

Picking a favorite song from this masterpiece of an album is a subjective decision, but you owe it to yourself to buy the soundtrack and find out what song works best for you. There aren't many times when you're going to be able to buy a CD and find every single track enjoyable so take this opportunity to discover a soundtrack which elevates a brilliant film into a perfect one.

Copyrightę2000 GrayHaven Magazine and contributors