William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet: Music from the Motion Picture
Baz Luhrmann’s sophomore effort, 1996’s Romeo + Juliet, is today perhaps best remembered for spotlighting Leonardo DiCaprio’s pre-Titanic charisma. For a movie that took the world’s best known love story and transferred it to a new era, its soundtrack remains firmly etched in its own time.
The movie very much resembles a music video with its fast-paced editing, and the music choices reflect that style. There are scenes where songs are so prominently featured, it’s as if Luhrmann first picked out a soundscape, and then went on to visualize it. An extra pleasure gained from listening to the soundtrack is the surprising presence of some tracks that were only briefly featured in the movie, such as the aggressive, seductive material of Butthole Surfers.
The film’s score, composed by Nellee Hooper, Craig Armstrong, and Marius De Vries, was completely omitted from the first soundtrack album, though it was later released as a “Volume 2”, along with song scraps that didn’t make the first volume. In the context of the movie, the songs found on the original soundtrack can work the viewer into a frenzy. And on the compilation, they work seamlessly despite the somewhat eclectic selection. The styles range from obscure (Stina Nordenstam) to mainstream (Radiohead), onward to gospel-tinged (Quindon Tarver) and chill-out dance (Gavin Friday). One also can’t leave out the hits the album gave rise to, the best known of course being the bubbly-as-can-be, just-lovelorn enough Lovefool by The Cardigans.
The soundtrack is fully representative of the 90s pop and (especially) rock scene, and as firmly rooted in a past decade as it might be, today it provokes sweet nostalgia rather than embarrassment. It is perhaps best enjoyed when dug out of the record shelf and given a listen with a mind cleared of film connections, for the array of music is truly enjoyable in its ambitiousness.
1. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0X8W6E5xeU” Garbage: #1 Crush
2. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx3jica-A4g“Everclear: Local God
3. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8VPdKEsv1k“Gavin Friday: Angel
4. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIUIr-2yVbw“One Inch Punch: Pretty Piece of Flesh
5. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt-NwAA3Wvo“Des’ree: Kissing You (Love Theme from Romeo + Juliet)
6. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aGWUQ2YiXM“Butthole Surfers: Whatever (I Had a Dream)
7. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj0f6CjWU5k“The Cardigans: Lovefool
8. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2rFb3i9b2Q“Kym Mazelle: Young Hearts Run Free
9. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCoUyKos86I“Quindon Tarver: Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)
10.”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPQnEamB-Zk“Mundy: To You I Bestow
11. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahf5kYuin10“Radiohead: Talk Show Host
12. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQIowXjGGMI“Stina Nordenstam: Little Star
13. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4D5N0vqFXw“The Wannadies: You and Me Song