Various Artists: Music From And Inspired By Spider-Man (2002)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Heroes allow us to model portions of our lives after what we perceive as good. Superheroes go a step further, giving us pause to reflect on the big "what if."
We've grown up with superheroes. They're fantasy, but it's all a part of learning right from wrong. That, we've done since early childhood. Guys like Peter Parker stand up for what's right and do their best to ensure that society's ills never go unchecked.
Simplistic? Sure. The motion picture is intended to direct us: not to serve as an instant remedy.
Starting off with the original television Spider Man theme, the soundtrack-plus album offers music from our generations. "Hero," a mellow, rock waltz, featuring vocalist Josey Scott and multi-instrumentalist Chad Kroeger, can bring out the goosebumps though its genuine message. After all, we have real-life memories to pair with the story's plot every time out. You can't get away from that. Sum 41's rap theme "What We're All About" drives a similar message to the masses. Spider Man is a spokesman for all the people.
The album ends with Aerosmith's powerful version of "Theme from Spider Man." A simple tune, it can be interpreted in many different ways. Aerosmith interprets the intended feeling quite well. In between, the album provides powerful rock music for the boomer generation and beyond. Guitars, drums-on-the-beat, and eerie vocal collaborations provide a soundscape to stir the senses. "I-IV-V" features the vocal harmony and fiery guitars of Injected. Bleu sings softly of "Somebody Else" with monotone guitar harmony, several informed changes, and a drummer's backbeat. Alien Ant Farm piles "Bug Bytes" all together in one big lump. From their concoction, we get a strong feeling from the whole and differentiate very little individual spirit. Similarly, Default, Greenwheel, The Strokes, The Hives and Theory of a Dead Man combine loud guitars with a heartbeat rhythm and emotional, rock-styled singing. Going in the opposite direction, Corey Taylor sings "Bother" with a few acoustic strings and flute in a lovely pastoral setting. Later, Macy Gray sings a light pop anthem about romance, one of the usual subplots in any superhero presentation.
The CD allows one to connect to a Spider Man web page and view streaming versions of music videos, as well as exclusive footage. For a relief from the daily news and most of our other ails, this motion picture and related music, while not jazz, pack a welcome wallop.
Track Listing: Theme from Spider Man; Hero; What We're All About; Learn to Crawl; Somebody Else; Bug Bytes; Blind; Bother; Shelter; When It Started; Hate to say I Told You So; Invisible Man; Undercover; My Nutmeg; I-IV-V; She Was My Girl; Main Titles; Farewell; Theme from Spider Man.
Personnel: Various Artists, including the following bands and artists: Chad Kroeger- vocals, guitars, bass, percussion; Sum 41, Black Lab, Bleu, Alien Ant Farm, Default, Corey Taylor, Greenwheel, The Strokes, The Hives, Theory of a Dead Man, Pete Yorn, Macy Gray, Injected, Jerry Cantrell, Danny Elfman, Aerosmith.
Record Label: Columbia Records
Style: Beyond Jazz