>> Fame (Soundtrack) (2009)

Artist: Soundtrack

Album: Fame

Members: Anjulie, Sam Sparro, Naturi Naughton, Asher Book, Collins Pennie, Megan Mullally, Raney Shockne, Santigold

Genre: Soundtrack/Theater

Label: Lakeshore Records

Tracks: 19

Release Date: August 25, 2009

Discs: 1

Rating: 1.89 (out of 4.00)

Grade: C-

Official Site

Another day, another remake of something from the 1980s in an apparent conspiracy to make me feel old.  An updated version of the 1980 film Fame is being released on September 25, and the soundtrack has hit stores.  It is R&B and production heavy and surprisingly light on energy and fun.  The original film and its soundtrack captured both the early 1980s and the raw energy of young artists who desperately wanted to be stars, but this soundtrack doesn’t cover enough musical styles to capture our time and most tracks are too slick to have you rooting for struggling performers.

The title theme has been reworked and while Naturi Naughton’s vocals are fine, the song has lost its punch and has been overproduced to the point of being Britneyfied.  Naughton also sings the other 1980 Fame holdover, “Out Here on My Own,” and this time the minimal production gives her lovely voice a chance to shine.  Unfortunately, Naughton’s two songs with Collins Pennie (“Can’t Hide from love” and “Get on the Floor”) are heavily-produced generic hip-hop numbers and her vocals get lost again.  We get more forgettable hip-hop from the Switch and Sinden remix of Santigold’s “You’ll Find a Way” and Sam Sparro’s “Black Gold.”

Asher Book gets to show off his smooth, melodic vocals in three ballads.  “Ordinary People” is the standout, and while all three are nice enough songs, I wish he had been allowed to stretch his talents with some variety.  Megan Mullally sounds terrific in the powerhouse “You Took Advantage of Me,” but the show tune sounded out of place on this album.  I’m sure it makes sense in the context of the film, but here it felt dropped in.  That said, it is one of the best songs on the CD, and I also enjoyed another seemingly random song in a great take on “I Put a Spell on You” by Raney Shockne featuring Eddie Wakes.

While I don’t love any of the songs on this album, they're mostly okay, just generic and/or overly slick.  The final track, “Hold Your Dream,” though, is just plain bad.  The lyrics are trite, the music sounds like a karaoke version of a random Broadway musical combined with gospel, and Naughton, Booke, and Kay Panabaker don’t mesh very well together.  It's not a good note to end on.

The original Fame was such fun to watch and I wore out my copy of the soundtrack as I danced around and sang into my hairbrush.  Obviously I’m much older now, but I’m not getting the same kind of vibe from this disc. There are no instant classic songs, the theme has been watered down, and it sounds less like a movie soundtrack than a hip-hop/R&B compilation using any number of current artists.  Most of all, I wish this passionless disc packed more of an energetic punch because there is nothing here to make you want to dance. If this unoriginal and ultimately forgettable soundtrack is any indication, the Fame remake will be yet another film to not do justice to its predecessor.  


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