65 of 69 people found the following review helpful
One of the more interesting aspects of the "De-Lovely," the musical biography of Cole Porter, is that despite the appearance of major recording stars such as Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morissette to sing the songs it is the songs that you remember much more than the singers. This soundtrack collection does a nice job of presenting pretty much everything we heard in Irwin Winkler's 2004 film and if nothing here is a definitive version of a classic Cole Porter tune, then that is okay because the idea here is to introduce a new generation of fans to those songs while the rest of us take a nice musical walk down memory lane.
My favorite track is when Kline's Porter instructs John Barrowman's character on how to sing "Night and Day." My only serious complaint about the movie is that Kline really has to restrain his performances so that they are more in keeping with Porter's own singing abilities (which are amply demonstrated on the final track, "You're the Top"). If somebody wanted to let Kline record a collection of Cole Porter songs that would sound good to me; with Porter's witty lyrics having a performer who brings the sensibilities of an actor more than those of a singer, that would make sense to me. In a similar vein, I like Ashley Judd's sweet little duet with Tayler Hamilton on "True Love," so do not be surprised if you like the actors more than the singers on this one.
The spirited renditions of "Anyting Goes," "Be a Clown" and "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" by the cast lose a little something reduced to just the audio dimension, but that is standard with any good production number from a movie. Elvis Costello's "Let's Misbehave" is okay, and the same is true for Crow's "Begin the Beguine" and Morissette's "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)." I kept waiting for one of the big names on the album to really blow me away with one of these songs, and it just never happened. Robbie Williams doing the title track is pretty good, as is Natalie Cole on "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye," and I like Diana Krall's "It Was Just One of Those Things" more each time I hear it. But if after listening to the soundtrack for "De-Lovely" I am compelled to check out more recordings of Cole Porter tunes, I know I am not going to be alone. Fortunately, I know of a couple of definite directions in which to go (think Bobby Short).
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
This original motion picture soundtrack "De-Lovely" is a proof that Cole Porter's music means forever. The staying power of his music is simply amazing -- charming and timeless songs with wonderful melodies that will stay on in the hearts of musicians, performers, artists, music lovers and listeners through the years. Although his life was truly a musical drama and the later years were tragic after one of his legs was amputated, Porter will always be remembered as one of the most brilliant composers America ever produced.
This one gem of a CD covers some of the most loved compositions of Porter. I enjoyed the movie, which showcased Kevin Kline's versatility in being a very good actor, singer and dancer. He portrayed the role effortlessly. Likewise with Ashley Judd, she's not only a fabulous actress but she can sing too, in "True Love," a duet with Tayler Hamilton and "In The Still Of The Night" with Kevin Kline.
One of the best tracks is Diana Krall's jazzy and superb rendition of "Just One Of Those Things" which I enjoyed listening with a few repeats. I also enjoyed listening to Sheryl Crow's version of "Begin The Beguine" which she delivers splendidly with a Bossa Nova touch. It's another track that deserves a few repeats.
In "Night And Day," Kevin is coaching John Borrowman..."you can sing this...just don't think about the melody...just think about the words...just sing it with me...like the beat beat beat of the tom-tom...night and day...try E flat...day and night why is it so?"
Not to forget Natalie Cole's contribution to this soundtrack, she deserves an applaud for her lovely rendition of "Every Time We Say Goodbye." The most moving track is the romantic rendition of "In The Still Of The Night" with Kevin playing the piano and Ashley joining him in singing this all-time classic. Porter performs in the finale "You're The Top."
Although some of the tracks are somewhat obscure, at least the above-mentioned tracks are worth listening to, and still deserve my recommendation. It will be a lovely addition to your collection of original motion picture soundtracks.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2004
The idea behind the soundtrack for De-Lovely (Sony) is to have contemporary pop artists offer new interpretations, following a traditional path, of Cole Porter classics, and to have a majority of these artists be composers themselves. The film De-Lovely deals with the life of the man behind many of the 20th century's great classic standards, and it is wholly fitting that song writers and performers in their own right tackle material that was written both from the heart and from the life of a man who lived the very ideas of the material.
Already familiar with mining the beauty of the standard, Diana Krall stands out superbly on a fast-paced and jazzy rendition of "Just One of Those Things." It's really hard to compete with the Ella Fitzgerald version of "Begin the Beguine," and so Sheryl Crow makes a smart move reinterpreting this classic and some of Porter's best lyrics as a sultry rumba. Alanis Morissette is surprisingly deft in her cover of "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)," showcasing her ability to perform varied material outside of her personal image.
Kevin Kline betrays his own wonderful singing voice by trying to copy the style of Cole Porter too closely. The song tracks lifted from the film with Kline or Ashley Judd carrying a song play as imminently forgettable, though the understanding of emotion conveyed in "Night and Day" as performed by John Barrowman and Kevin Kline is right in line with interpretation of lyrics and what songwriting is really about. Robbie William's does an admirable job carrying the film's glorious title song "It's De-Lovely," sounding quite convincingly like he belongs on Broadway. One of the best pieces on the CD is performed by newcomer, Lemar, in a stirring rendition of "What is This Thing Called Love?" Lemar's buttery voice is going to be something to watch. Elvis Costello performs "Let's Misbehave" with all of the exuberance implied by the lyrics, but his voice has never been about melodic sounds as much as about emotion, a trait he shares with Porter. Cole Porter, like a spectral visitor overseeing a project, is allowed to close the album with a scratchy old recording of "You're The Top," offering a last glimpse at the subject of the work. The soundtrack, along with the film might not come right out and say something specific about the connection between the substance of an artist's work and who they are themselves, but it certainly implies it.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2004
Isn't it a small miracle that this CD is selling so well--and we are having a great debate on it?
Everyone should be warned that the CD is not really the soundtrack. In fact, it's a bit of a cheat, with studio versions used instead of the film versions. The marvelous opening chorus number (What an elegant party this is...don't know real title) is inexplicably missing. Elvis Costello's dull "Let's Misbehave" is not the one used in the film, nor is "Be A Clown" (it's OK, but missing L.B. Mayer's "quack"!) Finally, and the WORST omission, is the powerful, heartbreaking way "So In Love" is handled in the film. Kevin Kline sings it (sort of) to the ill Ashley Judd, breaking up as he is doing so, intercut with him watching the the "Kiss Me Kate" actors sing it (Fabian and Frangoulis, in a much better version.) And of course, all interval music is missing.
That being said, it's worth getting for "In the Still of the Night" and Jonathan Pryce leading a marvelous version of "Blow, Gabriel, Blow." (We could have done without Mick Hucknall trying to be the great Nelson Eddy.)
I hope Sony one day releases the REAL soundtrack...and better yet, an album of Kevin Kline (as Cole Porter and as himself) singing a collection of Cole Porter, including every song in the film.
37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2004
The man who wrote "Anything Goes" and lived by that credo would have loved this record. With apologies to the small group of elitists who have to have their Cole Porter their way, done only by certain artists they deem acceptable, Porter would have enjoyed the fact that pop artists of THIS day wanted to record his songs and perform them on camera in the movie as characters in his life.
I grew up in a house where Cole Porter was embraced along with a number of the other accomplished songwriters of his day. My kids get exposed to those great songs by CDs I share with them. But that's simply not the case in lots of households these days. Cole Porter has been dead for forty years, and slowly but surely the number of people who know or remember dwindles.
It is a great power of films that they can feature music and songs that you seldom hear on the radio or in other walks of life. Sleepless in Seattle brought the romantic songs of the '40s and '50s to those who love them AND to a whole new generation. Forrest Gump did it for the rock songs of the '50s,'60s and '70s. Look at the different kinds of music that Quentin Tarantino has introduced to his audiences. Look at what Baz Luhrmann did for music through the ages with Moulin Rouge. Look at how Chicago made showtunes a new part of young peoples' lives in this decade. Now De-Lovely is here to breathe new life into the appreciation of Cole Porter.
Robbie Williams is a natural with his uplifting, infectious "De-Lovely," and the camera loves him. Alanis Morrisette is a revelation with her spirited, joyful "Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)," and the camera loves her too. Of course Natalie Cole and Diana Krall use their history of performing Porter songs to great benefit, but that doesn't make their outstanding renditions better than "the upstarts." Not when those "upstarts" give performances such as the ones by Elvis Costello on "Let's Misbehave" or Vivian Green on "Love For Sale."
Since when is it bad to be different? The most revealing Kevin Kline/Cole Porter performance in the movie is on the obscure Porter tune, "Experiment," in which Cole wrote: "Experiment/Be curious/Tho' interfering friends may frown,/Get furious/At each attempt to hold you down/If this advice you only employ/The future can offer you infinite joy and merriment/Experiment/And you'll see."
The most adventurous experiment on this soundtrack is Sheryl Crow's version of "Begin the Beguine." When I first heard the performance on the soundtrack, I was taken aback by the transformation of the song to a minor key lament. But when I saw the way the song performance was used in the movie to underscore and enhance the deep emotion of a heartbreaking scene, it made perfect sense. Begin the Beguine is now a high point of the soundtrack for me.
Let's remember that De-Lovely is a soundtrack album and the songs are recorded according to the needs of the film. We all complain when a soundtrack album does not contain all the important music from the movie. Well, in this case, the movie's music is the album which brings back all the memories of a brilliant man's life of song. The interweaving mix of show tunes and pop performances shows how much great songs performed in different styles are capable of living side by side.
It took real courage to make this film because period piece biopics generally have a tough time at the box office. It took a real passion for Cole Porter's songs to make this album an outstanding collection. Rather than the derision of some reviewers whose expectations were violated, we should all celebrate one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century, who is now more alive and well in the 21st century because filmmakers and performers expressed their love for him through De-Lovely, the movie and the soundtrack.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2006
For decades Cole Porter's songs have been considered musical standards. It's no mystery why. Cole Porter's songs were undeniably catchy and fun when he wrote them, they were sophisticated and fun when Las Vegas headliners in the 60's performed them, and they're just as effective performed by contemporary vocalists, like on this soundtrack to the Cole Porter biopic "De-Lovely."
Every track on the soundtrack is flawless, and almost every track is a highlight. UK pop singer Robbie Williams kicks things off, perfectly setting the tone for the rest of the soundtrack with his upbeat, appropriately swinging rendition of the title song "De-Lovely." Elvis Costello later gives a similarly upbeat take on "Let's Misbehave." Caroline O'Connor's performance of Porter's classic "Anything Goes" is a traditional, bawdy rendition of the number filled with all of the energy and exuberance expected from a Cole Porter tune. Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, Lemar, and Vivian Green give a much more contemporary sound to their renditions of slow songs "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)", "Begin the Beguine", "What is This Thing Called Love?", and "Love for Sale", respectively, while still keeping a timeless feel about them.
Ashley Judd and Kevin Kline prove that besides being capable actors, they can hold their own as vocalists on their respective tracks. Actor Jonathan Pryce lends his regal voice to a stirring cover of "Blow, Gabriel, Blow." The soundtrack ends fittingly with a recording of Porter himself singing his "You're the Top", reminding us forever that while he didn't have the best singing voice, he approached all of his music with passion.
The soundtrack's only flaw is that it ends too quickly. Still, in less than an hour the soundtrack captures the spirit of Cole Porter and his music more effectively than the 2 and ½ hour movie it was taken from.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2004
I didn't know quite what to expect from the movie, and it took me about a half an hour to get into the tone of it all. But when it was over, I felt completely at ease, and knew I had been thoroughly entertained. I felt as if I had actually experienced some of that elite sophisticated life that Cole Porter led. The production design was extraordinary.
As for the soundtrack CD, it's kind of a mixed bag, but mostly good. As usual, however, I tend to like the tracks that most people never mention, and dislike the ones that are gathering the most attention. Robbie Williams sings the hell out of the title song; it's snappy and energetic, and he even sings some seldom heard lyrics that put a whole new twist on a song I never really cared for until now. But then, we get to hear Alanis Morissette execute an incredibly painful version of "Let's Do It," with the most excruciating phrasing since Mrs. Miller. Apparently someone heard Morissette sing through her nose...put her in a wet paper bag...and that's why she can't sing her way out of one. Next, there's Sheryl Crow.
I'm still undecided about her rendition of "Begin The Beguine." This song has been crucified by many artists over the years...Perry Como's version is really lousy, Johnny Mathis discoed it up, and Nino Tempo & April Stevens' interpretation reduces a classic song to deadpan comedy. But at least they stuck to the song as written. Sheryl sings the song in a moody minor key....she has a lovely voice and is perfectly in tune with the notes SHE wants to sing; they're just not the notes that Porter composed. It's certainly an unusual approach...and, if I'd never heard the song before, might enjoy it. I really miss the original melody, but on the other hand, I kind of like the originality of this version. Ultimately, I think the minor key delivery works better within the context of the film...(i.e. establishing a melancholy mood after Linda's miscarriage) than it does as a freestanding song on the soundtrack. I keep saying, "C'mon Sheryl..get in gear and hit the right notes." I don't suppose Cole Porter is spinning like a lathe in his grave, but this arrangement probably made him shift a little.
Nobody ever seems to mention John Barrowman (he isn't even listed on the cover of the CD.) John portrays the musical theater performer who's having difficulty with "Night and Day" until Cole coaches him. For me, this was one of the highlights of the film as well as the CD. When Kevin Kline went up on the stage and convinced Barrowman that he could do the song justice, I just knew I was in the right place. FYI, John's new CD, "John Barrowman Swings Cole Porter" doesn't seem to be available in the U. S., but you can get it at www.amazon.co.uk. It is probably the best Cole Porter "tribute" album since Ella Fitzgerald sang the Cole Porter Songbook. A few sides may be a little over-orchestrated, but the CD is really outstanding.
I don't know who Lemar and Vivian Green are, but I intend to find out. Vivian's memorable version of "Love For Sale" is absolutely scandalous, and Lemar's "What Is This Thing Called Love" is deliciously sensual. Then there's Lara Fabian and Mario Frangoulis's extraordinary interpretation of "So In Love." All of these sides are absolutely stunning!!
Natalie Cole made me appreciate the song "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" more than ever before with her trademark sultry vocals. There are other highlights as well...even "Be A Clown" isn't the silly agony I expected it to be...it's really clever and funny. (I'm sure I'll think of this song next time I go to a doctor or a dentist.)
Mick Hucknall of Simply Red sounds more like Rudy Vallee than the Nelson Eddy type he portrays in the film (costumed as a Royal Canadian mountie and referred to as "Mr. Nelson..??!!") At first, I skipped over this track. Now I actually listen to it. It kinda grows on you, but then again, so does a wart.
In any event, next time you mix yourself a martini or two, put this CD on your system, perhaps along with Ella's Porter songbook and John Barrowman's new CD available in England. Hit shuffle play, and enjoy the evening. Cheers!!
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2004
Not too many people seem to like Cheryl Crow's version of "Begin the Beguine", but I'm absolutely bewitched by it. I find it very melancholy, romantic and sensual. Too me, this song is the highlight of the soundtrack.
Since I saw the movie last week, I've been going nuts for Cole Porter. I bought a few CDs. De-Lovely is not the best of them, some of the covers by pop singers are a bit dull and/or laborious, and I wish Kevin Kline had used his fine natural singing voice, instead of mimicking Porter's mediocre one. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for verisimilitude when an actor portrays an actual person, but what amount of realism does one need in a biopic featuring an angel that guides Porter through flashbacks of the most important moments of his life? In this dream, Porter could have sung with the beautiful voice he had always wished that he had. When I'm listening to the album, I skip most of the covers by Kline and/or Ashley Judd.
Besides Cheryl's flawed but very touching "Begin the Beguine", my favorite is the "Night and Day" duet by Kline and John Barrowman. Their scene together is among the most beautiful ones in the film. Natalie Cole's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" is magnificent. The movie also made me discover Lemar and Vivian Green, both fine singers. Green is the perfect performer for "Love for Sale": young, beautiful, sensual.
I wish there had been even more music in the film. I don't remember if "I Got You Under my Skin" is in the movie... I wish it was on the soundtrack (but not performed by Kevin or Ashley!)
Is this album worth almost 20 bucks? Not really, considering that Verve has a couple of great compilations selling for about $10 and featuring several of the greatest jazz singers/musicians of the fifties. AS talented as they are, most of the performers in De-Lovely can't hold a candle to Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Ella and Julie London.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2005
I guess that the "purists" out there don't like this commercial modernization of Cole Porter's greatest hits, but my guess is that if you enjoyed the movie (which I did), you'll also really enjoy the soundtrack album. I happen to think Sheryl Crow does a fantastic job here, and ditto for Diana Krall and the rest. This is a perfect introduction to Cole Porter for those who have a scant familiarity with his amazing career and works. Because it features many of today's biggest stars interpreting his tunes in a fashion that is nothing less than extraordinary, I feel this album could welcome a whole slew of folks who before the movie maybe couldn't have cared less. So I think it's a worthwhile effort.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2005
Sheryl Crow's version of "Begin the Beguine" was an eye opener for me. Some comments have focused on the fact that the arrangement is different then older versions. This misses the point. In fact, all of the songs in the movie illustrate aspects of the story.
I do not believe that we should be treated to a PC version of Cole Porter's music. One thing that is clear from this CD is how the lyrics have many-faceted meanings. One needs to view the extras on the movie DVD to understand why the songs were interpreted as they were. I have heard "Begin the Beguine" for decades, yet I never knew what a "beguine" was. When I saw the Crow version in the film, I decided to find out what it meant. Simply, The Beguine is a sensuous dance that originated in the West Indies. In the context of the movie, and its portrayal of Porter, Crow's performance is right on target.
This album needs to be appreciated in the proper, full context, and one will understand its great value. It is a great supplement to the movie. The lyrics are very clear, and they must be appreciated to understand the intelligence and spirit of Porter.