Team America World Police: Music From The Motion Picture by Team America
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Marc Shaiman, the former SNL
musical director/film composer who scored an Oscar nomination for his collaboration on South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and makes occasional contributions here, once called SP co-creator Trey Parker "the biggest heterosexual show queen" he'd ever met. The satirical songs Parker wrote (and sometimes performs) for he and Matt Stone's inventive, marionette-starring skewering of Hollywood action films, American foreign intrigues and political correctness of various stripes only confirms Parker's status as the idiot savant Sondheim. Trey's musical desecration here is as hilarious as it is equal opportunity, variously taking aim at manipulative Broadway fare (the Rent send-up "Everyone Has AIDS"), patriotism-pimping country stars like Toby Keith ("Freedom Isn't Free"), schlock ballad queen Diane Warren ("Only A Woman") and mindlessly jingoistic macho-rock anthems ("America, F--- Yeah"). Parker's unlikely showcase for North Korean dictator Kim Il Jong ("I'm So Ronery") manages to be loopy, genuinely touching and typically un-PC all at once. The underscore cues by Harry Gregson-Williams take informed, if more subtle jabs at his own oeuvre and that of his oft cliché-ridden colleagues: heroic marches, nervous techno and uber brooding orchestral cues played so straight that context is often the only clue to their parody intent. It's a welcome puncturing of much bloated Hollywood pomposity -- and far and away our favorite soundtrack of the year. --Jerry McCulley