My Blueberry Nights:
Music from the Motion Picture
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2008, Volume 15, #4
Written by John Metzger
Mon April 28, 2008, 08:30 AM CDT
My Blueberry Nights: Music from the Motion Picture is more than just a film soundtrack. In its own unique way, it also provides an intriguing examination of the tangled crossroads where jazz, blues, rock, and soul music currently meet. It hardly could be considered a definitive collection, of course. Likewise, outside the context of the movie, there isn’t much of a narrative to the set. Nevertheless, its songs fit together quite seamlessly to evoke a moody aura that is as unsettling as it is lovely.
Much of the material on My Blueberry Nights: Music from the Motion Picture was plucked from other, already available sources, and almost all of its songs are very contemporary. Clearly, Blue Note has used the project as an opportunity to plug a few of its own acts: Norah Jones (who also stars in the film) along with Amos Lee and Cassandra Wilson are all signed to the label. Yet, unlike countless other soundtrack endeavors whose contents frequently feel as if they have been haphazardly assembled and forced into place, My Blueberry Nights: Music from the Motion Picture flows effortlessly from beginning to end.
Although Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness is the only cut on My Blueberry Nights: Music from the Motion Picture that certifiably is a classic track, its presence oddly enough doesn’t overwhelm the songs that surround it. Cat Power — otherwise known as Chan Marshall, who has a cameo in the movie — contributes a pair of Memphis soul-imbued selections (Living Proof and The Greatest), while Jones applies her seductive purr to The Story, one of the outing’s few new tunes. Elsewhere, Wilson turns the luminescence of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon into a surreal song of longing, and Mavis Staples offers an edgy interpretation of Eyes on the Prize that effectively balances the angelic sweetness of Lee’s Stepping Stone. Fused together by a trio of Ry Cooder’s eerie instrumental passages (Ely Nevada, Long Ride, and Busride), My Blueberry Nights: Music from the Motion Picture glides past, providing sympathy and comfort to the lost and lonely as they search for meaning and direction. ½
My Blueberry Nights: Music from the Motion Picture is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box