Tin Cup: Music From the Motion Picture


Sony, 1996

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


[Adapted from a review originally appearing in On The Town magazine on January 7, 1997]

Singing songs about love may in fact be the world's second oldest profession. If music wasn't invented for wooing, it's not for lack of evidence to the contrary. The beauty of singing about love is anyone can do it, using any style of music, and no matter who the listener is, on some level the music will reach them. Passion and heartbreak are as universal an experience for our species as breathing and walking upright. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Tin Cup soundtrack offers a veritable 31 flavors of songs about the ups and downs of love. Kicking off with the jaunty, accordion-driven Tex-Mex number “Little Bit Is Better Than Nada” from the Texas Tornados, the album then veers into a two-song set of electric blues featuring a shades-of-Stevie-Ray-Vaughn number from his brother Jimmie (“Cool Lookin’ Woman”), and a respectful and respectable nightclub blues from Keb’ Mo’ (“Crapped Out Again”). Bruce Hornsby contributes the next two tracks, “Big Stick,” a bouncy golf club double entendre, and “Nobody There But Me,” a pleasant ballad that sees Hornsby adding some melodic value and genuine emotion to the keyboard-virtuoso showmanship that's made his last two albums so much less fulfilling than their predecessors. Later on, Amanda Marshall, Shawn Colvin, George Jones and Patty Loveless each contribute solid if unremarkable numbers.

Sandwiched in between is the one-two knockout punch that made this album for me. Sometimes artists find entirely new ways to shine when they step out of their usual genre and stretch a little. Contemplative but playful country-folk singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter scores big here with “Let Me Into Your Heart,” a joyous Aretha Franklin homage complete with a fat horn section and a dynamite Motown-sound tribute from her backing band. Chris Isaak follows in its aftermath with the album’s emotional highlight, the intense, haunting despair of “I Wonder” (this guy needs a dating service bad).

But that's love -- one minute you're on top the world, the next it feels like the world's on top of you. And all you can do about it is sing.

Rating: A-

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