Something For Everybody

Baz Luhrmann

Capitol Records, 1998

http://www.bazmark.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/03/1999

In a sense, calling Something For Everybody a Baz Luhrmann album isn't entirely correct. The Australian director might have compiled this group of songs (which have been featured in his works), but to the best of my knowledge, he doesn't play one note on this album.

What Luhrmann has succeeded in doing - besides creating this decade's spoken-word hit (more on that later) - is put together the ultimate sampler of music crossing all genres. This is the kind of album that reviewer Eric E5S16 would have killed to review; Eric's tastes in music run the entire gamut, and the playlist for his dream radio station is proof of that. If Luhrmann has a flaw, it's that this disc might be too eclectic for many people's tastes.

If you pick this up hoping to hear what Luhrmann has done with the original versions of songs, more often than not, you're going to be disappointed. It's rare when the original artist performs the track in question (such as "Lovefool," which isn't performed by The Cardigans, but by Snooper), and often, these remakes leave a lot to be desired. On the other hand, some new takes on songs are quite interesting, such as the new versions of "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" and "Time After Time".my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But there are a few original artists left on some of these tracks, such as Doris Day ("Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps"). Also, Luhrmann dares to throw a serious curve ball at the listener by including one operatic selection ("Che Gelida Manina" from La Boheme) and a selection from Gustav Holst's "The Planets". Both of these tracks impressed me; the former because I am no fan of opera, the latter because I have always been apprehensive about sitting down to fully explore this particular classical work.

One other track that stood out was the "High Heels Mix" of "Happy Feet", a song that gets new life kicked into it. You might not think that a song originally recorded in 1930 would be fitting to be played in the clubs these days; this mix takes care of that.

And then, there's the smash hit "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)", the first spoken-word smash I can think of since Paul Hardcastle's "19" in the '80s. This song reminds me a lot of "Desiderata" by Les Crane (a song I tried to find for my father for three years, I kid you not). Both songs feature an inspirational message that the listener can interpret their own way, both songs feature backing tracks fitting for their time periods... both will always have some cult following.

All this said... the track doesn't impress me that much. The speech is good (and the story behind the speech is even better), but with all due respect to Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune (who wrote the speech for a column), I honestly don't understand why this song has taken off on the charts. Oh, well. To each their own.

In the end, Something For Everybody is a decent enough work, though there are one or two points on the album where it's a bit difficult to plow through the material. I guess any sampler runs the risk of falling into that pitfall; it's what happens when an artist tries to provide something for... whoops, almost fell into redundancy there.

Rating: B-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.