Monday, October 27, 2008

Various Artists: Nightmare Revisited (CD Review)

Worth It

If you’re a fan of The Nightmare before Christmas or of the handful of bands on this CD, then this collection is probably worth it to you. This is the NbC soundtrack performed by an eclectic assortment of bands. On one end of the spectrum we’ve got Marilyn Manson and Korn (two of the four artists I got this CD for), and on the other we’ve got The Polyphonic Spree and DeVotchKa. In between are The All-American Rejects, Flyleaf, Sparklehorse, Rise Against, Yoshida Brothers, Amy Lee (of Evanescence), RJD2, Plain White Ts, Datarock, Shiny Toy Guns, and Danny Elfman, who wrote the original score and even provided singing voices for Jack and other characters.

I haven’t seen the movie. It’s something I’ve wanted to see, but I’ve just never gotten around to it. I am familiar with Danny Elfman’s music and Tim Burton’s movies. I’m just surprised Johnny Depp wasn’t involved somehow. It’s like they’ve got some kind of weird threesome going on.

Regardless of why I originally got the CD, I’ve come to enjoy the whole thing. I only say that it’s sort of worth the purchase because movie soundtracks aren’t for everyone, especially musicals. It helps to somewhat know the plot of the movie, or you’re just listening to an odd assortment of songs.

Some tracks are purely instrumental pieces (Overture by DeVotchKa, Doctor Finkelstein/In the Forest by Amiina, etc.), and you can definitely feel Elfman in the music. He’s got a unique sound to his compositions.

It seems as though the performers, both in the instrumental pieces and those with lyrics, retain their own sound while also putting out the Elfman vibe. I obviously can’t comment on artists I’ve never heard of (Amiina, Yoshida Brothers, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, RJD2, and Datarock), but I was pleased with those I came for (the afore mentioned Marilyn Manson and Korn along with Flyleaf and Amy Lee), and I was pleasantly surprised by some groups that are very hit-and-miss with me. I only like a handful of All-American Rejects songs, and I’m adding their version of Jack’s Lament to that list. I’m only familiar with one Polyphonic Spree song, but their version of Town Meeting Song seems very consistent with what I’ve seen (they were on an episode of Las Vegas) or read about the group. It’s a very large ensemble, so we’re blessed by having each voice in the piece actually sung by a different voice.

So if you’re a fan of the movie, definitely pick this up. If you’re a fan of even one of the groups represented on the album, also pick it up. I’m sure you’ll be surprised by what else you might find pleasing to your ear balls. And if you’re just in the market for something different, it can’t hurt to give this a try. It’s definitely something different.
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