Call it a soundtrack producer's dream. One of the most vital and influential bands in modern-day music cuts a song entitled "If God Will Send His Angels" just months before you are hired to put together a soundtrack for a movie entitled City of Angels. The band is U2, and their song not only opens the City of Angels soundtrack, but it is also the anchor of a group of tracks that narrowly escapes the sappy trail that the movie blazed when it hit theaters. In all actuality, the soundtrack sounds much too dark, menacing, and legitimate to be attached to the film. Alanis Morissette assures the direction of the album when she follows U2's less-than-perky offering with "Uninvited," which is nothing if not vintage Alanis. From there on the quality drops off somewhat, but not until after Jimi Hendrix comes in with "Red House." It's still amazing to this day how the sounds of Hendrix on the guitar could be so many things all at the same time – soothing, moving, eerie, and untouchable.
Country singers rule this soundtrack of Elvis Presley covers, which is every bit as flawed, frivolous and fun as the film from whence it came. While Billy Joel parodies "All Shook Up" and "Heartbreak Hotel," John Mellencamp labors to avoid parodying "Jailhouse Rock," and U2's Bono transforms "Can't Help Falling in Love" into an obsessive parable about hero worship, folks like Ricky Van Shelton and Trisha Yearwood just sit back and sing the things, which at least makes them pleasant after more than one plaing. Dwight Yoakam's power-chord-country version of "Suspicious Minds" and Travis Tritt's "Burning Love" rank with their best remakes. Breaking the trend are pop crooner Bryan Ferry, who sings a seductive British soul version of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and the usually trustworthy Vince Gill, whose Pat Boone-style rendition of Arthur Crudup's classic blues "That's All Right" cleans up the grammar.
Jim Steinman (the melodramatic writer behind Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell) is the author of many of the tracks here, and they have his typical rock & roll Sturm und Drang, especially when the backup group consists of members of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. Also on hand are The Blasters, Maria McKee, and Ry Cooder. The album's hit single turned out to be Dan Hartman's "I Can Dream about You".
There are some really nice tunes on this soundtrack to the excellent film "Grumpier Old Men". The highlights for me are the songs by Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Harry Belafonte, Doris Day, Nat King Cole and the couple of instrumentals by composer Alan Silvestri. These are the recordings that will remind you of the fun that GOM provided to those fortunate to see legends Lemmon, Matthau, Meredith, Ann-Margaret and Sophia Loren (holy moly) in their last great film together. The only pity is that because the first films soundtrack is not available to buy, that the song from that film "We're Having A Heatwave" is not here. Sound quality is excellent and joyous.