With so many good composers and musicians around, it's hard to imagine the special, demented skills that produce bad soundtracks.
Still, they do happen. As a public service, we've managed to identify the 1999 releases that don't seem to have much artistic integrity, much less redeeming value for discriminating ears. Our underachievers are:
7. "More Music from Austin Powers" -- OK, so maybe some of the stuff on this second soundtrack from the highly successful Mike Myers comedy is actually listenable. But we reject the need to create an entire CD just to present a dance mix of Madonna's "Beautiful Stranger."
6. "Swing" -- This soundtrack proves that Lisa Stansfield does not sing jazz well. While we're sure she's a very nice person, we suggest that Stansfield stick to her own style and leave the swing for those who can.
5. "Any Given Sunday" -- If you thought the brilliant "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" soundtrack was vulgar, wait until you hear the language on this CD! The loud, bombastic music never justifies the inclusion of such profanity. Go purchase the "Universal Soldier: The Return" songtrack if you want an excellent heavy metal compilation.
4. "Fight Club" -- Listening to this soundtrack is like listening to a bad video game. When I want to hear anything this repetitive and annoying, I'll go buy a copy of "Carmageddon" or "Descent" and vent all my frustrations on the pixilated punks trying to kill me before the music does.
3. "The Wood" -- Would what? Rot our brains? Only half of the music on this soundtrack actually appeared in the film, and the stuff that made the cut isn't very good. While artists such as Luther Vandross, R. Kelly and Whodini do their best with contributions, their cuts alone can't save this sad CD.
2. "Deep Blue Sea" -- Possibly one of the worst collections of bad rap music on the market. The only crime greater than the noise that emanates from this vitriolic aberrant is that the selections don't even appear in the movie for more than five or 10 seconds, if at all. Even the magnificent suite from Trevor Rabin's score can't salvage this abomination. Go buy the complete "Deep Blue Sea" score on Varèse Sarabande and forget this Warner Bros. concoction.
1. "Pokémon: The First Movie" -- Are children and parents supposed to believe that Britney Spears hangs with violent mutant mini-monsters? This is probably the most air-headed soundtrack of the decade. But after some reflection, combining brainless bubble gum pop with Pokémon almost seems appropriate.
But wait ... there's (unfortunately) more -- so stinky it's beyond a mere No. 1 designation, so offensive it's the year's finest (worst?) example of mindless marketing gone bad:
"Josh's Blair Witch Mix"
For those of you who think Josh -- one of the film's clueless campers -- really made this recording before being killed by the Blair Witch, GET A CLUE.
The very idea of a "Blair Witch" soundtrack is an oxymoron (probably because only a moron would buy it.) If you are still sentient after listening to this CD, you may remember that there was NO MUSIC in this summer's most disturbing movie.
None. Zilch. Zero.
The fact that a soundtrack even exists for "The Blair Witch Project" shows you to what extent record labels will go for your money.
Let the buyer beware. And let him keep earplugs handy, too.