Sheryl Crow's "Begin the Beguine," a new classic!
Jo-Ski | USA | 08/09/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I wish I had time to write a more complete review of this movie soundtrack, but I definitely wanted to chime in on the one track that seems to have generated some of the most heated controversy on the Net--especially from Cole Porter purists (a notion which Mr. Porter himself probably would have parodied in song)--Sheryl Crow's interpretation of "Begin the Beguine."
I think Ms. Crow's rendition of this song is nothing short of BRILLIANT! I immediately went out and ordered the soundtrack from Amazon on the basis of this one track. For me, the tune went from a gorgeous, shimmering Porter melody in a major key to a romantic, beatific bossa nova. Superb! Ms. Crow's biggest re-interpretation of the tune was to cast it into the related minor key (instead of the original major key), but it SO WORKED--especially in the context of the film: Cole Porter is in the audience for the opening of the show in which this song is featured, but wife Linda Porter has not yet shown up for the premiere. Clearly, he is disturbed and sad about this as he sits in the audience, and Crow's interpretation fits the melancholy of the mood so perfectly. Perhaps the one thing I would change about the performance would be for Ms. Crow to finally transpose the tune into the original major key, maybe at the end. However, that's a minor criticism, and keeping the song in the minor key all the way through makes for a beautifully haunting, dramatic coda to the song.
Furthermore, the overall frame story of the film "De-lovely" is all about Cole Porter reflecting back on his life and his music. I'm sorry that I don't remember exactly when he passed away, but I believe that this composer, who also wrote a song about "Experiment!", would have relished hearing this kind of reinterpretation of his song, especially in light of some of the musical styles (such as bossa nova) that came after him. I think he would have been delighted and mesmerized! Brava, Ms. Crow, for a rendition that is simply, De-lovely and absolutely unforgettable!"