What's the soundtrack for suburbia gone awry? Perhaps it's American Beauty--the music for the dark Sam Mendes-directed flick starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening. With its mix of classic and indie rock, the disc seems ... more »to reflect something for everyone (or at least those found in middle America). Bobby Darin's "Don't Rain on My Parade" is the epitome of unhip, Free's "All Right Now" is a classic rock anthem we've heard way too many times, and Peggy Lee's "Bali Ha'i" is vintage exotica at its best. But then there are some surprises: Elliott Smith's harmonizing "Because" is pure Brian Wilson, Folk Implosion's "Free to Go" is one of the group's best tracks, and Eels' "Cancer for the Cure" is a gritty but infectious taste of alt-rock. Thomas Newman's percussive "Dead Already" creates a tense mood to start things off. --Jason Verlinde« less
What's the soundtrack for suburbia gone awry? Perhaps it's American Beauty--the music for the dark Sam Mendes-directed flick starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening. With its mix of classic and indie rock, the disc seems to reflect something for everyone (or at least those found in middle America). Bobby Darin's "Don't Rain on My Parade" is the epitome of unhip, Free's "All Right Now" is a classic rock anthem we've heard way too many times, and Peggy Lee's "Bali Ha'i" is vintage exotica at its best. But then there are some surprises: Elliott Smith's harmonizing "Because" is pure Brian Wilson, Folk Implosion's "Free to Go" is one of the group's best tracks, and Eels' "Cancer for the Cure" is a gritty but infectious taste of alt-rock. Thomas Newman's percussive "Dead Already" creates a tense mood to start things off. --Jason Verlinde
"There are two basic rules when putting out a "soundtrack". First Rule: include all of the songs that were major players in the movie. I bought the soundtrack specifically to get the song played by the duaghter's friend near the end, and it's not even on the soundtrack! I now know that it's Anne Lennox ("Don't Let It Bring You Down" off her Medusa album), but I didn't until I was forced to research it ....so examining the track list before I bought the disc was no help. The Second Rule (besides not talking about Fight Club) is to NOT include songs that WEREN'T in the movie. I've seen the movie twice and there are still 3 or 4 tracks that I can't connect at all to the movie.A good soundtrack might also take a bit of value added creative liscence. Kevin Spacey's whistling as "The Seeker" faded out in the movie was excellent. Why not find a way to include that in the soundtrack? (Take a cue from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack -- great music, nothing out of character, and neat soundbytes from the movie.) Overall, there are a couple great tracks on the American Beauty soundtrack, but it may not be worth buying."
Good but missing important pieces
Mike Etheredge (methereusa@hotmail. | Washington, D.C. | 11/01/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To Dag who wrote in earlier: I bought this soundtrack album and like it, but the main reason I bought it was the song at the end in the scene between K. Spacey and M. Suvari. It isn't on the soundtrack. However, I think it's called "Don't Let It Bring you Down" and performed by Annie Lennox in tribute to Neil Young or something (Written by Pete Townshend?). I think you can find it on the "Medusa" album by Annie Lennox.I also agree with the others who wrote in about the inexplicable chopping up of Thomas Newman's score. WHY? WHY? WHY? Why take such a beautiful score and leave most of it off the sountrack album? There couldn't have been any problems with rights. Who makes these hare-brained decisions?But anyway the rest of the album is pretty good. Great movie, by the way, and the music really does add to the experience of the movie."
This CD does not include several key songs
cloudnin | Nebraska, USA | 02/07/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"American Beauty features several great songs in its soundtrack, several of which, unfortunately, are not on this CD. Of the 18 songs listed on IMDB in the film's soundtrack, 9 of those are on this disc. Of the 9 songs in the soundtrack, but not on the CD, 3 in particular are most sorely missed. These are Don't Let It Bring You Down sung by Annie Lennox, American Woman by The Guess Who, and All Along The Watchtower by Bob Dylan. If this soundtrack CD included those 3 songs, this would easily be a 5 star soundtrack CD. I don't mind too much that the other 6 songs in the soundtrack, On Broadway, Tenderfoot, Something Grand, As Long As I'm Singing, Call Me Irresponsible, and Where Love Has Gone aren't on this soundtrack CD, with the possible exception of On Broadway (played by a band, not The Drifters), because the dance routine choreographed to it in the film is rather humorous. As to the tracks on the soundtrack CD, the first and last are from Thomas Newman's great, instantly recognizable score. The complete score is also available on CD, and I think it is well worth getting. Elliott Smith's cover of The Beatles' Because is quite good, although a better, nearly identical version appears on the second disc of the third volume of The Beatles Anthology. Free To Go by The Folk Implosion is not listed in the film's soundtrack on IMDB, but is included in this soundtrack CD anyway, and it is an okay song. All Right Now by Free is a cool song that I've heard before although I didn't recognize it by name. Cancer For The Cure is a good alternative song that seems out of place on this soundtrack CD. The Seeker by The Who is a good classic rock song that is used perfectly in the film. Don't Rain On My Parade sung by Bobby Darin is a silly song that I don't mind listening to now and again because of its use in the film. We Haven't Turned Around by Gomez is a song that I hadn't heard before but grew on me quickly. It's up there with Elliott Smith's cover of Because and The Who's Seeker as my favorite songs on this CD. Bali Ha'i is an okay song. The other 2 songs on the CD, Use Me and Open The Door are both okay, I guess, but I don't remember them being used in the film. Overall, the songs on this soundtrack CD range from okay to excellent. Even with the presence of several excellent songs, this does not make up for the fact that the three best songs, which are all used prominently in the film, are not present. I suppose most people already have All Along The Watchtower and American Woman on CD, but most probably don't have Don't Let It Bring You Down on CD. I'm guessing these 3 songs weren't included on this CD because of budget concerns and the licensing fees would have been too much, but I think that was poor judgment because this CD would have been much better with those 3 songs, and probably would have sold many more copies, easily recouping everything spent to include them. As is, this soundtrack CD is good, but it should have been much better."
Some Decent Tunes, but...
Nathan E. Kiner | Milford, NH USA | 11/03/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"There's some decent tunes on here, such as Elliott Smith's 'Because' (messing with the Beatles is always shaky ground, but he pulls it off). And of course you can't go wrong with the who. I really don't understand the trend these days of putting songs on a soundtrack that weren't in the movie, makes no sense. Oh, and sense there seems to be some confusion, the song the girl plays in the scene with spacey is 'Don't Let it Bring you Down', by Neil Young. This version is performed by Annie Lennox, and can be found on Medusa. The original is on Neil's 'After the Gold Rush' album, which I encourage anyone who enjoyed the song to go check out."
Glad I didn't order this soundtrack!
A. Knopp | Northern VT United States | 07/24/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Thank you, Mike Etheridge and K. Brogan for your very helpful reviews. I, too, was transfixed by the song played during the scene with the Kevin Spacey and the daughter's friend, and pulled up the soundtrack here to try to find that song. I knew the voice was Lennox but couldn't find it on the soundtrack. Had I not begun reading the reviews it would have taken me a long time to hunt down the song "Don't Let It Get You Down" by Annie Lennox from her Medusa album. Many thanks again for saving me tons of time - now I know which CD to buy..."