Ever go to a restaurant and order the sampler? It offers a little taste of everything – usually a few chicken fingers, a couple of wings, some onion rings and on a rare occasion, those tiny delectable breaded mushrooms. The Practical Magic soundtrack (Reprise Records) is the music industry’s version of the sampler, complete with mushrooms.
The Practical Magic?soundtrack pulls from a variety of musical genres and manages to present them perfectly. The album smoothly flows from one song to the next but also changes genres with each track. The eclectic combination works in the end.
Recently returning to the music scene with “Landslide,” Stevie Nicks performs two new songs on the soundtrack. Both pieces are produced by Sheryl Crow. Singing the opening track, “If You Ever Did Believe,” Nicks grabs the listener with her sultry, raspy voice. Her second song on the album, “Crystal,” is the last song to contain vocals. Two instrumental selections conclude the album, but “Crystal” serves as the grand finale of the soundtrack.
From Nicks’s first track, the album switches to a pop/country feel with Faith Hill’s hit, “This Kiss.” The upbeat ditty moves the album in a different direction. The soundtrack, however, does not continue on the path for long. Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” provides a needed mellow track, especially following the peppy country song. Representing the R&B genre, Gaye’s classic adds a soulful aspect to the album.
Folk icon Joni Mitchell contributes “A Case of You.” Mitchell produces the pure sound that characterizes many of her early albums. The song is nicely juxtaposed with Michelle Lewis’ “Nowhere and Everywhere.” A newcomer to the music scene, Lewis combines the sounds of a variety of popular female artists to produce her own sound.
Although Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut” is an odd inclusion, the song adds some humor to the album. Even the name alone makes the listener chuckle, adding a smooth island beat to the mix.
The Practical Magic soundtrack includes a little of everything, ranging from one end of the music spectrum to the other. But the album does not simply throw genres together. It skillfully blends different musical styles into a quality soundtrack. The album features new talent as well as old names – even Elvis makes an appearance.
The collection of different genres offers an appetizing mix – just like the sampler. Enjoying the sampler or listening to the Practical Magic soundtrack creates the kind of genuine feeling of satisfaction found in few albums, or entrees.