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PRINCE AND ME, THE: SOUNDTRACK

Review by Brad Green:
Marrying a prince or a king hasn’t always been what that the fairytales crack it up to be. Take the fate of a few of Henry VIII’s wives for instance, or Caroline of Brunswick whom George IV wed while he was Prince Regent because British parliament wasn’t amused that he had already secretly married a Roman Catholic, and he needed its support to pay off his debts. How romantic! As for poor Diana, I had a feeling it might all go pear shaped from the moment she looked into her future husband’s face, was distracted by the fact that it resembled a taxi with the doors wide open, and stumbled over his name in the wedding vows. 

And it’s not just the English monarchy. Things went decidedly sour for Marie Antoinette somewhere between the wedding in the Palace of Versailles and her last days of freedom at the Tuileries. And while I’m not an expert on the history of the Portuguese royals, it can’t have exactly been every girls dream to become betrothed to Alfonso The Fat or Manuel The Unfortunate. 

So we come to the Danish princes, who have apparently varied in their attitudes to potential brides over the years. According to Shakespeare it was “get thee to a nunnery” and a few centuries later Hans Christian Anderson suggested that any lass who couldn’t detect three peas under twenty mattresses simply wouldn’t pass muster. On the other hand, the chap who has whisked Australia’s own Mary Donaldson off her feet seems to be more interested in her ability to learn the art of the tactical tack. Yachting enthusiast Prince Frederik comes across as handsome, sporty and charming but it seems some of the mystique has gone out of marrying a prince. Fred and Mary might well make a happy couple, and even lead some semblance of a normal life with just a lot more pomp and circumstance, a tidy bit of jewellery to choose from when dressing up and less stress than most on the mortgage front. But just how exciting is all this going to be for the public and the paparazzi? 

The music of this soundtrack is indicative of pop that has gone the same way as the modern princes, like Frederick, or even eligible young William across on the British Isles. Comely, polite, likeable and thoroughly lacking in sensation. I haven’t seen the film, but the synopsis reads like the real-life Frederik and Mary romance with a dash of Coming To America. Shame the music here lacks the sparkling soul of the soundtrack to what was Eddie Murphy’s best comedy.

The two tracks that make the most impact are also the most minimal, with Marc Cohn’s impassioned voice, very reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen at times and certainly more of a diamond in the rough than a polished crown jewel, needing only an acoustic guitar behind it to wring emotion from Man Of The World, which he co-wrote, and a cover of Tom Waits’ I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You. 

The lead single is Josh Kelley’s Everybody Wants You, and while I was a fan of his leviathan hit Amazing, this song doesn’t have the same emotive grab. It follows exactly the same formula -- direct melody, catchy phrasing, Kelley’s rich vocals -- but for some reason, and this is the great mystery of pop songs, one simple tune can have something intrinsically special about it that another simple tune lacks. It’s a pleasant enough ditty though, and the same can be said for many of the numbers here, especially Lena Naess’s Calling and Jennifer Stills’ Good Intentions. 

Nevertheless, this kind of pop is going the way of the today’s princes and becoming too polite to be genuinely exciting. What kind of rock ‘n’ roll names are Josh Kelley, Jennifer Stills and Marc Cohn anyway? Let’s not forget that some of the best contemporary music of the last three decades has been written by artists whose antics would make a mad king blush, and who have gone by such monikers as Prince, Queen and The Thin White Duke. 

Published August 26, 2004

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TITLE: The Prince & Me
ID: 20616 24452
Hollywood Records
ARTISTS: Josh Kelley; Jem; Fastball; Marc Cohn; Leona Naess; Jennifer Stills; Jess…
Scapegoat; Jennie 
TRACKS: 15







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