Given that "American Pie" is a rather raw sex comedy about high school
seniors trying to get laid, the film may be a bit too crude for some of
the teen-agers who comprise the bulk of its target audience. But there
should be no such reservations about its fresh, breezy pop-rock
soundtrack -- perfect to perk up those midsummer doldrums.
With a slew of songs about young love and the hormone-saturated search
for a bedmate, the album is a nice companion to the feature. Even
better, it offers a selection of new material by current radio faves and
rising bands -- particularly Third Eye Blind, Sugar Ray and Blink 182.
Toss in amiable gal-singer Bic Runga's poignant, romantic 1997 hit,
"Sway," and you've got a solid hour or so of aural junk food for
beachfront escapades, hot August nights (apologies to Neil Diamond) and
basement make-out sessions.
Although the album opens with the flash of Third Eye Blind's jaunty,
perfunctory "New Girl," the second track -- Tonic's "You Wanted More"
(RealAudio excerpt) --
is the unquestionable knockout number on the collection. Tonic create a
wistful mood with a pretty, bittersweet refrain after getting your
attention with a percolating hook on the verse. It sets the tone for the
rest of the soundtrack.
Even the punky, whiny pop of "Mutt" by Blink 182 has an engaging
neediness that evokes the angst and desire of kids looking for a little
action. Sugar Ray try the aggressive guitar-rock tack on "Glory"; the
Loose Nuts go for goofy, hyper ska-punk on "Wishin"; and Goldfinger lean
on their own rousing, helter-skelter ska-derived sound for "Vintage
Other than Dishwalla's churning rock ballad "Find Your Way Back Home"
and the Atomic Fireballs' demonic, album-closing swing thing "Man With
The Hex," the rest of the selections are easy on the ears. Best among
them are "Super Down" (RealAudio excerpt)
by Super Transatlantic -- marked by lush harmonies
on the chorus and a showy guitar break -- and "Good Morning Baby"
-- a dreamy duet sung and co-authored by Ms. Runga and Semisonic's Dan
The latter track seems to capture the bloom of summer love better than
anything else on the album. But if you're looking for the essence of
disposable warm-weather radio fodder, there are a pair of cuts by
relative unknowns that will fill the bill.
"Summertime" by Bachelor Number One mixes spry, jukey acoustic guitar
work, swelling organ and a lilting lead vocal seemingly cribbed from
Neil Finn of Crowded House. And Shades Apart's "Stranger By the Day"
sounds like its melody was nicked from generic French pop with trite
lyrics that might have been clumsily translated from another language.
That's OK. This is the kind of album that marks a special moment in
time: vacation fun, youthful romance under the stars, the transition
from kid to grown-up. It may end up in a pile of forgotten CDs by the
fall, but it'll evoke wonderful memories when it's unearthed and played
years down the line.