In My Write Mind

The 'Tracks of My Years...

There will always be songs that you remember, that stand out in your mind and make you hum along even when it's not playing, that cause you to flash back to where you were when you first heard it, or tie some event to the song like that's its personal soundtrack.

That's the sole purpose of movie soundtracks--to hopefully capture you in the moment conveyed on screen, to underscore the poignancy of the dialogue being delivered, to wrap up the visual package with a hi fi bow. And more often than not, that's the way I watch a movie, with its soundtrack in mind. Good music doesn't necessarily translate into good film, but recalling certain great songs will make the worst of movie experiences a lot less painful.

Below are some of the soundtracks that I've enjoyed throughout the years, in no particular order. Tell me if you're feeling them and/or which ones are YOUR favorites.

Boomerang (1992)

This is one of the few movies where the songs on the disc actually fit the scenes. I mean, sure there were duds on the CD, including the infamous Damian Dame (nice try, and some dude named Keith Vaughn; but check out who ELSE was on the soundtrack: Grace Jones, Keith Washington, PM Dawn, Johnny Gill, A Tribe Called Quest, Aaron Hall and Shanice. All in their primes at the time. (Well, except maybe PM Dawn. Not sure they really had a prime time. LOL) And if you're looking for a reason why the disc did so well...look no further than it's executive producer: Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds. Which meant it was gonna be platinum in no time flat. In the 90s, everything he touched turned platinum.

This is also the soundtrack that introduced the world to Kenny's greatest find since The Deele: Ladies and Gentlemen...Toni Braxton. I still remember where I was when I first saw the video for "Give U My Heart." To see that little woman belting out those strong vocals...I was entranced. And I don't care what anybody says, short-haired Toni will ALWAYS and FOREVER be sexier than the unbeweaveable Toni of today. Her second song on the CD--and the centerpiece song of the movie--is also the one that REALLY launched her into the R&B mainstream, "Love Shoulda Brought You Home." EVERYBODY was a Toni Braxton fan after that one, girls because of the words and dudes because of, well, Toni's fine ass. LOL

Then, of course, there's this little ditty called "End of the Road." It only catapulted BoyzIIMen into the crossover hit stratosphere and saw them surpass Elvis for most weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts. All of the songs mentioned...written by Kenneth. one of the best soundtracks ever. Oh, and featured a non-sucky role by Halle Berry (rare), as well as classic performances by both John "Coordinate" Witherspoon and Jones.

Good times for all.

Juice (1992)

Sure, people were drawn to the movie for the starpower that was Tupac Shakur in his breakout role. But they stayed because of the music. Placing Omar Epps as a fledgling DJ allowed the movie to use music as its literal soundtrack, filling the theaters with classic tunes from both Eric B. & Rakim ("Juice--Know the Ledge") and Naughty By Nature ("Uptown Anthem"). Throw in some joints by Tammy Lucas (the original "Is It Good To You" produced by Teddy Riley before Heavy D. redid it later that year), Cypress Hill ("Shoot Em Up") and Aaron Hall ("Don't Be Afraid"), and you've got a sampling of various artist flavor that will appeal to everyone.

Sidenote: I remember first seeing the soundtrack and also seeing that Cindy Herron from En Vogue was in the film. So I instantly thought that, of course, the group would have a song on the disc. Then I saw her acting performance, and remember thinking that the producers HAD TO say Hellus Nous to the group participating, deeming Cindy lucky not to be left on the cutting room floor...with her wack ass. Just horrible. LOL End sidenote.

Great shots of New York City filled the screens as well. And Pac? Hell, even I was scared of his crazy ass. LOL Loved this soundtrack.

New Jack City (1991)

Another Uptown Anthem for New York City. Here are the four songs that, whenever they are played, will take me back to the summer of 1991 when I first say NJC: "I Wanna Sex You Up" by Color Me Badd; "I'm Dreaming" by Christopher Williams; "I'm Still Waiting" by Johnny Gill; and "There You Go (Telling Me No Again)" by Keith Sweat. Again, artists in their prime (with the exception of Color Me Badd, who were at their apex, soon to be confined to "One Hit Wonder" status) making great music.

This was Christopher's commercial bonanza, recording the summer hit AND starring in the movie alongside Wesley Snipes and Ice-T. *GIRRRRL DON'T WAKE MEEEEE!* You know, looking at the movie now, it's really horrible, save for Chris Rock's performance as Pookie. Just putrid acting by EVERYONE. But I still seem to watch it each time it comes on TV. And I own the DVD. *shrug* Some things--like Bookeem Woodbine still working as an actor--cannot and should not be explained. Period.

Boyz N The Hood (1991)

What New Jack City did for New York, Boyz N The Hood did for South Central. Again, not the best acting performances in the world, but I can still watch this movie from beginning to end without cringing too much. My favorite scene is when Ricky (Morris Chestnut) is laying on the couch, shot and bloody, and his mother starts wailing on Doughboy (Ice Cube) and he screams (with improper inflection, no less), "What you hit me FOR? What you hit me FOR?" LOL Just classic shit, man.

My favorite song from the soundtrack is the Tony! Toni! Tone! hit, "Me and You." But this is the same disc that gave us Cube's "How to Survive in South Central," Tevin Campbell's "Just Ask Me To" collabo with Chubb Rock, and songs from Monie Love, Too Short, Hi Five, 2 Live Crew and Main Source. I mean, how can you go wrong with that lineup? Unless, of course, you actually listen to it and realize that those songs are straight crap. In that case...err least you have the movie to fall back on. It's Cuba Gooding Jr.'s only "black" role, Cube and Morris doing credible jobs and Laurence Fishburne making being a young black father 'the thing to be'.

Soul Food (1994)

OK. In order to do this soundtrack the proper justice (not to be confused with Poetic Justice, whose soundtrack was horrible), let's just run down the songs that WERE NOT good.


*looking again*


Yup! Every song on there was a hit. To me, anyway. Again, another Babyface production (the disc AND the film) and he filled the disc to the gills with hit makers. Look at the lineup: Total, Dru Hill, En Vogue, Cee-Lo, BoyzIIMen, Earth, Wind and Fire, Monica & Usher, Xscape, the Tonies, Lil Kim and BlackStreet. WTH?!?!? Sure, if you put them all on a soundtrack today, it would be the supporting music to a WHERE ARE THEY NOW? documentary on VH1, but back then?!?!?!? Holy crap. IT was the soundtrack that kept on giving.

It featured another hit collabo with 'Face and Boyz ("A Song For Mama"); Dru Hill at the absolute top of their game ("We're Not Making Love No More"); solid contributions from Total ("What About Us"), the faux-group Milestone ("I Care 'Bout You"), made up of K-Ci, JoJo, the dudes from After 7 and 'Face on piano, a young Monica and Usher cruising through their "Slow Jam", and Kim doing what she used to do: making us care about her songs with "Don't Stop What You're Doing." Unfortunately, she did. LOL

I can't say enough about this CD. The ONLY thing that could've made it better was a song by New Edition. LOL...I'm kidding. Only said that to make X gag. LOL

Anyways, those are just five of the soundtracks from the early 90's that made me take notice. When I get back from Dallas on Monday, stay tuned for Part II, which MIGHT feature discs from Waiting To Exhale, Higher Learning, Jason's Lyric, Mo Money and Above the Rim. But then might not. LOL

Seriously, in the meantime...what are some of the soundtracks from the past that would make your list? I'm curious to know. Must be the reporter in me. *shrug*


scribbled by Will at 4/05/2005 08:41:00 AM
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Mind Droppings

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)

The Write One

Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971.
Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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