The onslaught of spring and summer soundtracks is hardly unexpected. What is surprising is the degree of surrealism in this year’s crop. Not only will you hear U2 salute Batman and Annie Lennox serenade the splashdown of a space mission; you’ll find the even more out-there vocal stylings of Kevin Kline, Mel Gibson, and former M*A*S*Her David Ogden Stiers!
For evidence of the decline of the soundtrack, take the album to Die Hard With a Vengeance. It may start with the Lovin’ Spoonful’s ”Summer in the City,” which still sounds hot and gritty. But don’t be fooled. Aside from that oldie and two uninspiring hip-hop numbers (by Fu-Schnickens and Extra Prolific), the bulk of the album is devoted to composer Michael Kamen’s bustling, crescendo-crazed score. C-