As inevitable as tie-in toys and just as disposable, blockbuster soundtrack albums are now merely part of the Hollywood marketing grind. That view, while justified, still sells these records short. Movie soundtracks have become useful educational tools for all facets of the entertainment business — not to mention for life in general! For instance:

Soundtracks as Evil Twins: Men in Black is being hyped as Ghostbusters Meets X-Files, but its accompanying album is a close encounter of the boudoir kind. R&B and hip-hop young guns — Ginuwine, the Roots, D’Angelo, 3T — offer up easy-rolling pillow talk that’s as comfy as a down-filled couch. Even Snoop Doggy Dogg is only mildly misogynistic on ”We Just Wanna Party With You.” (Meanwhile, Nas and A Tribe Called Quest boast of their skills and bank accounts, and Danny Elfman adds two typically loopy-fun score pieces.) How any of it connects to Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones battling intergalactic mutants is a mystery worthy of Scully and Mulder; only Smith’s silly title song ties in to the film. On his other track, ”Just Cruisin’,” Smith raps about hanging at McDonald’s and driving around to Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac tapes. Now, that’s acting. B

Men in Black
  • Movie
  • 98 minutes