June 27, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

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:

Soundtrack as Beached Whale: To support this unnecessary sequel’s ocean-liner setting, Speed 2: Cruise Control sails straight toward tropical reggae territory. Good idea, but the album’s compilers opted for the waterlogged likes of UB40 and Maxi Priest. Japanese producer TK’s house-music theme instrumental is on automatic pilot, and the carousing tracks are no better or worse than a cruise band’s set list. Then again, would such extremely white people as Jason Patric and Sandra Bullock listen to hardcore dub? D

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