Soundtrack to the 21st century 'Dirty Dancing'...
While it’s been customary in the history of black music soundtracks for the soundtrack to outshine the movie itself (‘Superfly’ in the 1970s, ‘Who’s The Man’ in the 1990s), this one would have to be pretty poor to break the tradition. (It’s not a very good film, you see).
Where the movie is conceptually unprogressive, its soundtrack documents, if only in part, several major developments in black music over the past seven or eight years, from the inauguration of dancehall into the mainstream by way of Chaka Demus & Pliers’ fine and mighty ‘Murder She Wrote’, and the materialistic rise of the feisty female with Pink’s ‘You Make Me Sick’ to the trans-coastal melange of Lucy Pearl’s ‘You’, where Q-Tip teams up with Snoop Dogg. Even K-Ci & Jojo squeeze out of that epic ballad straight-jacket to produce something halfway funky, the sweeping, piano-lifted beauty, ‘Crazy’.
‘Save The Last Dance’ is a free-flowing, diverse and carefully selected collection of tried and tested classics, such as Donell Jones’ magnificent ‘U Know What’s Up’, 112’s ‘Only You’ (featuring The Notorious BIG)and Ice Cube’s immortal ‘You Can Do It’, all united by a distinct, uplifting bounce.
The soundtrack’s crowning moment is the opening track from Jill Scott and Fredro Starr, the aptly named ‘Shining Through’, a truly sweet R&B cut fusing black consciousness with effortless commercialism (the Nas or Tupac way) with the chorus line taken from Cindy Lauper’s ‘True Colours’. A not too imposing but entirely seductive collection to add to an enduring tradition.