Music reviews: ‘Juno’ and Kenny G
February 29, 2008
Juno, just like Garden State and Elizabethtown, is one of those movies viewers will most likely remember for the songs found in it more than the actual film. Not to say Juno isnt a good movie; it is, but the soundtrack is better.The songs on the Juno soundtrack perfectly capture the blas and displaced youth that the film seeks to explore, thanks mostly to Kimya Dawson and her acoustic simplicity and purposely odd lyrics like: I like boys with strong convictions/ and convicts with perfect diction/ underdogs with good intentions/ amputees with stamp collections. Her songs stand out on the album like a pregnant girl in a classroom full of awkward teenage boys.Then, of course, you have the well-placed classic rock songs that most of the target audience buying the album wont realize were written by bands their parents listened to when they were kids. Consider this a crash-course in cool music, since they should know these artists and songs anyway. Now adults and teenagers alike can buy this CD with a clear conscience, both feeling equally hip when they fork over their 12 bucks to the record-store cashier.All that said, this album is actually worthy of the purchase. The overall tone of the Juno soundtrack is humorously depressing, in my opinion the best kind. If nothing else, a new generation of kids can start bragging about how they were inspired by Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth. And parents, horrified by the album artwork, may start talking to their kids about more than how they dont understand music today.For: Hipsters, people who like good, depressing and quirky music.
Kenny G has become a staple in the world of instrumental music, a bankable commodity with a household name. Some critics argue the G-man is a sellout or has corrupted the pure art of alto-saxophone playing. Others worship him as a musical god. Whatever your thoughts are of Kenny G, one things for sure, people buy his albums. He must be doing something right.On his latest release, KG has stepped out of the box a little bit and made the first all Latin jazz album of his career, Rhythm & Romance. Its exactly what you would expect from a Kenny G album: Smooth, sexy and polished. This is baby-makin music, pure and simple. Its hard to hate on a guy who has given millions of lovers an excuse to go for third base. But all that aside, it is a Kenny G album. Its not extraordinary but its far from terrible. I dare say that its the perfect background music for any party that doesnt involve heavy drug use.The Latin influence is welcome since the last few albums from Kenny have been cover material or holiday projects. You will spend your time trying to figure out if you should be dancing or making love as the 12 tracks play some, like Peruvian Night are fast and contagious, others, like Besame Mucho, are down-tempo and relaxing. Maybe, after listening to Rhythm & Dance one more couple will have Kenny G to thank for their love life.For: Smooth and Latin jazz lovers, die-hard and borderline Kenny G fans.