Various Artists: Be Kind Rewind

Sprawling, breezy lite-funk mixed with classics by Billy Preston and Booker T. & the MGs. Definitely worth rewinding.

Various Artists

Be Kind Rewind

Subtitle: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Label: Lakeshore
US Release Date: 2008-01-22
UK Release Date: Available as import

Be Kind Rewind is a delightful, sprawling, overly ambitious movie whose only major grievance is its descent into overt sentimentality near its end. Yet for a film that tries re-creating roughly a dozen cinematic classics from scratch -- as well as the life of jazz legend Fats Waller, who was born in the Be Kind Rewind video store long ago (at least in director Michel Gondry's mind) -- the soundtrack, thankfully, is just as creative. A majority of the songs, somewhat inexplicably, sound like Quincy Jones' funk-lite workouts that he so often tinkered with in the late 70s. The breezy feel-good nature of these tracks suit the movie well, but composer Jean-Michel Bernard (who scored Gondry's previous flick, 2006's Science of Sleep) tends to have the most fun when he's doing genre parodies: from alternate Rush Hour 2 themes ("Chinese Bamboo") to stereotypical action orchestrations ("Little Mikey"), it's just outright fun, especially when contrasted to Bernard's remarkably-faithful 20s-styled piano jazz vamps. Mos Def winds up covering three Waller classics ("Your Feets Too Big", "I Ain't Got Nobody", and "Ain't Misbehavin'"), and though his delivery is a bit more casual than Wallers', the songs work almost solely on Def's own feel-good vibes, sounding like he's smiling throughout every note. Toss on a track from Booker T. & the MGs ("Sunny Monday") and Billy Preston (the sensational "Nothing From Nothing"), and you got yourself the kind of soundtrack that's worth rewinding time and time again.




Reading Pandemics

Pandemic, Hope, Defiance, and Protest in 'Romeo and Juliet'

Shakespeare's well known romantic tale Romeo and Juliet, written during a pandemic, has a surprisingly hopeful message about defiance and protest.


A Family Visit Turns to Guerrilla Warfare in 'The Truth'

Catherine Deneuve plays an imperious but fading actress who can't stop being cruel to the people around her in Hirokazu Koreeda's secrets- and betrayal-packed melodrama, The Truth.


The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.


90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

'Avengers: Endgame' Faces the Other Side of Loss

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our pandemic grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.