Sex and the City

Big-budget films call for big-budget soundtracks, so the silver screen 2008 debut of Sex and the City gets a much splashier treatment than the 2004 soundtrack to the television series. That 2004 set struck a balance between New York cabaret and club, with just a hint of feminist pop in Aimee Mann and Imani Coppola. The 2008 Sex and the City is decidedly splashier, cutting out Bette Midler and replacing her with a heaping dose of hipsters of all kinds, ranging from wannabe indie rockers Morningwood to the inescapable bling soul-pop of Fergie, whose grotesque "Labels or Love" perverts both the S&TC themes, musical and meaning. Some might say that the film itself perverts the show but whether it does or not, it's not an issue with the soundtrack, which is kind of its own entity, as much as a movie tie-in can be. It would be a mixed bag regardless of whether or not the movie was any good, as it mixes a new cut from the movie's co-star Jennifer Hudson ("All Dressed in Love," her first big tune since Dreamgirls) and a track from neo-folkies the Weepies with India.Arie singing Don Henley, a dorky Nina Simone remix, and two Bee Gees covers -- the Bird and the Bee tackle "How Deep Is Your Love" and Al Green duets with Joss Stone on "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart." Some cuts feel as if they serve the film (why else have "Auld Lang Syne" on the record? Or Run-D.M.C.'s "Walk This Way" in this context?), much feels as if it's here only because there's a girl singer (only "Walk This Way" is all testosterone), and it's hard to imagine listening to it from beginning to end, but cherry-picking the best moments makes for a pleasurable experience that may wind up making it an appropriate soundtrack to the movie itself. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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