Manufacturer: Mercury / Lost Highway
Bluegrass became pop music for a while when the soundtrack to this 2000 Coen Brothers film became one of the 10 top-selling soundtracks ever. Here's the complete T-Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack plus a CD with 14 more tracks, 12 of which are unissued re The best soundtracks are like movies for the ears, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? joins the likes of Saturday Night Fever and The Harder They Come as cinematic pinnacles of song. The music from the Coen brothers' Depression-era film taps into the source from which the purest strains of country, blues, bluegrass, folk, and gospel music flow. Producer T Bone Burnett enlists the voices of Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, and kindred spirits for performances of traditional material, in arrangements that are either a cappella or feature bare-bones accompaniment. Highlights range from the aching purity of Krauss's "Down to the River to Pray" to the plainspoken faith of the Whites' "Keep on the Sunny Side" to Stanley's chillingly plaintive "O Death." The album's spiritual centerpiece finds Krauss, Welch, and Harris harmonizing on "Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby," a gospel lullaby that sounds like a chorus of Appalachian angels. --Don McLeese
Featuring the debut of Prince's first band -the Revolution, PURPLE RAIN was a concerted effort to court rock audiences. The results were overwhelmingly positive, spawning two number-1 hits When Doves Cry and Let's Go Crazy. The critics raved over the album while its music dominated the airwaves during 1983 and 1984.Certified at 13 million units by the RIAA. (2/01) Maybe this music by Prince & the Revolution will never quite sound as, well, revolutionary as it did in 1984 (and nothing else has ever sounded like the extraordinary cooing and fluttering of "When Doves Cry"), but it's a pop landmark in Prince's Artist-ic career. The hit movie was really just a big-screen showcase for Prince to perform these songs (some of them in tear-the-roof-off "live" versions set in a Minneapolis club). I don't know why that warped sermonette introduces "Let's Go Crazy" (one thing you've got to love about Prince: he's always been weird), but somehow I'm glad it's there. Other highlights include the sexual scorcher "Darling Nikki" (with its crazy backwards coda) and that anthemic title tune. Don't you miss Wendy and Lisa, too? --Jim Emerson
Manufacturer: Blue Note
Brand: Emm/Manhattan Records
The brainchild of musical director, conductor, composer and arranger, David Downes (MD 'Riverdance'), Celtic Woman is the perfect showcase for some of Ireland's most dynamic new musical talent. Chloe Agnew (vocalist), Lisa Kelly (vocalist), Orla Fallon (vocalist and harpist), Mairead Nesbitt (violin) and Maev (vocalist) perform a number of haunting Celtic songs that include traditional standards and uptempo contemporary compositions. Celtic Woman was released in America just over a year ago where the album stayed at No.1 in the Billboard World Music Chart for 53 weeks. Fueled by healthy public appetite for traditional melodies and quasi-ethnic roots, the crossover genre continues to flourish with this debut release from Ireland's Celtic Woman ensemble. The brainchild of Sharon Browne, Dave Kavanaugh (founders of Ireland's successful Celtic Collections label) and young Riverdance touring company musical director David Downes, CW's five young women musicians and vocalists offer up an ever pleasant, Eire-savvy fusion of folk, pop and classical influences. Avoiding the intrusive, club-beat/sex kitten window dressing of
Manufacturer: Chop Shop / Atlantic / Summit Entertainment
Twilight is an action packed, modern day love story between a vampire and a human. Bella Swan has always been a little bit different and when her mother sends Bella to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Washington, she doesn't expect much of anything to change. Then she meets the mysterious and dazzlingly beautiful Edward Cullen, a boy unlike any she's ever met. Soon, Bella and Edward are swept up in a passionate and decidedly unorthodox romance. Like all vampires, he's immortal. But he doesn't have fangs, and he doesn't drink human blood. To Edward, Bella is that thing he has waited 90 years for: a soul mate. But the closer they get, the more Edward must struggle to resist the primal pull of her scent, which could send him into an uncontrollable frenzy. But what will Edward and Bella do when James, Laurent and Victoria, the Cullens' mortal vampire enemies, come to town, looking for her? This is the first movie from the book series from author Stephanie Meyer. The series are currently some of the most popular books written for young adults, with sales exceeding 50 million copies worldwide since the Twilight debut in 2004 and over 7.7 million copies sold in the U.S. alone. The fourth book in the series, Breaking Dawn, was released on August 2, 2008 and sold over 1.2 million units on the first day.
The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast)
It's the most successful musical of all time, the best-selling cast album ever-and now it sounds better than ever! The cast album of the original 1986 London production (with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman) has been remastered by none other than Andrew Lloyd Webber; this 2-CD set also includes a new 56-page companion booklet. The Phantom lives!
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN is a film about hope, inspiration and the resonating power of music. In the late '60s, two celebrated producers who were struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics discovered a musician in a Detroit bar. They recorded an album that they believed was going to secure his reputation as one of the greatest recording artists of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, it became a phenomenon. Two South African fans then set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation led them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez. This soundtrack consists of a selection of songs featured in the film but originally found on Rodriguez's records COLD FACT and COMING FROM REALITY.