For anyone who loved (and still do) classic '80s Hair Metal, the upcoming big budget movie ROCK OF AGES based on the Broadway Musical of the same name could be a nice nostalgic trip to these glorious musical days.
But at the same time, when you know that many of these anthems will be performed by Hollywood stars like Tom Cruise or Catherine Zeta-Jones this may sound like an unpardonable sacrilege...
Well, let me tell you, in short; this sh#t works for the most part!
Taking aside Cruise and Zeta-Jones, the rest of the cast apart from being actors, are professional singers as well. And this helps much.
But what really makes this work (which could have been a disaster), is the way that the producers of this project have arranged the tunes; most of the songs are true-to-the-original renditions. Yes, sometimes over-washed or poppish, but with great amount of guitars and smashing drums.
Of course, the use of top class session musicians helps a lot, but also the suprisingly good performances by the cast on the vocal department.
In fact, the only version I don't like is the first song, Guns 'n Roses' "Paradise City", in my opinion, terribly sung by Cruise. But believe it or not, Tom is more than decent on Def Leppard's classic "Pour Some Sugar On Me".
A couple songs in, and ROCK OF AGES soundtrack digs in and finds it's footing.
The mix of '80s Hair Metal & AOR hits is fairly seamless, as you hear Foreginer's "Juke Box Hero" mashed together with Joan Jett's "I Love Rock and Roll" with fine results, followed by hits from Extreme, Bon Jovi, Journey, Warrant and more. Some really well done, some others not so.
Just to give some hints: the monster Foreigner ballad "Waiting For A Girl Like You" has received a more poppish treatment, but works for me.
One of my favorite songs of all time, Journey's "Any Way You Want It" is very well performed by Mary J. Blige. It's strange listen to this timeless anthem sung by a female, but a nice experience.
And fortunately, "Don't Stop Believin´" hasn't the horrible Glee arrangement, it's the Broadway one which is pretty faithfull to Journey's original.
But the real gem - yes, you read well, 'gem' - is the version of Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" performed by Catherine Zeta-Jones... Holy shitballs! This woman really can sing! This track is by far the best achieved version here, with a terrific '80s vibe on the intrumentation, and with Zeta-Jones singing with the fire of the best female fronted AOR of the eighties.
All of us love these tunes, and certainly I was expecting a disaster here.
Not at all, ROCK OF AGES soundtrack manages to deliver to people who never have listened these tunes an idea what the Hair Metal glory days was all about.
You'd imagined circa 1989 that these songs would ever be featured in a major Hollywood production? No.
Maybe this OST may inspire many kids to discover the originals, and start to listen the real thing, not the crap broadcasted on TV nowadays.
01. Tom Cruise - Paradise City
02. Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Ruseell Brand & A. Baldwin
Sister Christian / Just Like Paradise / Nothin' But A Good Time
03. Diego Boneta, A. Baldwin, Russell Brand & J. Hough
Juke Box Hero / I Love Rock 'N' Roll
04. Catherine Zeta-Jones - Hit Me With Your Best Shot
05. Diego Boneta & Julianne Hough
Waiting For A Girl Like You
06. Julianne Hough & Diego Boneta
More Than Words / Heaven
07. Tom Cruise & Julianne Hough
Wanted Dead Or Alive
08. Tom Cruise & Malin Akerman
I Want To Know What Love Is
09. Diego Boneta - I Wanna Rock
10. Tom Cruise - Pour Some Sugar On Me
11. Julianne Hough & Mary J. Blige - Harden My Heart
12. Mary J. Blige & Julianne Hough
Shadows Of The Night / HardenMy Heart
13. D. Boneta, Paul Giamatti, J. Hough, M.J. Blige & Tom Cruise
Here I Go Again
14. Russell Brand & Tom Cruise - Can't Fight This Feeling
15. Mary J. Blige, Constantine Maroulis & Julianne Hough
Any Way You Want It
16. Diego Boneta - Undercover Love
17. Julianne Hough, D. Boneta, Tom Cruise & Mary J. Blige
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
18. Julianne Hough & Tom Cruise - Rock You Like A Hurricane
19. Russell Brand & Catherine Zeta-Jones
We Built This City / We're Not Gonna Take It
20. J. Hough, D. Boneta, A. Baldwin, R Brand & M.J. Blige
Don't Stop Believin'
BUY IT !