Music Reviews

The Fighting Temptations

Music From The Motion Picture

Sony Music Soundtrax

Black Music is somewhat bipolar – you’ve got the righteous “Come To Jesus” theme dueling with the lascivious “Sins of The Flesh Sound.” The Fighting Temptations tries to bridge that schism by taking a bit of style from one and a bit of lust from the other, and combining them. The result is sort of Sex by Committee – a sound that everyone can tolerate, but no one will love. Opening the album is a collaboration of Beyonce, Missy Elliot, Free and the aptly named MC Lyte. It’s the theme song, and it sounds as if hip-hop has become elevator music. The sonic structure is cowering under a rock, and the effect is to try to get your mom to listen to hard edged urban angst by slathering it with Mantovani flavored mayonnaise. I suspect it would work, but why?

All the sub genres of black music appear here, and none of them comes close to grabbing the fire and allure of the originals. Ann Nesby does the gospel thing on “I’m Getting Ready,” a lushly overproduced song that would make most church goers listen in amused wonder. There’s the requisite Love duet “Everything I Do” (by Beyonce and Bilal) with enough vocal gymnastics to qualify for Beijing. Don’t forget the watered down jazz tune, some pseudo soul and even a cover, with the O’Jays reprising Paul Simon’s “Loves Me Like A Rock,” which itself is a derivate gospel tune.

The voices are fine, the concept atrocious, and the best I can say is that perhaps all these smarmy arrangements and misdirected energy make more sense on the movie screen. The movie premise is one of those horrid “you inherit a million dollars if you do something difficult” jobs, with a man required to create a gospel band and win a first place in a contest. OK, sure, that will stand up in court. If you liked the movie, this might be a nice souvenir. If you prefer your ethnic music straight and to the point pass on this tasteless hambone.

The Fighting Temptations:

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