The L Word

The L Word

The L Word: Music From The Original TV Series

Various Artists

Tommy Boy / Showtime

The L Word is so amazingly unprovocative you’d need to be a religiously fundamental hillbilly to even bother to hate it. Not to mention that it’s so embarrassingly cringe-worthy that only pseudo-radical Manhattanites can pretend to love it. In fact, the show does nothing but underline people’s bigotry towards homosexuals, portraying every gay person as superficial, self-obsessed and unable to stitch together a sentence without sounding like some Party of Five sidekick. When are we going to see a gay character act like a regular human being? Did anybody take a lesson from Ellen?

The accompanying soundtrack is very much like the series itself: a good cast reduced to a bland performance. Although you cannot really argue against names like Lucinda Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Joan Armatrading, The Be Good Tanyas, Rufus Wainwright and Connie Francis, when you put them all together (and add small dashes of latter-day Marianne Faithfull and the best-left-forgotten The Murmurs), you evidently end up with a mish-mash of little interest.

To be sure, there are a fair amount of decent tracks here. But taken as a whole, it all dissolves into just about nothing: just a long, unitriguing compilation of regular TV series music. This easily could have been the soundtrack to Melrose Place. The concept of the series allows for some great song programming, using music that addresses gender issues, stereotypes and conformist oppression. But, not surprising, there’s none of that here. Every song selection is as unprovocative as the series itself; every artist is represented at her less intriguing (two exceptions: Francis’ “Everybodys’ Somebody’s Fool” is as brilliant as ever and Wainwright’s “Hallelujah” is fairly decent — they probably couldn’t get Buckley or Cohen).

And so, since the word “lesbian” isn’t mentioned on the album cover and since there are no pictures of girls’ making out in the booklet, this will only appeal to those who genuinely like the series on its own merits. So — anyone?

Tommy Boy:

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