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Fantastic Four: The Album Review
by Dan Upton

Generally speaking, I dislike comic book movies. I think they're uninteresting and capitalize on the audience they already have in the comic book. Fortunately, I'm not reviewing the movie, I'm reviewing the soundtrack, and again generally speaking I like comic book movie soundtracks, because they're usually pretty good collections of current and upcoming modern rock artists.

The Fantastic Four soundtrack, on the other hand, crosses over a bit from modern rock and alternative into pop and hip hop. The hip-hop tracks are by far the biggest letdowns on this CD as far as I'm concerned, Chingy, Lloyd Banks, and Miss Eighty 6's contributions in particular. Miri Ben-Ari, the "hip-hop violinist" contributes a track that could almost be salvaged if she would forgo the actual rapping and instead just compose violin songs to go over the hip-hop beats, similar to Vanessa Mae. The poppier tracks, by Joss Stone, Omnisoul, and Ryan Cabrera, are not exactly what I was expecting but aren't complete throwaways.

The rest of the tracks range from tolerable to fairly good. Simple Plan perform a cover of Cheap Trick's "Surrender," which is amusing if nothing else. Members of Jet, the Distillers, the Datsuns, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs form a one-off supergroup called T.F.F. for "I'll Take You Down." Velvet Revolver's first recorded performance was "Set Me Free" from the Spiderman soundtrack, and they relive the glory of that song along with a "Slither"-style riff in the CD opener "Come On, Come In." Naturally, Wind-Up has stocked this CD with many of their own artists, including Ben Moody, Breaking Point, Submersed, Alter Bridge, and their new goth-rock darling Megan McCauley. After all, Evanescence was largely broken to the masses on Wind-Up's 2003 Daredevil: The Album, and Megan's strong vocals against guitar, piano, and synthesized backdrop will appeal to the same crowd. Another standout track is "Disposable Sunshine" from Loser, the new band featuring ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist John5.

Fantastic Four: The Album could've been better overall, if the four hip-hop tracks in particular had been scrapped in favor of some other rockers, but it's not terrible. The catchy if bizarre closer "Kirikirimai" by Japanese band Orange Range has generated a lot of buzz, and there are some solid rock tracks, but there are several tracks the average rock fan will skip repeatedly. If you see it on sale, pick it up and treat it as a Wind-Up sampler with a few bonus surprises.

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