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Various Artists: The X-Files: The Album

In addition to inescapable advertising campaigns and lavish praise for anything the slightest bit thoughtful, the big summer-movie season means big summer-movie soundtracks. The quintessential big summer-movie soundtrack is generally built around one or two superstars, a couple of fallen-from-grace favorites on the comeback trail, and a healthy handful of B-list semi-stars and newcomers to fill things out—preferably those signed to the label putting out the album. As unusual as The X-Files phenomenon is, this soundtrack to the TV series' first big-screen installment, The X-Files: Fight The Future, is no exception to that rule. Executive producers David Was and Chris Carter deserve credit for maintaining a consistent, mysterious mood, but little here is as interesting as the better tracks on their last collaboration, the X-Files-inspired Songs In The Key Of X. Filter's remake of Three Dog Night's "One" provides the obligatory radical remake (neither Sting and Aswad's rehash of the former's "Invisible Sun" nor X's Ray Manzarek-produced "Crystal Ship" qualify as radical), while Foo Fighters' new version of its own "Walking After You" provides the requisite Foo Fighters track. The album is slanted in favor of darker-sounding material, and some acts (Better Than Ezra, for one) don't do dark as well as others. Furthermore, neither Noel Gallagher's instrumental "Teotihuacan" nor The Dust Brothers' remake of "X-Files Theme" are particularly revelatory. On the bright side, there's probably at least one song here for everyone, be they followers of Sarah McLachlan or Björk, or die-hard Tonic fans. (Oh, and if you keep listening after the final track, series creator Carter's voice pops up to explain exactly what the whole X-Files conspiracy thing is. Or is that just more disinformation? The simple fact that there's no mention of those mysterious bees suggests the latter.) Mark Snow's score will probably find a home in fewer CD collections, which is sort of a shame. It's the more interesting of the two discs, and Snow deserves overdue credit; the brilliantly atmospheric music he contributes to both The X-Files and Millennium is crucial to both programs. Snow's film score is similarly strong, but, like most film music, it doesn't work terribly well out of context. Still, judging from the intensity of The Score's final third, The X-Files: Fight The Future should be a damn exciting movie.


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