Various Artists
Spider-Man: Music from and Inspired By
(Columbia/Roadrunner/Island Def Jam/Sony Music Soundtrax)

Let me first say that I am a sucker for the variety that movie soundtracks provide. I purchased the Escape from LA. soundtrack the day after I saw the film, because I was into the adrenaline rush of the driving techno and thought it would be good for parties. Yeah It wasn't. Second--and this is pathetic--I actually like a lot of those hard alt-rock songs played on KNRK and KUFO. Staind, Nickelback, System of a Down, whatever that new Tool rip-off band is. I do not change the station during those songs, and, when I'm by myself, I passionately sing along.

Okay, so for a big-budget film like Spider-Man, you'd think they could've gotten all kinds of big names to sell out and generate some decent music--but alas, not too many. I suppose they thought, "Why bother paying big bucks when you can get a bunch of bands that blatantly pirate the innovations of earlier groups, and cost a lot less?" Sum 41 wants to be the Beastie Boys, Theory of a Dead Man robs Alice in Chain's "Dam that River" riff (not even one of their good songs). Default is a clone of Silverchair, and the only reason Silverchair was vaguely tolerable is because the boys were 17.

Surprise sell-outs, however, are Macy Gray (bad speak-sing song with metal guitar), and Jerry Cantrell (continuing in the Alice in Chains vein), and not surprising sell-outs are the crappy, boring Strokes, Alien Ant Farm (someone kill them), and Aerosmith, who play a super-heavy version of the Spider-Man theme song, and seems to be willing to go to any lengths to continue torturing the masses. To think that I was embarrassed to purchase the soundtrack at the midnight madness sale--I can't even believe how Aerosmith must be feeling. The prevailing sentiment is hard, overproduced guitar, and faux tortured vocals, like, "Goddamn my life is so hard, because I'm such a giant chump."

The few good songs, however, were The Hives' spacey, distorted pop-punk and the opening and closing compositions by Danny Elfman--a composer for dozens of films (Planet of the Apes, Sleepy Hollow) and television shows, so of course, he's one of the few who knows what he's doing. See the film; don't buy the soundtrack unless you're a 13-year-old boy.