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Classic Album Reviews: Various Artists | Moulin Rouge / Ally McBeal: For Once in My Life

Even William Shatner would cover his ears if you played these golden-throated fails.

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Obviously, there are still people who haven’t heard those Golden Throats CD compilations where actors like William Shatner mangle pop classics like Mr. Tambourine Man (“I’ll … come … following YOU!”).

I know this is so because surely, if they had, they would think twice about letting actors get within a block of a recording studio to create freakishly bad albums like these soundtracks from Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge flick and Fox-TV’s Ally McBeal, featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Vonda Shepard. Of the two, Luhrmann fares better, mainly because he gets points for the sheer sadistic audacity of forcing Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor to tackle chestnuts like Your Song, Come What May and Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend. Try as they might — and they do give it their best — the erstwhile Mrs. Cruise and the younger Obi-Wan fall flat next to the real singers like Bono (who puts a glamtronic spin on T. Rex’s Children of the Revolution), Beck (who gets super-freaky on Bowie’s Diamond Dogs) and even Christina Aguilera (who revamps Labelle’s Lady Marmalade with Lil Kim, Mya and Pink). Similarly, guest artists Al Green and Barry White provide the few listenable moments on Ally McBeal tie-in For Once in My Life. The only other attraction — because it sure ain’t hearing Shepard deliver lounge-diva versions of AM radio fare like Gary Wright’s Love Is Alive — is the schadenfreude of hearing Downey ape Sting and blather ungrammatically (“You have body / You give soul / You’re soul survivor / It’s so clear”) on his self-penned song Snakes. Even the Shatman would cover his ears.