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ALBUM REVIEW

Sounds and parody that are mostly on target

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (Columbia) * * *

December 19, 2007|Randy Lewis

Loving pop parody is a joy when it works -- think the Rutles and Spinal Tap -- and an ordeal when it doesn't. Fortunately, it works much of the time in the stylistically chameleonic music for director Jake Kasdan's skewering of the rock biopic, thanks to some razor-edged songwriting by star John C. Reilly and a slew of collaborators, including Marshall Crenshaw, the film's co-writer, and producer-writer-director Judd Apatow, Dan Bern and Mike Viola.

The title track walks the line between tribute and sendup of the Man in Black; "A Life Without You (Is No Life at All)" is a terrifically straight-faced exercise in Roy Orbison-esque pop grandeur to which Reilly brings the requisite vocal octane. Cox's ventures into rockabilly and psychedelia veer into caricature, but his country duet with Angela Correa is a full-bore howler.

We'd nominate Cox for Hall of Fame induction, but which one?

-- Randy Lewis

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