It's not so much that the soundtrack to Oliver Stone's gridiron drama Any Given Sunday lacks focus; it's more a case of a modern soundtrack trying to be all things to all people. Which is a bit uncharacteristic, since Stone enlisted Trent Reznor to orchestrate a hellish suite for his Natural Born Killers a few years ago. While there was depth and significance to the Goth metal and dark hip-hop assembled in its grooves, the hip-hop-heavy Any Given Sunday might as well be the soundtrack to, say, Light It Up or the latest Chris Tucker flick.
Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott rests next to Capone-N-Noreaga, who are only a few cuts away from Trick Daddy, who bumps against Kid Rock, who . . .you get the idea. It's a teenage wasteland of scraps and marketing maneuver. What any of these songs has to do with the movie is anybody's guess -- I'll wager that Godsmack's "Why" doesn't have a big role in the film. But it sure will draw the suburban kids who feast on these double-edged compilations of hard rock and hip-hop.
Blame it on MTV and Flashdance and Footloose and Top Gun. Hell, blame it on the '80s in general. Soundtracks used to be meaningful things (Saturday Night Fever actually included songs that were -- gasp! -- featured in the movie). Even Purple Rain's gazillion-selling souvenir album was filled with tune after tune easily found in the film. But the past decade or so has seen soundtracks become the refrigerators of artists eager to store their cold leftovers somewhere (hence the insipid "inspired by" tag accompanying many movie tie-in albums these days). Any Given Sunday certainly doesn't attempt anything different. A couple of decent songs are buried within, and they're as dissimilar as football is from golf. LL Cool J's "Shut 'Em Down" is a Ruff Ryders-inspired back-alley creep that updates the rap pioneer's style for the new century, and Hole's "Be a Man" combines the group's past punk flash with its modern Hollywood glitz for a spurting, if disposable, slice of getting-creaky alt-rock. And neither, misleading titles aside, has much to do with the power of the pigskin.