It’s jarring to hear a shortened arrangement of GUNS N’ ROSES ”Paradise City” with vocals performed by Tom Cruise without visual accompaniment. That was the first thing that hit me while listening to the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to ROCK OF AGES, the big-screen adaptation of the popular Broadway show.
Having not seen the source material first-hand, other initial thoughts included visions of Monsters of Rock hits as performed in a Karaoke Bar by the cast of GLEE. But that’s not actually the case.
A couple songs in and ROCK OF AGES digs in and finds it’s footing. The mix of 80s rock hits is fairly seamless, as you hear FOREIGNER’s “Juke Box Hero” mashed together with JOAN JETT’s “I Love Rock and Roll” with fine results, followed by hits from EXTREME, BON JOVI, DEF LEPPARD, JOURNEY, STARSHIP, and more. If this is the larger-than-life flamboyancy of Broadway brought to life by Hollywood, then of course the music will be equally over-the-top, and in that the soundtrack succeeds. Purists looking for straight-forward covers ‘best dust off the originals because they won’t find any true-to-the-original renditions here. In fact, I can almost smell the comment trolls making their way online to discuss the disgracing of WHITESNAKE and TWISTED SISTER right now. Those looking for a nostalgia trip and a good time? Well, you’ve found it.
The cast, including Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Diego Boneta, Julianne Hough, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Malin Akerman, and Mary J. Blige (with an appearance by Broadway star Constantine Maroulis) sound great in putting the “show” in these ‘tunes.
I was just a kid in the 80s, but ROCK OF AGES certainly manages to capture the vibe as it recalls the early days of MTV – a time when big rock and big hair seemed special… dangerous, and just out of reach for most of us.
The ROCK OF AGES Soundtrack is in stores this week on Watertower Music. The film hits theaters on June 15, 2012 via Warner Bros. Pictures.
The Rock Father Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars