BEAN – The Album (1997 Mercury)
Every once in a while, you just have to buy an album for one song!
Never mind that Randy Newman’s classic “I Love L.A.” isn’t on the CD, even though it was the most memorable song in the Bean movie. Included instead is “I Love L.A.” as performed by…O.M.C.! Remember him? “How Bizarre”! His one hit had expired and I guess somebody thought they could re-work the “magic” on “I Love L.A.”. Maybe because both guys have a kind of flat voice, somebody assumed it would work. It does not! Why this would have been recorded, instead of simply using the Newman classic, I have no idea at all.
You can also safely skip Boyzone (boy band crap but at least with a 70’s groove), somebody just called “Louise” (70’s-sounding easy listening), Thomas Jules Stock (barf-inducing pop), another person just called “Gabrielle” (60’s sounding soul), “Blair” (really stinky rap), and Code Red (saccharine soul pop). Some of these tracks aren’t even in the movie. If you want to hear some soul or funk, just put on an actual album by an original artist.
Songs you may want to give a moment to listen to include the campy 80’s classic “Walking on Sunshine” (Katrina and the Waves). You never know when you might need that song in a collection. Another good one to have is “I Get Around”, the original surf classic by the Beach Boys. From 1964, the Boys were in perfect voice, singing Brian Wilson’s genius melodies. Unfortunately it is interrupted in the fade by Peter MacNicol with movie dialogue. There are a number of tracks with this issue. Wet Wet Wet do a surprisingly decent version of “Yesterday” (in the movie, sung by Peter MacNicol). It’s too sweet and shopping market ready, but hey: it’s “Yesterday”. Movie dialogue spoils this one too, at the start of the track. Why do that? I’m not familiar with the Wet Wet Wet discography, but this song does seem to be exclusive to the soundtrack (or at least was at the time). What a way to ruin a track for the fans.
Worth noting is loop-laden “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Susanna Hoffs. This funky version is worth having for Hoffs fans, but everyone else can safely stick with the Steeler’s Wheels original. Also fun is “Art for Art’s Sake”, the 1975 original by art-rock band 10cc. In the movie, Mr. Bean works at an art gallery. Get the connection?
So what’s the one song I bought this album for? A rarity.
Back in 1992, Bruce Dickinson was working on solo material with the UK band Skin. The album would eventually become Balls to Picasso, but it was a long way getting there. I’m not sure what led Bruce to Mr. Bean. Divine intervention perhaps? Two of England’s finest exports had to meet, I suppose, and when they did, they covered “Elected” by Alice Cooper. This was done for a music video coinciding with the general election that year. As a final track, the Bean soundtrack reissued this hard to find single. Bruce sings the vocals rather straight, very raspy, very much like his 1990 No Prayer for the Dying voice. Rowan Atkinson in character as Mr. Bean reviews his campaign promises between Bruce’s growls. “To help the Health Service, I promise never to get ill.” Other promises include stopping everyone in Dover from going to the toilet (cutting pollution). “I’m the nice one in the tweed jacket,” he says. “Well it was a present actually.”
I’m a Mr. Bean fan, but there is little of appeal on this CD. After all, Mr. Bean’s gimmick is that he rarely speaks. Therefore, the movie dialogue stuff isn’t necessary. It’s a shame they ruined tracks by putting dialogue on the fades. If they had included the Randy Newman track, I might’ve been able to bump this CD up by half a star.
Sorry Mr. Bean. Your CD gets the dreaded Flaming Turd!