February 26, 2004

Test Spin: Barbershop 2

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We never know what to expect from soundtracks. At their best, soundtracks allow artists the freedom to experiment with unlikely pairings, occasionally to spectacular success. Tantalizing hors d’oeuvres from our favorite artists tempt our appetites and keep us salivating in between albums. But too often today, the compiling of material involves so much strategic entrepreneurship — not to mention a few altercations and jail sentences along the way — that anything of import like the musical product assumes the status of chopped liver. This is what accounts for the great variety and lack of cohesion on soundtracks like Barbershop 2. Sadly, most songs on soundtracks are throw-away tracks that never made album cuts. Barbershop 2 has no difficulty fitting the bill. The first two songs, “Not Today” (Mary J. Blige featuring Eve) and “I Can’t Wait” (Sleepy Brown featuring Outkast), are the soundtrack’s lead singles and delight in excellent production. These Dr. Dre and Organized Noize’s songs respectively spin to satisfaction. “I Can’t Wait” especially, once again reunites the winning chemistry that made “The Way You Move” a chart topper. The rest of the soundtrack is a mixed bag. Other tracks of note include “Things Come and Go” (Mya featuring Sean Paul), “Wanna B Where U R” (Floetry featuring Mos Def), “On the Weekend” (Morgan Smith featuring 3LW), and “Make It Home” (Spitfiya featuring Anthony Hamilton), but everything else reeks like an impostor perfume. Nauseating to perfection in its insistent exploration of overly trodden territory is the Neptune-produced Clipse track “Pussy” — for a true pussy joint I recommend checking out Pharoahe Monch and Apani’s “The Ass.”

Archived article by Jason Rotstein