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American Dreams (Review)

American Dreams

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

RECORD companies are always looking for excuses to release compilation albums… be in Valentine influenced collections, best of compendiums, soundtracks, etc, etc.

American Dreams, for my money, is one of the better excuses to emerge in recent times, given that it’s a 2CD compilation of songs from some of the top-rated US TV shows of the moment.

Indeed, over recent years shows like Grey’s Anatomy, The OC and Gossip Girl have become a valuable resource for bands to make a name for themselves… just ask Imogen Heap, who became a US sensation after her song Hide & Seek featured prominently in the second season finale of The OC (and subsequent TV shows and films!).

It’s slightly disappointing, therefore, to find that American Dreams has opted not to focus so much on the small acts who became household names as a result of their TV exposure, but rather the big acts who have had music placed.

But it’s still a strong collection of 42 tracks that take in everyone from current music sensation Lady Gaga to the Glee cast via the Friends theme and Keane. Ironically, Imogen Heap doesn’t feature (she should) and there’s a rather cheeky inclusion of Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down, which actually featured in the current Sex & The City movie sequel!

But nit-picking aside (and there’s surely more potential for American Dreams 2 there?), this is a good mix of artists and songs that are both current, nostalgic and diverse enough to provide good dinner party backing.

Highlights range from the obvious – Lady Gaga’s anthemic Bad Romance, the Glee cast’s Don’t Stop Believin’, The Fray’s How To Save A Life – to some great retro cuts, such as The Rembrandts’ I’ll Be There For You, Timbaland’s The Way I Are, Run DMC’s It’s Tricky and Phantom Planet’s California.

In between, there’s good choices from bands of the moment such as Florence + The Machine (Kiss With A Fist), The Ting Tings (We Started Nothing), Owl City (Sunburn), Kesha (Tik Tok) and Noisettes (Never Forget You).

There are some tried and tested stalwarts of the American alt-rock music scene, too, from the likes of The All-American Rejects, The Killers, Fall Out Boy, Gavin DeGraw and Maroon 5, which are well known but somehow not yet tiresome.

The final track, Rufus Wainwright’s interpretation of the much-covered Hallelujah, is a good way to round things off and a useful showcase of a pretty fine artist in his own right (which goes some way to making up for the hopelessly cheesy likes of Kate Voegele!).

So, really, kick back and enjoy… or if you want to have a little more fun: try and place each song to the episode it may have featured in!

Download picks: We Started Nothing, Hallelujah, Don’t Stop Believin’, Bad Romance, Tik Tok, Kiss With A Fist, Sunburn, Never Forget You, The Way I Are, California, It’s Tricky, I Like, Signs

Track listing:
Disc One

  1. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Glee Cast
  2. Empire State Of Mind (Part 2) Broken Down – Alicia Keys
  3. Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield [Radio Mix]
  4. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga [Radio Edit]
  5. Make Me Wanna Die – The Pretty Reckless [Uk Edit]
  6. Tik Tok – Ke$ha
  7. Whatcha Say – Jason Derulo
  8. Kiss With A Fist – Florence + The Machine
  9. Sunburn – Owl City
  10. Secrets – Onerepublic
  11. Lovebug – Jonas Brothers
  12. Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers
  13. Never Forget You – Noisettes
  14. Got To Be Real – Cheryl Lynn
  15. We Started Nothing – The Ting Tings
  16. Closer – Ne-Yo
  17. She Bangs – Ricky Martin
  18. Dance, Dance – Fall Out Boy
  19. Lovefool – The Cardigans
  20. Wherever You Will Go – The Calling
  21. Somewhere Only We Know – Keane

Disc Two

  1. I’ll Be There For You – The Rembrandts [Single Version]
  2. Good Girls Go Bad – Cobra Starship, Leighton Meester
  3. Get Crazy – Lmfao
  4. Top Of The World – The Pussycat Dolls
  5. California – Phantom Planet [Demo]
  6. I Don’t Want To Be – Gavin Degraw
  7. How To Save A Life – The Fray
  8. The Way I Are – Timbaland, Keri Hilson
  9. It’s Tricky – Run D.M.C.
  10. So What- P!nk [Clean Version]
  11. I Like – Keri Hilson [Jost & Grubert Radio Mix]
  12. It Ends Tonight – The All-American Rejects
  13. Happy Ending – Mika
  14. New In Town – Little Boots
  15. Signs – Bloc Party
  16. Na Na Na Na Naa – Kaiser Chiefs
  17. Partie Traumatic – Black Kids
  18. You Can’t Break A Broken Heart – Kate Voegele
  19. Nothing Lasts Forever – Maroon 5
  20. All In My Head – Nick Lachey
  21. Hallelujah – Rufus Wainwright