Various Artists
The Fighting Temptations Soundtrack

There’s nothing quite like great music to support a good movie.

That’s a good part of what made The Fighting Temptations such an enjoyable film, so what a relief to find that the soundtrack lives up to expectations, and then some.

Featuring all of the songs that backdropped scenes from the Paramount Picture / MTV Films CDfeature presentation (nearly all of the artists on the CD also appeared in the movie), the soundtrack is a beaut —and it’s all new music!

Beyoncé starred with Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie; she sings on eight of the album’s fifteen tracks. (Gooding Jr. doesn't sing at all, and that’s most likely a good thing!) From the urban title track “Fighting Temptations” (together with Missy Elliott, MC Lyte and Free) to the Destiny’s Child number “I Know” to the album closing “Summertime” featuring P. Diddy and her remake of the Peggy Lee hit “Fever” , Beyoncé is a force to be reckoned with on these mainstream friendly cuts. And her duet with Bilal on the Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis song “Everything I Do” is a highlight.

On the more obviously Gospel side of things, Beyoncé impresses with her acappella “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. Using the arrangement from Keith Lancaster / Wayburn Dean (of Acappella fame), she shows that she doesn’t need a phat track to make an hold her own.

Beyoncé also appears on the movie’s massively uplifting centerpiece choir number “He Still Loves Me” (another Jimmy Jam / Terry Lewis gem), her soulful vocal trades with the Walter Williams Sr. of The O'Jays are simply marvellous. The message in this melodic, mid-tempo
The Movie
movie The movie's plot centers around the wayward Darrin Hill (Cuba Gooding Jr.), who is living the life of a lie as an apparent executive success story in New York. Amidst the realities of debt and simply being inept as a junior ad agency employee, he finds himself in the middle of an inheritance from his Aunt Sally (Ann Nesby), contingent on him achieving success for his hometown church choir in Alabama at the upcoming Gospel Explosion...
See the complete movie review.

ballad go down as the soundtrack's triumph. The O'Jays themselves are featured on a wonderful take of Paul Simon's "Love Me Like A Rock", from the movie's memorable barbershop scene (complete with seamlessly inserted scissor snips and razor sound effects).

There's no shortage of sunny jams elsewhere on the soundtrack. Ann Nesby lights up the disc on the Shirley Caesar song "I'm Getting Ready", while Caesar herself (both divas appear in the movie) duets with Nesby on "The Stone", with production from Bubba Smith. "To Da River", the new song from Buster & Shavoni, is straight dangerous with its urban hooks. Quick spit raps from T-Bone and flows from Zane surround Montell Jordan's falsetto motif on the cut.

More music from Angie Stone and the very very gritty-voiced Eddie Levert Jr. comes on "Rain Down". Stone then works with Melba Moore and Beyoncé on "Time To Come Home". Faith Evans brings in "Heaven Knows" and Solange torches "Don't Fight The Feeling", with Papa Reu as sidekick.

Be sure to check out the ConnecteD feature on the enchanced CD. You get access to short video clips of the three Destiny’s Child members recording their parts separately in studio for “I Know”.

Don’t just take our word for it, check the Billboard Gospel chart. This album is number one.

Producers: Various
album release date: September, 2003
Music World Music / Columbia

— review by Stan North

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