TenStarting with the game show/nightly news introduction-esque theme song “Fanfare”, The Ten soundtrack kicks off to a solid start, cleverly displaying its mock self-importance for all to hear from the very first second. Making elaborate use of sound clips from the film, Craig Wedren’s score is every bit as irreverent and comical as the film itself.

David Wain, director of The Ten and the under-appreciated gem Wet Hot American Summer, and composer Craig Wedren are long-time friends from Shaker Heights, Ohio. Choosing Wedren to compose his films, then, is merely common sense. Not only are they childhood friends, but Wain refers to Wedren as a “talented, versatile, fiercely original composer, vocalist, and musician.” The Ten soundtrack, gives Wedren every opportunity to showcase a wide range of musical ability, and he grabs the opportunity with both hands.

Some songs contain “intentionally cheesy lyrics”, including the bubblegum pop tune “Two Feet Firm”, where Wedren displays his light poppy sensibilities and “Forgive Me Love”, an achingly dramatic ballad with Billy Joel-ish vocals. Other tunes, such as “Catscan”, illustrate his riffing funk grooves along with simple driving guitar solos and backup vocalists, without the actual use of lyrics. But whether instrumental or not, nearly every track manages to somehow work in a hilarious soundbite from the film, allowing the voices of Paul Rudd, Adam Brody, Winona Ryder, and Liev Schrieber, among others, to show up unexpectedly.

Though the soundtrack is a bit fragmented due to the nature of the film (imagine ten short films tied together to form a whole), a steady through line keeps listeners on track and reminds them that all these songs are in fact from one film. Though Wedren works well with lyrics, his instrumental scores are a bit more interesting and enjoyable than the actual songs. It’s clear Wedren possesses immense talent, especially with the opening sequence of “Busload/Naked Party” starting off to sound almost like an ode to Danny Elfman (Tim Burton’s famed composer) and ending in a Russian roknrol jam. Listening to the variance in tone, it’s clear to see how Wedren could work such differing films as Laurel Canyon and Reno 911! Miami with equal confidence.

Though the last three tracks, themes of a sort that recap the events of the film, are a bit disappointing, a few decent quips still manage to elicit a laugh, particularly in Peter Salett’s endearing ukulele ode to the film “The End of the End of the Ten”. “Written in Stone”, sung by the entire cast of The Ten is fun simply because of the celebrity singers, but otherwise a bit substandard. “The Ten Theme”, a crazy rap theme by Mr. Blue is exciting, if a bit overly synopsis-laden. There’s some good stuff here, though it can be a bit of a mishmash sometimes. The music is original, interesting, and surprisingly memorable for a comedy score.

Zach’s Rating: B+
Fan’s of the film’s rating: A
Classical composer’s rating: D+

To purchase The Ten Soundtrack, visit Amazon
For more information on Commotion Records, visit their homepage

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